Fresh Water for Flowers – Valérie Perrin

Fresh Water for Flowers is the first book I read by the French author Valérie Perrin. After winning the Prix des Lecteurs in 2019, she debuted in English for the first time with this book. I hope we’ll see more of her books because this book is fantastic. I can even say that it was the best novel I have read in a long time.


Fresh Water for Flowers tells the story of Violette Toussaint and the people who somehow entered her life. However, the novel is far from being entirely the story of Violette. A surprising plot, love stories, heartbreaks, deaths, friends, vegetable gardens, cats, trains, a cemetery and the Mediterranean are in this book. The narrators change from time to time, but we read about them through their notes or diaries. And this makes the book a little more charming.

Fresh Water for Flowers - Valérie Perrin

This is one of those books that will make you think about life and death. But it does it so smoothly that you will be smiling on the way. Although its subject is not very easy, this is a light hearted book and is beautifully written. I wanted to underline most of the sentences and reread them. And listened to the songs and checked the perfumes mentioned in the book. I hope you’d do the same as well. It is so much fun!

I won’t forget about this book for a long time. Its marvellous story and finely crafted characters will stay with me. Thank God there are good books out there! I don’t want to tell more not to give spoilers. It would be best if you read this book. I am sure you will love it, and you will not regret it. Enjoy!

Fresh Water for Flowers - Valérie Perrin

Fresh Water for Flowers

Violette Toussaint is the caretaker at a cemetery in a so small town in Bourgogne. Random visitors, regulars, and so her colleagues―three gravediggers, three groundskeepers, and a priest―visit her to warm themselves in her lodge, where laughter, companionship, and occasional tears mix with the coffee that she offers them. Her daily life is lived to the rhythms of their hilarious and so touching confidences.

Violette’s routine is disrupted one day by the arrival of a man―Julien Seul, local police chief―who insists on depositing the ashes of his recently departed mother on the gravesite of a complete stranger. It soon becomes clear the grave Julien is looking for belongs to his mother’s one-time lover, and that his mother’s story of clandestine love is intertwined with Violette’s own secret past and the grief within it.

With Fresh Water for Flowers, Valérie Perrin gives readers the funny, moving, so intimately told story of a woman who believes obstinately in happiness. Perrin has the rare talent of illuminating the exceptional and the poetic in what seems ordinary. A delightful, atmospheric, absorbing fairy tale; full of poetry, generosity, and warmth.

Valérie Perrin

Valérie Perrin is a photographer and screenwriter who works with Claude Lelouch. Her first novel, Les Oubliés du Dimanche, as won numerous prizes, including the 2016 Lire Élire and Poulet-Malassis prizes.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

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