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Garden of Dreams
Patricia Rice and the heroine of GARDEN OF DREAMS, her March Ballantine release, have a few things in common. For starters, they both spent many years in the same part of Western Kentucky. The author recently moved away from the place where she'd lived for 20 years and settled into a new locale, Charlotte, North Carolina. If you want to know if Rice's most recent heroine also parts ways with Kentucky, however-and with the only town she's ever known-you're going to have to pick up GARDEN OF DREAMS yourself!
Rice's first contemporary, GARDEN OF DREAMS is the story of a heroine, Nina Toon, trying to build a botanical garden in her Kentucky home town, a town she at once adores and finds isolating. "When the hero, a motorcycle-riding computer genius, lands in her lap," says Rice, "Nina is thrown into a completely different world."
Just that simple plot summary calls out other similarities between Nina and the author who created her. "There wasn't a whole lot of research involved in this book," admits Rice. "She's developing a botanical garden and gardening is an obsession of mine." In Kentucky, Rice lived in a house that only had a city garden and she's thrilled that she now has two acres to play with. The fact that her latest heroine has a whopping 100 acres to make her own-not to mention greenhouses: the works!-is a telling glimpse into Rice's dream life.
And as for the motorcycle-riding computer genius... Is it enough to say that Rice's husband works in computers?
For her part, the author enjoyed the switch from historical to contemporary. "You're not as restricted in your [own] language," she says. "I could spend more time on the voices of the characters because I could hear them with a contemporary ear. Also, I could spend more time on the plot and the character elements than on the historical accuracy."
Rice will be writing two more contemporaries for Ballantine, though GARDEN OF DREAMS is the most classically romantic of the three single-title books. The next throws a mystery into the ring and the third veers sharply toward action/adventure, as the working title Volcano makes clear. Will the author eventually return to writing the historicals so many readers have come to cherish? "I would like to," she says. "I've got a couple of stories from my historicals that need to be written. The Marquess has a wonderful character called Michael who needs his own book."
In the meantime, as she puts the finishing touches on her contemporaries, Rice is busy creating her own "Garden of Dreams" at her new home. "There are plants down here I don't recognize," she admits, noting that one part of her property looks like a jungle. "But they tell me I can grow gardenias here and I can't wait!"
GARDEN OF DREAMS was reviewed in RT #167, Feb. '98, receiving 4H stars. Write to Patricia at Providence Commons, 10612-D Providence Rd. #366, Charlotte, NC 28277, or e-mail her at Price100@aol.com
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