Read the first chapter of The Gardins of Edin!

The Gardins of Edin

Ruth. Naomi. Mary. Martha.

When the bonds in their family begin to fray, four women fight to preserve their legacy, heal their wounds, and move forward together in this heartwarming contemporary debut novel

Though regarded as a close-knit family and pillars of the community of Edin, Georgia, the four women of the Gardin family privately know their relationships are rapidly fraying. They struggle to hold the family and its multimillion-dollar peanut business together, as a looming crisis threatens the legacy of their formerly enslaved ancestors.

Distrust and misunderstanding plague the women and prevent them from moving forward. Ruth, who married into the family and is still trying to fit in, longs to fulfill her deceased husband’s goals for the company even as she grieves his death. Martha’s jealousy leads to increasing mistrust and tension with Ruth, who wants to take charge of the family enterprise. After failed expectations in New York, Mary struggles to find her place in Edin and wrestles with her sisterly role in addressing Martha’s malicious treatment of Ruth. Naomi, the matriarch who raised the sisters after their parents’ death and supported Ruth in her grief, wants the women to work out their mistrust, hurts, and mistakes.

As the Gardin women grapple with mounting relational and business challenges, a fresh health scare brings to light deep wounds. Will they be able to preserve their family legacy and heal?

Loosely inspired by the stories of beloved women from the Bible, this novel provides a fictional answer to what happened to the women after the stories told in the Bible. 


“Filled with heartfelt moments and inspiring characters.”

—Woman’s World Magazine

“Lovingly written, this story explores family dynamics and forgiveness with strength and hope.”

—Ms. Magazine

“Quirky and complicated yet lovable family.”

—Library Journal

“Though debut novelist Lee loosely based her characters on the women of the Bible, every fan of relationship fiction will enjoy this family drama about four strong Black women who butt heads, follow their dreams, and, eventually, come together.”


“The surprises and heart in this fast-paced family drama kept me turning pages late into the night.”

—KJ Dell’Antonia, New York Times bestselling author of The Chicken Sisters

“A loving and lovely journey from an exciting, talented new author willing to explore the meaning of family in intriguing ways.”

—Patricia Raybon, Christy Award–winning author of the Annalee Spain Mystery series and two critically acclaimed memoirs, My First White Friend and I Told the Mountain to Move

“Readers will wish they owned a cottage on the Gardin estate or lived close enough to witness firsthand all the goings-on in Lee’s fascinating saga.”

—Robin W. Pearson, Christy Award–winning author

“With courage and ambition akin to the casts and epic dramas of Tayari Jones, Lee has written a page-turner of grief and hope.”

—Melissa Scholes Young, author of The Hive

“Provides an allegorical look at friendship, family tension, and the concept of forgiveness.”

—Kimmery Martin, author of Doctors and Friends

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