Where Lilacs Still Bloom by Jane Kirkpatrick is just a delightful book telling of the life of Hulda Klager who immigrated to the United States from Germany as a child. She had only an eighth grade formal education but to say that she was uneducated would be a mistake. Her father had taught her to propagate plants and she improved on that through her life by reading and experimenting with her own plants and trees. Her first goal was to create an easy peeling good tasting apple for her pies. Her husband though always loving and supportive could not in the beginning understand her driving force in hybridization. He did however love her apple pies and became her biggest supporter in times when the community spoke out against her and said she was going against God’s intention for nature. After perfecting her apple she then chose the lilac to improve upon. Her goal became to make a creamy 12 petal, hardy stalked and finer fragranced lilac. As she worked toward that goal, she also worked toward a pretty red lilac and a deeper purple but all needed to have the perfection of the hardy stalk and nice fragrance. She worked with the community by employing their children to work either with the cattle or in her gardens, always teaching them about her work as she went and giving away starts, bulbs, and seeds which endeared her to the public. Hulda was a hardworking, humble, giving woman who wanted to make the world a better place by making it more beautiful.
To say that I loved this book would be an understatement. This book teaches loving your fellow neighbor. It teaches that giving something away in love always comes back to you not only in the good feelings that it gives right away but by getting something that you least expect in the future. But more than all the life lessons this book teaches this is just a good read from beginning to end. It tells the story of how poor immigrants can come to this country and through hard work can make something of themselves. It was true then and though it is more complicated now it is still possible now. This book can be enjoyed by all.