Ms. Hoffman’s, “The Red Garden,” is a series of short stories that span three hundred years, all connected, in one way or other, to the charming, mystical town of Blackwell, Massachusetts.

The town, foundered in 1750, by a courageous and brave woman, Hallie Brady, who was originally from England and had no fear of bears or deadly blizzards and passed over the treacherous Hightop Mountain with her companions and landed on the other side, disconnected from the rest of Massachusetts by the mountain, and found the town of Blackwell…which was originally named Bearsville.

The founding of Blackwell is the first story in the collection and the next thirteen stories, which take place in sequential order, ends at just about the turn of twenty-first century. The stories are seamlessly weaved together, with recurrent characters and descendants of these characters, leaving the reader in awe and hoping there was no end to the stories.

Ms. Hoffman is a prolific writer and I have read a lot of her books, and never once was I even the least bit dissatisfied with any of her novels. She possesses an acute knowledge of history and animal behavior and her characters are usually nothing short of fascinating. She, like the wonderful Ann Patchett, has a beautifully crafted writing style that young, aspiring writers could learn quite a bit from. “The Red Garden,” is very simply another stunning piece of writing from this superbly gifted writer.


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