Booklist Reviews 2019 April #1
*Starred Review* In the age of Facebook, the true nature of friendship can seem muddled. At any rate, May Attaway, 40, single, and living in her childhood home with her aging father, has preferred the company of the trees and flowers; hence her career as a botanist and landscape architect. She can name three childhood pals and a woman from grad school, but she's a lousy friend: no texts, no breezy Facebook status updates, barely a holiday greeting. Still, Lindy, Vanessa, Neera, and Rose have been important to May, so she sets out on a journey to reconnect with them and find out if there is a reciprocal kernel of friendship that this gardener can nourish back into a blossoming relationship. They are far-flung, but May visits each one, hoping that they can assuage the loneliness and feeling of being unmoored that is increasingly permeating her life. Kane's (This Close, 2013) preternaturally self-aware heroine is an intriguing mix of frustrating curmudgeon and aging ingenue, and in her quest for self-improvement, she voices the doubts and dreams of any woman who has questioned what it means to be a true friend. Rich in subtexts and lush imagery, Kane's novel is a sure bet for lively book discussions. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2019 May
In Kane's fourth novel (after The Report), 40-year-old university gardener May lives in the town where she grew up. She's more comfortable cultivating plants than relationships. May is a keen observer of people but engages only minimally with them. When she unexpectedly gets awarded extra leave at her job, she decides to travel to visit four friends who have significantly impacted her life at various stages. But her friends have moved away and are busy. May's hope is to reconnect with them and see what their lives are like besides what they present on social media. There, and back again, May might realize that her outward quest has been an inner journey all along. VERDICT Kane's delightful tale celebrates friendship, family, love, joy in the ordinary, finding peace, and connecting with those around us. Highly recommended for fans of humorous, touching stories about friendship and self-discovery. [See Prepub Alert, 11/26/18.]—Susan Moritz, Silver Spring, MD
Copyright 2019 Library Journal.
PW Reviews 2019 March #4
In Kane's impeccably written and surprisingly moving second novel (after The Report), May Attaway is an endearingly principled university gardener approaching 40, who lives in her childhood home in Anneville with her father, a retired professor. She moved back to take care of her mother, who has since died, and has neither married nor had children. Though not unhappy, May's life is at an impasse. When a poem about a yew tree on campus wins a major prize, and a reporter points out May planted the original cutting, she is rewarded with 30 days of paid leave. This coincides with the death of a writer May never knew personally, but whose tribute site May is fond of reading after it went up following her death. So May, seeing how beloved the writer is, decides to use her month off to visit four old friends: Lindy, a happy mom of three and homemaker; Neera, living on the West Coast and navigating a disintegrating marriage; Vanessa, living a cosmopolitan life in New York; and Rose, also a gardener and living in her native England. On May's visits, she comes to realize the importance of empathy in cultivating relationships, not only with them but with the many people in her life, both past and present. May's journey is lovely and deeply affecting. (May)
Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.