Violette Toussaint is the caretaker at a cemetery in a small town in Bourgogne. Casual mourners, regular visitors, and sundry colleagues—gravediggers, groundskeepers, and a priest—visit her to warm themselves in her lodge, where laughter, companionship, and occasional tears mix with the coffee she offers them. Her life is lived to the rhythms of their funny, moving confidences.
Violette’s routine is disrupted one day by the arrival of Julien Sole—local police chief—who insists on scattering the ashes of his recently deceased mother on the gravesite of a complete stranger. It soon becomes clear that Julien’s inexplicable gesture is intertwined with Violette’s own difficult past.
With Fresh Water for Flowers, Valérie Perrin has given readers an intimately told story that tugs on the heartstrings about a woman who defiantly believes in happiness, despite it all. A number one bestseller in France, Fresh Water for Flowers is a heartwarming and tender story that will stay will readers for years after the final page is turned.
“Thundering applause for Fresh Water for Flowers.”— La Marseillaise
“The balance between laughter and tears is spot on.”— Lire
“A bad, bad, bad case of love at first read. This is a splendid, moving book, my favorite of 2018.”— C’est au programme
“Readers will be moved by the poetic gentleness of the narration, by the generous gaze that the two protagonists cast over human affairs, by the desire for peace that Julien and Violette share, and by the welcome dose of humor.”— La Croix
Valérie Perrin was born in 1967 in Remiremont, in the Vosges Mountains, France. She grew up in Burgundy and settled in Paris in 1986. Her novel The Forgotten Sunday (2015) won the Booksellers Choice Award and the paperback edition has been long-selling best-seller since publication. Her English-language debut, Fresh Water for Flowers (Europa, 2020) won the Maison de la Presse Prize, the Paperback Readers Prize, and was named a 2020 ABA Indies Introduce and Indie Next List title. It has been translated into over thirty languages. Figaro Littéraire named Perrin one of the ten best-selling authors in France in 2019, and in Italy, Fresh Water for Flowers was the best selling book of 2020. Perrin now lives in Normandy