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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Lost Garden by Katharine Swartz

Marin is 37 years old and lives in a flat in Boston. She only does take away and ramen noodles. Overnight she becomes the guardian of a fifteen year old. Someone whom she has seen just a few times and someone with whom she does not have any kind of relationship. Rebecca is the daughter of Marin's father and his second wife and the feelings between the two groups have been tense, strained
and distant. Marin feels that with the death of her mother at the age of eight, her father abandoned her to strangers and that with his second marriage the few bonds that were there, were ultimately severed.

With their sudden death in a car accident, Marin becomes Rebecca's reluctant guardian and the feelings are mutual on both sides. Rebecca wants to move away from her familiar surroundings and on a whim whilst passing a Cumbrian house, Marin and Rebecca decide to buy a house in the Cumbrian village of Goswell.

Totally different to what both women were familiar with, both have to get to grips not just a different
environment but with each other. At the same time, the house itself seems to have secrets of its own. A hidden door in the garden leads to a walled garden, overgrown full of thorny trees and brambles but Marin feels that there is some history and story behind this garden.

Told in two time lines, 1919 going on to WWI and the occupants of the house and to the present two, the story unfolds two family sagas, both fraught with sadness, loss and eventual hope. The earlier story encompasses the occupants of the vicarage - the onset of the war brought about loss of the most difficult kind - the loss of their son almost at the end of the war, it also brought love to the youngest daughter, but love which caused disruptions in the family due to her falling in love with someone unsuitable.

The two stories are both emotional, very descriptive and the book was an enormously satisfying read.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley via Lion Fiction. 


  1. I like stories told in time splits. Sounds very good.

  2. I like time splits too, if done right

  3. A WWI story! Sounds like a good one!

  4. Oh this sounds like a fantastic read. Must look out for it. I love the cover of the book, gorgeous.

  5. Families are complicated these days. This sounds like a great family story!

  6. I'm always intrigued by dual narratives, especially if one of them is set in the 1940s! Thanks for bringing this one to my attention!

  7. I'll have to keep an eye out for this one. Sounds like it's right up my alley!