Sunday, January 11, 2015


What I loved about THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN felt like too much of a good thing is this novel—a little too gothic or too Maeve Binchy or too many plot points that hinge on coincidences.  Edie is a young woman who, together with a friend, runs a small publishing company.  In 1992 she discovers that her mother Meredith, as a 12-year-old, was evacuated during the London blitzkrieg to a castle in Kent, owned by Raymond Blythe, who wrote a renowned scary children’s book.  The other inhabitants of the castle are three unmarried adult sisters—Persephone (Percy), Seraphina (Saffy), and Juniper.  Percy is overbearing; Saffy is maternal, and Juniper shows promise to follow in her father’s footsteps as a writer, but she is a little unstable.  The narrative jumps around between 1992 and the WWII years, with several mysteries developing and being revealed to Edie along the way.  However, even Edie never finds out what really happened to Juniper’s fiancĂ© Tom, missing ever since the night he was supposed to join the sisters for dinner to announce his and Juniper’s engagement.  The narration, however, is partly Edie’s and partly omniscient, so that we readers are not left in the dark about any of the family secrets, including the cruel terms of Raymond’s will.  The author hints around at other intrigues, such as why Percy is so resentful of the housekeeper’s marriage and why Juniper becomes totally unhinged about Tom’s failure to show up and what sort of relationship Meredith had with Tom.  Edie mostly wants to know what inspired Raymond’s scary children’s story, and I had exactly zero interest in finding out about that.  No stones were left unturned, as the author wraps everything up neatly.

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