This is a story a Violette, a cemetery caretaker whose 20-year old routine is interrupted by Julien, a local police chief whose recently deceased mother asked in her will to have her ashes left on the gravesite of, ostensibly, a complete stranger. As Violette helps Julien unravel this mystery, she also reflects on the mysteries, tragedies, and hopes of her past. Each chapter of the book begins with a powerful epitaph Violette observes in her cemetery and applies to a chapter of her life. This novel is so brilliantly plotted, breathtaking, and completely unforgettable! I cried after every chapter. There are 94 chapters, so I cried A LOT. Everyone needs to read this book and weep with me. I literally do not want to let anyone leave the store without buying this book!— Ksenia
Translated from the French, this genre-bending masterpiece revolves around a lonely cemetery caretaker, Violette, and a local police chief, Julien, whose recently deceased mother asked in her will to have her ashes be left on the gravesite of what is ostensibly a complete stranger. As Violette helps Julien unravel the mystery of why his mother asked for this, she also reflects on the mysteries, tragedies, and hopes of her past. Brilliantly plotted, haunting, unforgettable.— Ksenia
“Valérie Perrin’s Fresh Water for Flowers is gorgeous. Reading it was almost like being baptized by Violette’s presence as a cemetery keeper, in its comfort, stability, and floral surroundings. Perrin takes us into the pool of Violette’s melancholic past, from first loves to devastating losses. It truly gripped each and every one of my emotions, from fear and sorrow to elation and sentimentality. Whatever I can write as a review, this book is still so much more. I’m so thankful to have read it and can’t wait to share it with readers.”
— Cat Chapman, The Oxford Exchange, Tampa, FL
A WALL STREET JOURNAL BEST BOOK OF SUMMER 2021
A 2020 INDIES INTRODUCE & INDIE NEXT LIST PICK
A #1 best-seller in France and in Italy, where it was dubbed Italy's favorite "lockdown novel," Fresh Water for Flowers is an intimately told story about a woman who defiantly believes in happiness, despite it all.
Violette Toussaint is the caretaker at a cemetery in a small town in Bourgogne. Her life is lived to the predictable rhythms of the often funny, always moving confidences that casual mourners, regular visitors, and sundry colleagues share with her. Violette's routine is disrupted one day by the arrival of Julien Sole--local police chief--who has come to scatter the ashes of his recently deceased mother on the gravesite of a complete stranger. It soon becomes clear that Julien's inexplicable gesture is intertwined with Violette's own complicated past.
"Melancholic and yet ebullient... An appealing indulgence in nature, food and drink, and, above all, friendships."--The Guardian