Novels to challenge and inspire…what Reviewers say:

  • RANGE OF MOTION . . . Generations pass.  Change is inevitable. For everything a season. A woman’s awakening to the realities of racism in Northern Michigan cottage life.

“Inspired language . . . beautiful characters who are remarkable and truthful as her settings.” Matthew Daddona, —  Richly drawn characters who continue to be haunted by ultimate questions of mortality and spirituality… pure wisdom.” 5-Stars, —  “. . . one of my top ten best reads. The characters are beautiful. I loved this book. It garnered positive reviews from our book club.” Barnes & Noble, 5-Star Review“From the very first paragraph until the very last, I was hooked.” 5-Star Review,“A unique voice; excellent, intelligent, witty writing; simply wonderful.” — “Wisdom . . . that only a lifetime of experience can wield.” Dan’s Hamptons

In 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, Ms. Agria’s newspaper column on gardening and spirituality—TIME IN A GARDEN—in the Petoskey News-Review won the statewide Michigan Garden Clubs competition for feature writing.  She was chosen in 2016 as one of two Michigan featured women authors of the year by the Charlevoix Zonta Club.

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And for Garden Lovers of all Ages . . .

bluejeancoverrflatfrontonlywebsiteTHROUGH THE GARDENER’S YEAR, a collection of 52 of novelist Mary Agria’s best columns on gardening and spirituality from the Petoskey News-Review.  Published from 2007-2014, the columns share the author’s thoughts on gardens, gardeners and the gardening life.  Professional photographer John J. Agria—also known to fans of Mary’s work as her agent and husband—has illustrated THROUGH THE GARDENER’S YEAR with 63 stunning black and white photographs of plants and flowers from around the country, including the author’s personal gardens.

SECOND LEAVES: GROWING YOUNG GARDENERS. A beginning botany book, read-along story book and easy reader introduces children to 12 common perennials, as well as teaching them how plants grow from seeds to seedlings to adult flowering plants. Teacher/Parent Guide included. If a child is stymied by questions about what they want to be when they grow up, SECOND LEAVES teaches them a meaningful answer:  “I don’t know, I haven’t gotten my second leaves yet”. The book is also an effective way of teaching about diversity. SECOND LEAVES has been adopted as a classroom text.

Author Agria and professional photographer Dr. John Agria collaborate on a photo history of this historic Chautauqua on Little Traverse Bay [Arcadia Press, 2014]—BAY VIEW, MICHIGAN:  IMAGES OF AMERICA.


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New in 2021 . . . An Itinerant Gardener’s Book of Days: For Sunbirds, Snowbirds and All the Gardeners in Between — 4th Michigan Garden Clubs feature writing award

Inspired by Harbor Springs naturalist and newspaper columnist Alice C. Erwin’s Book of Days, Nature Talks [1939], Mary Agria’s AN ITINERANT GARDENER’S BOOK OF DAYS tracks a year in the gardening life of author Agria as she divides her time between the desert Southwest and the shores of Northern Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay. From gardening in the year of Covid to Petoskey’s 2020 sixty-year wind event, the author explores the common spiritual roots of gardeners and gardening wherever they may happen to be.  Dubbed ‘Petoskey’s spiritual gardener’ by HomeLife magazine, author Agria has won awards for feature writing in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 in the Michigan Garden Clubs statewide competition.   Mary Agria will discuss the book and the Day Book tradition at the Little Traverse Historical Museum, 2 PM, October 9.

Agria’s most recent novel,  RANGE OF MOTION, was launched in Stevens Point, WI in June 2019, followed by a busy tour schedule through October. A two-day event in Petoskey featured author Agria leading tours of Little Traverse Bay landmarks and gardens that inspired her novels—including the best-selling TIME IN A GARDEN in 2006.  Also included were stops at famous Hemingway haunts, an author whose clean, straight-forward prose inspired her own work.    RANGE OF MOTION is the emotional, physical and spiritual journey of long-time Northern Michigan cottager and avid gardener, Maggie Aron as she struggles to confront the ‘sciatica of the soul’ that can rob life of its vitality and meaning.  “Plants root themselves. Except life doesn’t end there. They grow toward one another. sharing space, building the community we call a garden. Plants stretch upward toward the sun. They dance on the wind. We can learn a lot from plants.”  Set along the shores of Little Traverse Bay, the novel is a love song to gardening and the unique cottage culture of Northern Michigan. 

Program organizers for book and garden clubs, church groups, senior centers, libraries and other venues are encouraged to contact the Agrias to schedule events in their communities. It is also never too late to book an author chat or signing, including online author talks.  Contact the author via her email [email protected] —Phone and Skype chats are also a fun way to bring the author to your next book club. For upcoming programs or an author visit near you, click on the Events button.

CRITICAL ACCLAIM: Book Critic Joan Baum with the prestigious Dan’s Hampton’s magazine writes of Agria’s novels: “an intelligent, well-written and sharply observed portrayal of the human experience.” Says Matthew Daddona,, “Inspired language. . .beautiful characters as remarkable and truthful as her setting.”


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