The Lost Garden
About This Book
Present and past residents of a countryside English vicarage search for love
Marin Ellis is in search of a new start after her father and his second wife die in a car accident leaving her the guardian of her fifteen-year-old half-sister, Rebecca. They choose the picturesque village of Goswell on the Cumbrian coast and settle into Bower House, the former vicarage, 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.
Deftly weaving the dual narratives, Katharine Swartz explores themes of loyalty and love through her memorable characters and strong sense of place.
This dual-time-period narrative started off a bit too slow for my taste, with several long passages of flashbacks, but eventually picked up quite nicely and really engaged me emotionally. Then the abrupt wrap-it-all-up-in-a-telling-narrative ending left a sour taste in my mouth at the end. A sound, if not exactly stellar, read. Recommended for fans of Susan Meissner and Rachel Hauck’s The Wedding Dress.
Available May 12, 2015 from Lion Fiction