The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman has Iris Maynard living alone in her home alone after the loss of her husband and daughter for the last six decades. She spends her time taking care of her beautiful heirloom garden. Iris then rents the cottage next door to a woman with a husband recently returned from Iraq and an inquisitive little girl. The Peterson's remind Iris of how her family used to be before her husband died during World War II and her little girl from illness. Abby and Iris become friends. They find they have much in common especially a love of flowers. Can they help each other heal and discover that not one minute of a life should be wasted? The Heirloom Garden is well-written with relatable characters and incidents. Iris Maynard lost the two most precious people in her life. She erected a tall fence around her property and stays behind those walls. Iris has her heirloom garden to keep her company. Each flower holds a special memory. Gardeners will enjoy the beautiful descriptions of the flowers. They are heirloom varieties that include roses, irises, lilies, daylilies, bleeding hearts and so much more. We learn the meaning of each flower (the language of flowers) as well as how they were propagated and how to care for them. Iris's garden sounded magical (it would also send my allergies into overdrive). I like how each chapter was titled after a different flower which was then featured. The story alternates point-of-view between Iris and Abby. It also goes between past (begins in 1944) and present (2003) to tell each woman's story. The Heirloom Garden is confusing in the beginning, but, once you get into it, it becomes easier. The pacing is gentle (not slow or fast) which suits the story. Abby Peterson is a chemical engineer who is developing a special marine paint and was hired by a local company. Her husband, Cory came home a different man from Iraq. He spends his days drinking and sleeping. Lily is a curious little girl who is quick to make Iris's acquaintance. Lily was a delightful addition to the story. She added lightness and humor. The two homes are Sears kit homes (I would love to live in one). The author provided good information on the homes and I enjoyed the vivid word imagery. I like how the two story lines were blended and came together for a special ending. The Heirloom Garden is a heartening story with a cheeky child, a gorgeous garden, paint problems, a gripping grief, special seeds, a worried wife, a dispirited soldier, and marvelous memories.