Posted in Books I have read

The Lost Garden – Katharine Swartz

Historical Fiction 4*'s
Historical Fiction
4*’s

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.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (May 6)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

I am currently reading The Lost Garden by Katharine Swartz

The Lost Garden

Blurb

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 village 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. NetGalley

I have just finished the book I read as a tribute to the death of the wonderful Ruth Rendell; The Face of Trespass which was first published in 1974.

The Face of Trespass
Blurb

Two years ago he had been a promising young novelist. Now he survived – you could hardly call it living – in a near derelict cottage with only an unhooked telephone and his own obsessive thoughts for company. Two years of loving Drusilla – the bored, rich, unstable girl with everything she needed, and a husband she wanted dead. The affair was over. But the long slide into deception and violence had just begun. Goodreads

Next I plan to read The Candidate by Daniel Pembry, a thriller set in Luxembourg.

The Candidate

Blurb

WHEN HEADHUNTER BECOMES THE HUNTED: Nick Thorneycroft is a British headhunter working in Luxembourg. His company asks him to recruit a high-flying executive for the company’s Russian business. The best candidate turns out to be smart, beautiful… and mysterious. Soon the effects of Russia’s political upheaval, and the arrival of an ex-girlfriend who won’t leave him alone, make Nick’s Luxembourg life increasingly perilous; worlds collide in this gripping, atmospheric tale. Goodreads

What have you found to read this week? Please share in the comments box below.

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking The Shelves (April 4)

Stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared!

From NetGalley I have a copy of The Lost Garden by Katharine Swartz which will be published by Lion PLC on 15 May 2015.

The Lost Garden

Blurb

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 village 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. NetGalley

The Bones of You by Debbie Howells is billed as a dark psychological thriller, so it begged to be chosen!

The Bones of You

Blurb

I have a gardener’s inherent belief in the natural order of things. Soft‑petalled flowers that go to seed. The resolute passage of the seasons. Swallows that fly thousands of miles to follow the eternal summer.
Children who don’t die before their parents.

When Kate receives a phone call with news that Rosie Anderson is missing, she’s stunned and disturbed. Rosie is eighteen, the same age as Kate’s daughter, and a beautiful, quiet, and kind young woman. Though the locals are optimistic—girls like Rosie don’t get into real trouble—Kate’s sense of foreboding is confirmed when Rosie is found fatally beaten and stabbed.
Who would kill the perfect daughter, from the perfect family? Yet the more Kate entwines herself with the Andersons—graceful mother Jo, renowned journalist father Neal, watchful younger sister Delphine—the more she is convinced that not everything is as it seems. Anonymous notes arrive, urging Kate to unravel the tangled threads of Rosie’s life and death, though she has no idea where they will lead.
Weaving flashbacks from Rosie’s perspective into a tautly plotted narrative, The Bones of You is a gripping, haunting novel of sacrifices and lies, desperation and love.

Eric Rickstad kindly sent me a copy of his book, The Silent Girls, a book that was published in November 2014.

The Silent Girls

Blurb

With the dead of a bitter Vermont winter closing in, evil is alive and well . . .
Frank Rath thought he was done with murder when he turned in his detective’s badge to become a private investigator and raise a daughter alone. Then the police in his remote rural community of Canaan find an ’89 Monte Carlo abandoned by the side of the road, and the beautiful teenage girl who owned the car seems to have disappeared without a trace.
Soon Rath’s investigation brings him face-to-face with the darkest abominations of the human soul.
With the consequences of his violent and painful past plaguing him, and young women with secrets vanishing one by one, he discovers once again that even in the smallest towns on the map, evil lurks everywhere—and no one is safe.
Morally complex, seething with wickedness and mystery, and rich in gritty atmosphere and electrifying plot turns, The Silent Girls marks the return of critically acclaimed author Eric Rickstad. Readers of Ian Rankin, Jo Nesbø, and Greg Iles will love this book and find themselves breathless at the incendiary, ambitious, and unforgettable story. Amazon

And after hearing wonderful things about The Big Picture by Douglas Kennedy I couldn’t resist and purchased a copy.

The Big Picture

Blurb

On the face of it, Ben Bradford is your standard Wall Street hot shot – Junior partner in a legal firm, 6 figure income, wife and two young kids straight out of a Gap catalogue. But along with the WASP lifestyle comes the sting – Ben hates it. He wants – has always wanted – to be a photographer. When he discovers his wife is playing outside the ground, the consequences of a moment of madness force him to question not just the design of his life but the price of fulfilment. Because finding yourself means nothing when you’re pretending to be someone else. From the picket fences of yuppie New England to Montana’s untouchable splendour, THE BIG PICTURE spans states and states of mind in a thrilling novel of genuine originality. Amazon

… and after reading a wonderful review of The Day She Died by Catriona McPheason by Crimeworm who has a great selection of crime fiction on her blog and is well worth checking out, I couldn’t resist purchasing this one.

The Day She Died

Blurb

That was the day I met Gus, the day I grew a family as if from magic beans, the day she died. That’s the point, see? It was the very same day…
Jessie Constable has learned the hard way to always keep herself safe. But meeting Gus King changes everything. Before she knows it, Jessie is sleeping at Gus’s house, babysitting his kids, becoming a part of his family. And yet, she can’t ignore the unsettling questions. Who does she keep seeing from the corner of her eye? Why are strange men threatening her? Most importantly, what really happened to Gus’s wife?
Creating a brilliant, foreboding mystery where nothing is as it seems, master storyteller Catriona McPherson weaves an ominous tale that will keep you guessing until the very end. Goodreads

Any of these take your fancy? What have you found to read this week? Please do share in the comments below