Blooming in Winter

The Story of a Remarkable Twentieth-Century Woman

Non-Fiction - Womens
264 Pages
Reviewed on 05/22/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite

Blooming in Winter: The Story of a Remarkable Twentieth-Century Woman is written by Pam Valois. Valois and her husband’s first meeting with Jacomena Maybeck was in 1977. Jackie, as she preferred to be called, was on a roof, and Valois and her husband knew then they had met an unusual woman. Valois was drawn to Jackie’s enthusiastic approach to life. Jackie was born in Surabaya, Java. Her family moved to Holland, and later to California. The family purchased land in a remote but magical area where the family established their home. This place, which they called “the ranch,” provided a sense of security and stability for Jackie. The family became friends with the Maybecks, and Jackie would later marry Wallen Maybeck whose father, Bernard Maybeck, was a renowned architect who designed the Palace of Fine Arts. At the end of WWII, Jackie and her twin daughters joined Wallen in Germany. Inspired by her adventures abroad and determined to make something of her own, Jackie at forty-six years old decided to explore creative work. In 1952 she graduated from the California College of Arts and Crafts.

Blooming in Winter by Pam Valois is an enthralling biography that documents the life of a youthful, inspiring woman who defied society’s perception of aging. This biography is very well written. The story-telling is skillful and the other aspects such as photography and diary excerpts enhance the reading experience. Jackie’s other beautiful qualities shine through Blooming in Winter, including her strong sense of community and independence. Valois includes photographs and excerpts from Jackie’s diary that record her thoughts and perspectives. They help create an even clearer image of Jackie. The work also contains architectural detail. Homes in the biography represent more than form and design. They reveal family relationships and they also represent the community. Blooming in Winter by Pam Valois is a rich and heart-warming biography of an outstanding woman.