, about a chic New York wife who gets carted off to live in the country? TheUnlikely Lavender Queen: A Memoir of Unexpected Blossoming
is like that, but without Arnold the pig. Oh, andLavender Queen
Jeannie Ralston ended up in Texas Hill Country as part of a deal she made with her husband. He wanted to give up city life and live in a quiet, rural community. She wanted to start a family. They moved to the Hill Country and Ralston got pregnant. Everyone’s happy, right?
Well, not exactly. Her husband was a busy National Geographic photographer whose job took him all over the world, leaving Ralston at home alone. That home, by the way, was a rundown barn and it was up to Ralston to throw out the scorpions, suffer the famous Texas summer heat and raise the couple’s two small children. Ralston is left wondering if she got the raw end of the deal, staving off anger at her happy, successful husband who lives an exciting life when she’s stuck with diapers and snotty noses.
Then her husband decides they should try farming (by “they” he means “she”). Should she take on one more of her husband’s dreams? Will it meaning giving up one of her own? Not only will she be the one farming, instead of corn or potatoes, Ralston’s husband wants to farm lavender. Not exactly an ideal cash crop. But like everything else her husband wants, Ralston gives it a try and finds herself slowly falling in love with the flower. Growing and selling the blossoms help her regain her sense of independence and self. She discovers a way to mold her hopes and dreams around her husband’s without losing any of her own. — Olivia Flores Alvarez
Jeannie Ralston signs copies of The Unlikely Lavender Queen on Monday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-523-0701 or visit brazos.booksense.com. Free.