Saturday, August 15, 2015

499 (2015 #56). The Lost Garden

by Katherine Swartz

I was concerned this book, which was sent to me to review, would be out of my comfort zone because its publisher primarily does Christian fiction, which I don't care for.

Thankfully, this book does not fall into that genre, and I found I enjoyed the dual story lines, one set in the past (post World War I England), and one in the same location but more present-day.  The tie between them is the garden of the title, created by 19-year-old Eleanor Sanderson in the past, and found and restored by 37-year-old Marin Ellis (a transplant from Boston) in the present day.

The setting is the fictional village of Goswell on the Cumbrian coast of England, which author Katherine Swartz (who writes romance as Kate Hewitt) says "bears a not-so-startling resemblance to St Bees," where she used to live.

I enjoyed the descriptions of the village and surrounding countryside, and other places in England, such as the reference (on page 186) to the Cumberland Hotel at Marble Arch in London in 1919--my mother stayed there in 1953.

There's a bit of romance in each book, as Marin and Eleanor each become involved with a gardener.  The theme that ties the story lines together is dealing with loss.  Eleanor's brother died in the war, and Marin's father in a recent car crash.

I'd be interested in reading the first book in this "Tales from Goswell" series, The Vicar's Wife.  Characters from that book appear in this one, and seem to be based on the author's own experience of moving from New York City to St Bees - as a vicar's wife.

© Amanda Pape - 2015

[I received this book from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.  It will be donated to the Hood County Library.]

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