If you like a good dual time-line novel then this is probably for you and as a bonus both the past and the present tales are equally interesting.
Marin took her younger half-sister Rebecca on a trip to give them a break from their normal routine. Rebecca’s parents, and Marin’s father, had died in a car-crash three months previously and Marin had found herself in charge of the bewildered fifteen year old so a tip away was just what they both needed. When they came across the Bower House in Goswell an impulsive decision saw them uprooting and moving to the village.
In 1919 Eleanor Sanderson is also grieving, for her brother Walter who died just before Armistice Day. Eleanor has her family about her but as the realities of the war being over become apparent she had to stop wallowing in what she had lost and find an interest.
Both stories, unsurprisingly given the title are linked by a garden. In the past Eleanor has the Vicarage gardener to help her transform the gated garden into something beautiful and magical. In the present Marin borrows a strimmer to cut back the brambles that have overtaken the space. As she gets to know the other villagers Marin decides to explore the history of her garden and with a tantalising photograph begins to uncover the past.
Although the two women’s tales are linked by grief, they both explore how to overcome it and in turn embrace life and learn to forgive those that have wronged them. The secondary characters are equally as interesting, particularly Eleanor’s spiky elder sister Katherine who has hidden depths. Katherine is the one to suspect that Eleanor’s interest in the garden has as much to do with the gardener Jack Taylor, as the seed catalogues she pours over. Even as society is changing in the post war years a relationship between the vicar’s daughter and a common gardener is not going to be well-received but is Eleanor mature enough to proceed with caution? Of course not! Where’s the fun or story in that. Marin also begins a tentative relationship, something that is relatively new to her too.
This was a gentle story which was bound to appeal to this reader with the echo of The Secret Garden where nature lends a helping hand to soothe the emotions. The past section was well-researched with the details included natural to the storyline. An all-round enjoyable escape with a few lump-in-the-throat moments which I consider essential for this type of story.
I’d like to thank the publisher Lion Fiction for allowing me to read a copy of this book for review purposes. The Lost Garden will be published on 15 May 2015.