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I couldn't help but question how I'd gotten to this strange spot in my life, so far from what I'd expected for myself. Yes, there had been a heady romance a few years back. Then a slew of subsequent decisions, fueled by love and yearnings I didn't even know I had. But I never, ever would have suspected that this was where the sum total of them would bring me. That afternoo I couldn't help but question how I'd gotten to this strange spot in my life, so far from what I'd expected for myself. Yes, there had been a heady romance a few years back. Then a slew of subsequent decisions, fueled by love and yearnings I didn't even know I had. But I never, ever would have suspected that this was where the sum total of them would bring me. That afternoon a new doubt dripped into my mind. When do you know, I wondered, whether the choices you've made were the right ones? In 1990, Jeannie Ralston was a successful magazine writer and bona fide city girl-the type of woman who couldn't imagine living on soil not shaded by skyscrapers. By 1994, she had called off an engagement, married Robb, a National Geographic photographer, and was living in Blanco Texas, population 1600.


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I couldn't help but question how I'd gotten to this strange spot in my life, so far from what I'd expected for myself. Yes, there had been a heady romance a few years back. Then a slew of subsequent decisions, fueled by love and yearnings I didn't even know I had. But I never, ever would have suspected that this was where the sum total of them would bring me. That afternoo I couldn't help but question how I'd gotten to this strange spot in my life, so far from what I'd expected for myself. Yes, there had been a heady romance a few years back. Then a slew of subsequent decisions, fueled by love and yearnings I didn't even know I had. But I never, ever would have suspected that this was where the sum total of them would bring me. That afternoon a new doubt dripped into my mind. When do you know, I wondered, whether the choices you've made were the right ones? In 1990, Jeannie Ralston was a successful magazine writer and bona fide city girl-the type of woman who couldn't imagine living on soil not shaded by skyscrapers. By 1994, she had called off an engagement, married Robb, a National Geographic photographer, and was living in Blanco Texas, population 1600.

30 review for The Unlikely Lavender Queen: A Memoir of Unexpected Blossoming

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    New York writer marries National Geographic photographer, moves to Texas, grows lavender, whines a lot.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Decided to start this one next since I'm planning on going to the Hill Country Lavender Festival in Blanco in mid-June. Full disclosure: I'm reading a bound galley that was sent out to press folks. 6/13: Finished it last night. I really liked this book. So much so that I bought a proper hardback copy which I'll try to get signed this weekend at the Lavender Festival. This is a great book for any woman who's had to compromise certain aspects of her life to make a marriage and family work. Which I w Decided to start this one next since I'm planning on going to the Hill Country Lavender Festival in Blanco in mid-June. Full disclosure: I'm reading a bound galley that was sent out to press folks. 6/13: Finished it last night. I really liked this book. So much so that I bought a proper hardback copy which I'll try to get signed this weekend at the Lavender Festival. This is a great book for any woman who's had to compromise certain aspects of her life to make a marriage and family work. Which I wouldn't say applies to me (yet), but I found something to relate to as well. My love for the book probably stemmed from the parallels I could draw between her life and mine, i.e. grew up in the south, went to New York to work in magazines, left New York to move to Austin. I might have even shed a tear or two during the scene where she leaves New York for the last time, since all of that is really fresh in my mind. So I will say that the first half of the book, when she was meeting her husband and moving to Austin, was probably five stars for me. The latter half gets more into building the lavender business and building her family, dealing with fertility troubles and later postpartum depression. Obviously less for me to relate to here, but her tone, humor, honesty, etc. made the pages fly by all the same. It's a great story, well told. Great book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    I read this book for my book club and, indeed, it seems made for just this sort of venue. Any wife or mother will find things about Jeannie Ralston to relate to -- struggling to get pregnant, the difficulty of a newborn, negotiating big life decisions with a spouse. The book raises plenty of big ticket issues that are great for a book club to discuss and no one can argue that Jeannie hasn't had an interesting life! On the other hand, there were so many points when I found myself deeply annoyed b I read this book for my book club and, indeed, it seems made for just this sort of venue. Any wife or mother will find things about Jeannie Ralston to relate to -- struggling to get pregnant, the difficulty of a newborn, negotiating big life decisions with a spouse. The book raises plenty of big ticket issues that are great for a book club to discuss and no one can argue that Jeannie hasn't had an interesting life! On the other hand, there were so many points when I found myself deeply annoyed by Jeannie's condescension. I mean, Jeez! Is New York really that great! Get over yourself! Similarly, the feminist in me couldn't quite understand how she let her husband throw their lives into complete upheaval time and time again. Maybe she should have been a bit stronger about asserting her own viewpoint. Criticisms aside, this was a decent memoir and a quick read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Marsha

    I had a hard time rating this book. It was well written and interesting, and yet I did not enjoy reading about the dysfunctional relationship between the author and her husband. Time and time again he made decisions that she hated (or claimed she hated, since she went along with every decision he made for both of them) -- move from Manhattan to Austin, TX, move from Austin to the sticks of TX, wait until he thought the time was right to have a baby, start a lavender farm even though he wouldn't I had a hard time rating this book. It was well written and interesting, and yet I did not enjoy reading about the dysfunctional relationship between the author and her husband. Time and time again he made decisions that she hated (or claimed she hated, since she went along with every decision he made for both of them) -- move from Manhattan to Austin, TX, move from Austin to the sticks of TX, wait until he thought the time was right to have a baby, start a lavender farm even though he wouldn't be there half the time to tend it, and the worst of all, once the farm became a success, devalue her efforts in making money and ditch the entire enterprise to move to Texas. I despised him and couldn't respect her.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. What a whiner!!!!!! Ralston spends most of the book whining about her lost life in NYC and the awful (for her) things her husband makes her do, that she does with no complaint to him. For all her self-described feminism, she follows whatever he proposes with no real dialogue with him on her part as to what impact all this has on her and her life. Hates that he always leaves her alone while on assignment, leaving her to deal with his plans and dreams and kids, hates the town she lives in, hates What a whiner!!!!!! Ralston spends most of the book whining about her lost life in NYC and the awful (for her) things her husband makes her do, that she does with no complaint to him. For all her self-described feminism, she follows whatever he proposes with no real dialogue with him on her part as to what impact all this has on her and her life. Hates that he always leaves her alone while on assignment, leaving her to deal with his plans and dreams and kids, hates the town she lives in, hates the people that are not as sophisticated and fashion-conscious as her New York friends, feels she (and by association her current neighbors) is somehow not as intelligent as she once was and that being an entreprenuer and the skills that come with it is just "not enough". When she at last comes to a new appreciation of the life she has created surrounded by lavender (the planting of which is another of her husband's ideas that she is left to cope with) a dismissive remark by her husband about being "in retail" sends her self-esteem into a tailspin. When Ralston confronts her husband about the constant restlessness that his male ego feeds off of, and the obliviousness on his part as to what the reality of his planning actually does to her, since she really is the one to put his dreams into action, she actually backs down when he throws out the ultimate, age-old male reason and final arguement for everything, he makes the money. That she has created a business that stands to make $100,000 is of no consequence. She eventually succumbs to his latest plan of selling her beloved barn and the lavender business that she has built up after finally obtaining promises in writing as to how he will handle the work on their new house. They go on vacation and guess what!! He acknowledges that it is too much for him to handle and what does she think of a new idea he has come up with? At last they are in sync and decide to settle in Mexico. There the tale ends and I say good riddance. If my marriage was sooo one sided, I would have left long ago. Ralston's husband does not understand the meaning of compromise and belittles all her accomplishments. I seriously wonder what she saw in him. The glamour of his job has gone to his head and he expects all to be in awe. He is nothing but a spoiled kid who has to have his way all the time and insults the dreams and feelings of those closest to him in order to get his way. A great example of a man who spouts whatever he needs to "get the girl" and then shows his true chauvanistic ways once the chase is over. A poor example of a woman who has so narrowly defined what success and empowerment mean, that when a different definition of it surrounds her for years, refuses to recognize it and spends a long time unhappy because she can't alter her framework to fit a new life. Two pretty selfish and awful people. I am glad I borrowed this book from the library. I would have been very disappointed if I had contributed to them by purchasing a copy of it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    Being an aspiring herb gardener, I looked forward to an opportunity to read The Unlikely Lavender Queen: A Memoir of Unexpected Blossoming. After a couple of years of unsuccessful lavender-growing and trying to hide my envy of my sister's stands of gorgeous, aromatic lavender, I hoped to get some tips to duplicate her success. Alas, it was not to be since the author grew hers from cuttings raised at a neighbor's greenhouse. (However, I did glean a few useful tips as to selecting a better locatio Being an aspiring herb gardener, I looked forward to an opportunity to read The Unlikely Lavender Queen: A Memoir of Unexpected Blossoming. After a couple of years of unsuccessful lavender-growing and trying to hide my envy of my sister's stands of gorgeous, aromatic lavender, I hoped to get some tips to duplicate her success. Alas, it was not to be since the author grew hers from cuttings raised at a neighbor's greenhouse. (However, I did glean a few useful tips as to selecting a better location though.) The Unlikely Lavender Queen: A Memoir of Unexpected Blossoming is sectioned into three parts. After an un-captivating prologue, the first part offers details on Ralston's background as a journalist and lover of New York fashions. It also includes meeting her husband, a National Geographic photographer, and their consequent move to Texas against her wishes. What follows is 90-plus pages of kvetching and needling conservative Texans who don't share her liberal values and fashion sense. Part Two consists of 36 pages of more whining with a little lavender thrown in for good measure. Part Three, (note my sigh of relief) finally proceeds to give birth to Hill Country Lavender, their business. With the exception of a sprinkling of jabs and negative episodes, the reader learns how the couple grew their business. Unfortunately, by this time, I had so little patience left with the author, her husband and their marital squabbling that I was relieved when I finished the book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

    As a story of near constant drama and upheaval, The Unlikely Lavender Queen hit a little too close to home for me at this point in my life to completely enjoy it. I was also constantly feeling frustrated at the author's husband's tendency to push her into a situation... whether it be any of the three moves he literally forced her into, overseeing the construction and renovation on an isolated property in Texas while he was away on business, and then finally the start up of a lavender farm that s As a story of near constant drama and upheaval, The Unlikely Lavender Queen hit a little too close to home for me at this point in my life to completely enjoy it. I was also constantly feeling frustrated at the author's husband's tendency to push her into a situation... whether it be any of the three moves he literally forced her into, overseeing the construction and renovation on an isolated property in Texas while he was away on business, and then finally the start up of a lavender farm that she originally refused to be a part of but eventually ended up running. ALthough the author tries to portray him in a more positive note than I am, in my opinion, he just came across as a bully who would push to get his way on a project and then leave her to carry it through. I don't know if I were in the same situation and with access to gardening shears and plenty of farmland to bury a body, he would have survived the experience. While it was nice to see the peak of the lavender farm experience (after the point when everything came together and she made a home for herself in TX but before the point her husband pressured her to give up the business and move to Mexico), it was really a smaller portion of the book than I had hoped for. After so much trauma, drama and drudgery, the payoff didn't seem to be as great as it should have been. I read the book expecting to feel a thrill of "I should do that" and a sort of "things are up in the air now ut you can eventually make something great out it and things will finally make sense" feeling but instead, I just felt tired. If you are looking for a uplifting "I made over my life and made a brand new start" kind of book, I recommend Under the Tuscan Sun.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    The author falls in love and moves from New York City to Texas with her husband, eventually starting a lavender farm in the Hill Country. I wanted to like this book much more than I did. She seems so miserable and angry about leaving behind her life in New York, and she seems like such an unwilling participant in her husband's plans. You never got a sense of their relationship--why she was always going along with his decisions, even if they made her so frustrated. The history of the lavender far The author falls in love and moves from New York City to Texas with her husband, eventually starting a lavender farm in the Hill Country. I wanted to like this book much more than I did. She seems so miserable and angry about leaving behind her life in New York, and she seems like such an unwilling participant in her husband's plans. You never got a sense of their relationship--why she was always going along with his decisions, even if they made her so frustrated. The history of the lavender farm, which is a much smaller part of the book, was, however, very interesting to me.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Melody

    The authorial voice is so discontented, so whiny in the face of plenty, so relentlessly unhappy that reading this book is less like a gambol through the lavender fields and more like a catalog of how rich people suffer the slings and arrows of too many choices. I finished it merely because I was certain that she wouldn't have written a book that was simply a chronicle of the injustices of her life. I was wrong.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mary Nordstrom

    I enjoyed the story of how the author and her husband started their lavender business. It was also fun to read a book set mostly in Central Texas, as that is where I live. At times though, the author seemed a bit too focused on proving how liberal she was despite currently residing in the middle of Texas, reminding you that she had once lived in New York City, etc. I guess being liberal is easy when you're making 6 figures off your lavender farm.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lois

    These people were hard to warm up to, even though the story is told from the author's perspective. The first half of the book is pretty much about how much she does not want to be where her husband insists on living and how much she misses New York. The lavender doesn't even come into it until about halfway through. From there, I found it more interesting, and she actually becomes happier, but the husband is still a jerk. Then they quit the lavender and move to Mexico.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I had high hopes for this book, a memoir about a woman who leaves NYC for rural Texas to start a life with the man she loves. Although at times comic, Ralston comes across as a spoiled whiner whose attitude takes away from her own story. The book was a disappointment - I'd give it 1 1/2 stars if I could.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Synger

    Enjoyed this story of an urbane New Yorker and her struggles with moving to rural Texas with her husband. Beautifully written, and very entertaining for the most part. But there were times I just wanted to slap her and tell her to get on with it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    Didn't anybody care about all those dogs who got shot and run over? Good god! A million dollar house with a shop, farm, pool and zillion gallon water catching system but no dog run or kennel to keep the dogs out of harms way? Pathetic!!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Saw this reviewed somewhere and piqued my curiosity...especially when to do with lavender even in the most round-a-bout way.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Karie

    The visuals that I got from reading this book were simply gorgeous. Not only does Jeannie Ralston paint incredible word pictures of her lavender farm, (hey, with those two words you’re already halfway there) but anywhere she describes in this memoir, transports me. I can see through her eyes, smell the smells and feel the warm humid air of Provence, feel the pavement of Manhattan under my feet. “We had a boozy dinner at a favorite restaurant in the West Village called Gus’s Place, where I’d spent The visuals that I got from reading this book were simply gorgeous. Not only does Jeannie Ralston paint incredible word pictures of her lavender farm, (hey, with those two words you’re already halfway there) but anywhere she describes in this memoir, transports me. I can see through her eyes, smell the smells and feel the warm humid air of Provence, feel the pavement of Manhattan under my feet. “We had a boozy dinner at a favorite restaurant in the West Village called Gus’s Place, where I’d spent much time when I lived two streets away. I walked home that night and tried to absorb all the sensations – the noxious but comfortingly familiar smells of traffic, the shimmer and smolder of lights, the snippets of passing conversations, which I knew were like no other conversations in the country. Certainly, I would return to New York, but I was aware that it would never again feel the same, as relaxed and intimate, as mine, as it did that night.” Her love of place, first for New York and only after a long while, for her new home in Texas, come through very clearly. She seems to take much of who she is, or at least how she defines herself from where she lives. When she is in New York, she feeds off its energy, feels confident and successful. When she agrees to move to Texas with Robb, her future husband, the transition is very difficult for her. “I hoped for a personal life that would be as remarkable as my professional one. My emphasis on equilibrium was the difference between Robb and me, maybe the difference between men and women in general. It made me more flexible, the one more willing to adjust my schedule and goals. It soon became clear to me that two big careers in one relationship would be almost impossible to manage. If we were going to work, something – or someone – would always have to give.” And, at least from my point of view, it always seemed to be Jeannie. (Although, since the book is from her point of view, both may be a bit biased.) And that was my only problem with the book. I kept wanting this strong, talented woman to get her way for once, to get to stay in at least one of the places she loved and called home. And yet, she always (although not without putting up a fight) was the one of adjust, to give in to her husband’s dreams. Even when she was able to make one of his dreams into one of her own, he changed the game again. But, since this is a memoir, I can’t really fault the author for the plot. As a mother, who had quite a rocky journey on my way to earning that title, I felt a deep connection with her as she struggles to conceive. “…in the back of my mind, I harbored a fantasy of announcing my pregnancy in front of this group of friends and family. But such an announcement wasn’t shaping up. March’s opportunity had ended the same way my cycle had ended for twenty years. In bloodshed.” That’s such a strong sentence – summing up exactly how that feels. She has a great wit, as well. “All the books said that stress could make it harder to conceive, but telling a woman who wants to be pregnant not to worry about it is about as productive as spanking a child for hitting his brother.” I enjoyed this book a great deal. I felt transported by Ralston’s words and emotions, and got to see parts of a life that would never be parts of mine. Her story is not only well written but interesting. And, even though I may wish things had turned out differently, the truth of the journey she takes makes the getting there all the more valuable. “I had achieved something remarkable, I felt. I had endured, toughed out the isolation, the demands of a perfectionist husband and had found real peace. I felt that, like the lavender, I was a nonnative transplant that had somehow thrived.” There’s a quote on the back of my copy that says “Learning to want what you already have is the greatest lesson in life…” (Martha Sherrill). Jeannie Ralston’s story, and life, is an embodiment of exactly that.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Donda Johnson

    I was a bit disappointed by this book. I thought it was going to be more about her starting her lavender farm and how she grew her business. How to plant lavender and the products she made from the lavender planted in they fields. It was classified as 633 in the library dewey decimal system; that's the classification for planting and soil and farming. Instead it starts out with her life in New York and her engagement to another man. How she met her husband and moved to Texas. His idea to start a I was a bit disappointed by this book. I thought it was going to be more about her starting her lavender farm and how she grew her business. How to plant lavender and the products she made from the lavender planted in they fields. It was classified as 633 in the library dewey decimal system; that's the classification for planting and soil and farming. Instead it starts out with her life in New York and her engagement to another man. How she met her husband and moved to Texas. His idea to start a lavender farm all the while he's still traveling to photograph for national geographic. Basically she carves him out to be a real douche bag. This book should be classified as 921 a biography. Only the last 5 chapters truly talk about her lavender company and the farm. Those are even a bit sparce in that area. Basically if you want to read a biography about a whiny New Yorker this is the book for you. If you want to read a book about planting crops or planting flowers for business purposes please look else where. I gave it 3 stars because I didn't hate her story , I just felt mislead on what the book was about. She's led an interesting life.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Non-fiction. Memoir. Jeannie is a journalist who has a love of New York and her life. She marries a maverick who loves adventure and putting into action new ideas. She unwillingly moves to the Texas Hill country with him, and they start the first lavender farm in Texas. She is unhappy with her new life, her new home and her husband's long and frequent travels because of his job. She is left with much of the responsibilities related to the projects he dreams up. But once she discovers her love of Non-fiction. Memoir. Jeannie is a journalist who has a love of New York and her life. She marries a maverick who loves adventure and putting into action new ideas. She unwillingly moves to the Texas Hill country with him, and they start the first lavender farm in Texas. She is unhappy with her new life, her new home and her husband's long and frequent travels because of his job. She is left with much of the responsibilities related to the projects he dreams up. But once she discovers her love of the lavender farm, her talent for marketing a business and her entrepreneurial spirit, her life changes. I liked this book because it is about the Texas Hill Country, an area I am familiar with. However, why do writers seem to think that throwing in curse words will make their writings better? This was a real turn off to me, especially in a lovely story with such a magical setting. After reading the book, I do plan to make a trip to the lavender fields next year.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tricia Hutson

    Inspiring An honest, beautiful and inspiring look at marriage, building a family, and making hard choices. An ode to the people in our lives that drag us kicking and screaming at times down the paths we may not yet realize are best. This was a beautiful read about growth and letting go, making goals, changing them... and then changing them again. It spoke to me while also inspiring me. It was touching and frustrating and heartbreaking and a great depiction of all the unexpected things life can be Inspiring An honest, beautiful and inspiring look at marriage, building a family, and making hard choices. An ode to the people in our lives that drag us kicking and screaming at times down the paths we may not yet realize are best. This was a beautiful read about growth and letting go, making goals, changing them... and then changing them again. It spoke to me while also inspiring me. It was touching and frustrating and heartbreaking and a great depiction of all the unexpected things life can be. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joan Austen

    An enjoyable read for those who think they might want to have a lavender farm.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marci Lambert

    A lovely story I really enjoyed this memoir; Jeannie is a talented writer and she shared a lot of ups and downs. Maybe someday I’ll have my own lavender field.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Welch

    While I really tried to like this book it just kept letting me down. The story of the lavender farm is wonderful. The authors ability to write beauty into her stories makes you feel like your standing in the middle of the field. The "Barn" sounds like my dream house. But, and it's a really big BUT, this woman and her husband make more money than some small cities (by her own admission) and all she/he do throughout the entire book is worry about money. When she wrote about how the lavender wasn't While I really tried to like this book it just kept letting me down. The story of the lavender farm is wonderful. The authors ability to write beauty into her stories makes you feel like your standing in the middle of the field. The "Barn" sounds like my dream house. But, and it's a really big BUT, this woman and her husband make more money than some small cities (by her own admission) and all she/he do throughout the entire book is worry about money. When she wrote about how the lavender wasn't bringing in enough to warrant keeping the lavender farm/house/pool, acreage even when they were making 6 figures on the lavender alone I wanted to throw the book across the room. The unreality of her life compared to most average farmers in the Texas area was almost bizarre at times. I felt great empathy with her post partum depression, her inability to cope with the solitude, and her worry about her mothering skills but only a little bit because it seemed all she had to do was pick up the phone and one of her rich friends made it all better. When I turned the last page I felt strangely discouraged and disheartened. To see that after all their moves, their planning, their changes they ended up moving to another country where American millionaires hide away from the realities of American life left a bad taste in my mouth. It's not envy that gives me pause to say these things because we have more than most. It just seems that it's a selfish look at life surrounded by the story of a lavender farm.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ramarie

    "Unlikely" is a good choice of word for part of this book's title. The book is a blow-by-blow account of NY journalist Jeannie Ralston's transformation from committed city slicker snob, to Texas Hill Country mother and lavender farmer. I wearied of the author's whining and reluctance to leave her beloved NYC to follow her fiance and later husband to Texas, but once she got to the point of acceptance and began to see the beauty in her situation, the story moved along more rapidly. I enjoyed readi "Unlikely" is a good choice of word for part of this book's title. The book is a blow-by-blow account of NY journalist Jeannie Ralston's transformation from committed city slicker snob, to Texas Hill Country mother and lavender farmer. I wearied of the author's whining and reluctance to leave her beloved NYC to follow her fiance and later husband to Texas, but once she got to the point of acceptance and began to see the beauty in her situation, the story moved along more rapidly. I enjoyed reading about the start of the first-ever lavender farm in the Hill Country town of Blanco. Jeannie embraced the town, getting involved not only in the marketing of her lavender farm and its products, but also with the community. The book ends with Jeannie and her husband, National Geographic photographer Robb Kendrick, moving on to their next adventure...living in Mexico. Their lavender farm was sold to a local gal who worked with them on the farm, and is still operational today. It's called Hill Country Lavender, appropriately enough. An enjoyable read, even if it bogged down for a bit with the author's negative attitude. And with my current obsession with lavender, it fueled my desires all the more!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Phillis

    I really do like fiction better then an autobiography. The book was good, well written, but didn't hold my interst as well as fiction or even a biography. At least a biography tell the life story from birth to death giving it a finality. Taking a chunk out of a persons life and writing about it makes me realize I don't care for this type of story. I learned somethings reading it and that to me is good. I am glad Jeannie Ralston made Blanco, TX the Lavender capitol of Texas, but other then that i I really do like fiction better then an autobiography. The book was good, well written, but didn't hold my interst as well as fiction or even a biography. At least a biography tell the life story from birth to death giving it a finality. Taking a chunk out of a persons life and writing about it makes me realize I don't care for this type of story. I learned somethings reading it and that to me is good. I am glad Jeannie Ralston made Blanco, TX the Lavender capitol of Texas, but other then that it the rest of her life was just that, her life. One of the reasons I read it is because I too like lavender and was curious about it growing in a place like Texas. Turns out, its the perfect place for it. So, if you like reading about chunks of people's lives you will probably enjoy this book. What I didn't like was how Jeannie never trained her dogs that other animals were not prey. Her dogs killed because they didn't know any better. When one of her dogs is shot and killed because it got into the neighbors fenced in area and went after the livestock, she was outraged that her dog was killed. Could have been prevented with proper training.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    This book appears horrible, I honestly could not get past the introduction, {"one hundred and sixty dollars, I snorted when i heard the pitiful payoff for the mornings work stated out loud, on photo shoots for advertising clients , Robb could earn thousands in a day. I could make thousands for one magazine story"} Beyond insulting is what this book is . I am a Texas resident and I am not afraid working hard in the morning for my "pitiful payoff" of one sixty. Hell, I would be happy to get a free This book appears horrible, I honestly could not get past the introduction, {"one hundred and sixty dollars, I snorted when i heard the pitiful payoff for the mornings work stated out loud, on photo shoots for advertising clients , Robb could earn thousands in a day. I could make thousands for one magazine story"} Beyond insulting is what this book is . I am a Texas resident and I am not afraid working hard in the morning for my "pitiful payoff" of one sixty. Hell, I would be happy to get a free beer out of my extra backyard lavender. Jeannie is a stuck up snob who for some unfathomable reason allows her husband to boss her around like she is a dog on a leash. The woman can write, I will give her that, but her personality is more shallow than a spoonful of water. Take some Prozac Jeannie so you might actually appreciate the blessings you have in your life and shut the hell up. P.S. Don't ever come to my barbecue, whiny spoiled brats are not allowed.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Merle

    Mixed feelings about this book. By the end I was trying to find things to like about the author. She started out a New York snob looking down on the Austin/Hill Country people, and for the most part, I think she had the same opinion throughout. (A disclaimer: I have lived my whole life in the great state of Texas.) The author did seem to learn a lot about Texas, and I felt for her with her bouts of depression. She was a doer and a self starter, and those are admirable qualities. She loved her hu Mixed feelings about this book. By the end I was trying to find things to like about the author. She started out a New York snob looking down on the Austin/Hill Country people, and for the most part, I think she had the same opinion throughout. (A disclaimer: I have lived my whole life in the great state of Texas.) The author did seem to learn a lot about Texas, and I felt for her with her bouts of depression. She was a doer and a self starter, and those are admirable qualities. She loved her husband and children. She married a Texan and he is a man's man, not your wimpy feely, touchy metro guy. No one made her follow him anywhere, and it is admirable that she stuck it out. Many comments on reviews here criticize her husband for his decisions and her for staying with him. Marriage is hard work, and they both seemed willing to stay together. They had a lot of respect for each other; and if others learn nothing else, this is story of committed love.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    I wanted to like Ralston, I really did. It was a story beautifully written but I had a problem getting past the incessant elitist, self-centered, holier-than-thou mindset of she and her husband. There are many people who would love to have their opportunities and financial abilities and Ralston spends her time whining and complaining about it. I don't care about anyone's political beliefs but how does the tragic death of a puppy in one breath lead to an onslaught of pro-John Kerry anti-republica I wanted to like Ralston, I really did. It was a story beautifully written but I had a problem getting past the incessant elitist, self-centered, holier-than-thou mindset of she and her husband. There are many people who would love to have their opportunities and financial abilities and Ralston spends her time whining and complaining about it. I don't care about anyone's political beliefs but how does the tragic death of a puppy in one breath lead to an onslaught of pro-John Kerry anti-republican/conservative/Christian venom? It's as if Ralston is only content when she is the center of attention, whether it be in high class society, a highly coveted journalism status, or, finally, the highly successful "lavender queen" of Blanco, Texas. I wish Ralston and her family well, but I hope she and Robb stay married to save other unsuspecting people from their dysfunctional, bullying and elitist personalities.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    A fun read! Lavender scents has always been one of my favorites since the early years of my college days. The book held many of my interests-writing/publishing articles; my love for lavender (of course), Hill Country and Austin(one of my favorite areas in Texas, her volatile and adventuorus relationship with Robb, her liberal views (I'm a Democrat too) and her PPD/anxiety attacks which I could relate to, and the motto to go with the flow in life, and "be open to surprises in life" and relocating A fun read! Lavender scents has always been one of my favorites since the early years of my college days. The book held many of my interests-writing/publishing articles; my love for lavender (of course), Hill Country and Austin(one of my favorite areas in Texas, her volatile and adventuorus relationship with Robb, her liberal views (I'm a Democrat too) and her PPD/anxiety attacks which I could relate to, and the motto to go with the flow in life, and "be open to surprises in life" and relocating to several places. So, it was a great read for me. I would love to meet Ralston sometime (even though she is in Mexico now and even, the town is also of a travel interest for me as it has been mentioned in travel magazines several times!) and to visit Hill Country Lavender next time I am in the area :)I think Ralston would be a great friend to hang out with :)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kathy jenkins

    Picked this up at the library when I was looking for cookbooks. The cover picture is lovely and the author has a way with words. I know enough about her politics to know we have different points of view but she told an interesting story. If I didn't have my friend Lisa I would not believe this kind of person exists who can take a simple idea and turn it into so many opportunities, all the while seeking the kind of life experiences she wants her children to have. The family buys an amazing barn a Picked this up at the library when I was looking for cookbooks. The cover picture is lovely and the author has a way with words. I know enough about her politics to know we have different points of view but she told an interesting story. If I didn't have my friend Lisa I would not believe this kind of person exists who can take a simple idea and turn it into so many opportunities, all the while seeking the kind of life experiences she wants her children to have. The family buys an amazing barn and turns it into a house while planning a lavender farm. She turns this into an array of money making ventures a d still fins time to start up a Montessori school for her boys, create a local film society so she will have interesting movies to watch and still manages to write for major magazines, her "real" job. I am revising my rating. I liked this book more than I realized!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Laura Ponticello

    Let's face it- there alot of authors who proclaim to be great writers, but really stink. As a vigorous book lover, I read with all my friends in my book club and we tend to tear apart authors's that want to inspire women, but really put us to sleep. That's why, I have to share with everyone, the book that satisfies my hunger, so much, that I want more and more. The Unlikely Lavender Queen- a must read for women, that takes the reader on amazing adventures. So many of us, can't fathom, being like Let's face it- there alot of authors who proclaim to be great writers, but really stink. As a vigorous book lover, I read with all my friends in my book club and we tend to tear apart authors's that want to inspire women, but really put us to sleep. That's why, I have to share with everyone, the book that satisfies my hunger, so much, that I want more and more. The Unlikely Lavender Queen- a must read for women, that takes the reader on amazing adventures. So many of us, can't fathom, being like Elizabeth Gilbert, in Eat, Pray and Love and running away somewhere to find ourselves. That's why, YEAH, I loved indulging in Jeannie's adventures- you go girl! Books clubs, great conversation book over tea & chocolate, well at least, that's we have in my book club. Off for Unlikely Lavender Queen, [...] - she rocks! Gotta tell all your girlfriends about this book.

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