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The Lost Garden by Katharine Swartz

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Posts: 4155
Joined: August 2008
Currently reading: The Catherine Howard Conspiracy by Alexandra Walsh
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favourite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

The Lost Garden by Katharine Swartz

Post by Vanessa » Tue April 28th, 2015, 8:13 am

The Lost Garden by Katharine Swartz

Marin Ellis is in search of a new start after her father and his second wife die in a car accident, and at thirty-seven she is made guardian of her fifteen-year-old half-sister Rebecca. They leave Hampshire for the picturesque village of Goswell on the Cumbrian coast, and settle into Bower House on the edge of the church property. When a door to a walled garden captures Rebecca's interest, Marin becomes determined to open it and discover what is hidden beneath the bramble inside. She enlists the help of local gardener Joss Fowler, and together the three of them begin to uncover the garden's secrets. In 1919, nineteen-year-old Eleanor Sanderson, daughter of Goswell's vicar, is grieving the loss of her beloved brother Walter, who was killed just days before the Armistice was signed. Eleanor retreats into herself and her father starts to notice how unhappy she is. As spring arrives, he decides to hire someone to make a garden for Eleanor, and draw her out of - or at least distract her from - her grief and sorrow. Jack Taylor is in his early twenties, a Yorkshire man who has been doing odd jobs in the village, and when Eleanor's father hires him to work on the vicarage gardens, a surprising - and unsuitable - friendship unfolds.

My Review

An evocative dual timeframe novel set in the Lake District. In the present day Marin Ellis becomes guardian to her half sister, Rebecca, when their father and his wife are killed in a car crash. They leave Hampshire to set up home in Cumbria as a fresh start. In 1919 the vicar's daughter, Eleanor Sanderson, is heartbroken over the death of her brother during the Great War. The restoration of a walled garden is the link which connects the two stories together.

This is a gentle tale about grief, secrets, forgiveness and hope. It is well written and depicts life just after World War I effectively. I equally enjoyed both narratives. The characters are believable and realistically painted - the sorrow and misery of losing a loved one is deftly and sensitively explored and observed. It did bring back memories of reading Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden, a childhood favourite of mine!

I thoroughly enjoyed The Lost Garden and found it a touching, engaging and delightful read. It is my first foray into Katharine Swartz' work and it won't be my last.

Many thanks to Lovereading.co.uk for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

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Posts: 5626
Joined: August 2008
Currently reading: "In the woods" by Tana French & The Winter Crown by Elizabeth Chadwick
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Post by Madeleine » Tue April 28th, 2015, 10:03 am

Sounds good, Vanessa, nice review. Onto the wishlist it goes!
Currently reading "In the Woods" by Tana French & "The Winter Crown" by Elizabeth Chadwick

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