#BookReview #20booksofsummer The Garden Of Lost and Found by Harriet Evans

Back on track with my 20 Books of Summer List! And Book 5 has now been read and reviewed!!  Can I keep this pace up?! Of course not, but I’m enjoying being so productive while I can!!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Nightingale House, 1919. Liddy Horner discovers her husband, the world-famous artist Sir Edward Horner, burning his best-known painting The Garden of Lost and Found days before his sudden death.

Nightingale House was the Horner family’s beloved home – a gem of design created to inspire happiness – and it was here Ned painted ‘The Garden of Lost and Found’, capturing his children on a perfect day, playing in the rambling Eden he and Liddy made for them.

One magical moment. Before it all came tumbling down…

When Ned and Liddy’s great-granddaughter Juliet is sent the key to Nightingale House, she opens the door onto a forgotten world. The house holds its mysteries close but she is in search of answers. For who would choose to destroy what they love most? Whether Ned’s masterpiece – or, in Juliet’s case, her own children’s happiness.

Something shattered this corner of paradise. But what?

Published by Headline Review

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon   £11.81

hive.co.uk  £12.99

whsmith  £11.89

Bert’s Books  £16.99 – sigend edition

MY REVIEW

A dramatic opening starts this book off with a bang and I was just totally captivated from the first page to the last with the events set over a dual timeline, relating to the painting of The Garden of Lost and Found, alongside the family history and drama of Nightingale House. The author has a wonderful way of capturing the day to day lives of people in various periods in history, mixed with the added mystery of secrets hidden behind closed doors that just makes you want to read more!!

Set in 1893 and 2014 this story follows the story of 2 families an their not so happy lives! In the 2014 timeline we follow Juliet who is married with children, but her husband seems to have form of playing away from home and she finally reaches breaking point and a legacy from the past leaves her with a way of breaking free from the marriage and starting over – albeit in a crumbling house that had sad memories for her family in the past. Her children aren’t so keen on the move and add to the stress she is under, but she is pretty determined to move on with her life and find the happiness she feels they all deserve.

In 1893 we follow the story of Liddy, who marries Ned (Juliet’s great grandfather), an artist, and find themselves moving to Nightingale House, a home she grew up in and despite the good times they shared together there, their time is soon tinged with sadness and pain. When Ned paints his most famous piece ‘The Garden of Lost and Found’ it should mean an end to all their worries, but just seems to add to the misery and he comes to despise his own work.

Juliet starts to learn more about her own family history when she starts working nearby and the more she uncovers the more devastating the revelations become.

I really loved both timelines in this one – I did find Juliet’s more powerful as she dealt with all that she learned about her past, while dealing with her own family problems – and I raced through the 440+ pages. The characters, the settings, the history, the escapism – perfect combinations for such an enjoyable book!

★★★★★

The Wildflowers by Harriet Evans #BookReview

THE BLURB

The Wildflowers by Harriet Evans is the spellbinding new novel from the Top 5 Sunday Times bestselling author of A Place for Usand The Butterfly Summer. Fans of Kate Morton’s The Lake House or Santa Montefiore will delight in this book. 

Harriet Evans is ‘perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes and Maeve Binchy’ Best

Tony and Althea Wilde. Glamorous, argumentative … adulterous to the core.

They were my parents, actors known by everyone. They gave our lives love and colour in a house by the sea – the house that sheltered my orphaned father when he was a boy.

But the summer Mads arrived changed everything. She too had been abandoned and my father understood why. We Wildflowers took her in.

My father was my hero, he gave us a golden childhood, but the past was always going to catch up with him … it comes for us all, sooner or later.

This is my story. I am Cordelia Wilde. A singer without a voice. A daughter without a father. Let me take you inside.

Publisher – Headline

Publication Date – 5th April 2018

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Purchase Links

 

Amazon UK   

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MY REVIEW

If you are looking for an epic family drama, full of scandal, regrets and dark secrets then you need this book in your life!  The author has created an astonishing family who seem to live an extremely privileged life but when you look behind the facade, it is often no more than a nightmare.

The Wilde family are an acting dynasty.  Tony and Althea are, on paper, a golden couple, with successful careers but, behind closed doors, they are two quite selfish individuals who seem to accept infidelity on both sides as long as it makes the other person happy! Mixed up in this are their two children, Cordelia and Ben, who witness the moods, the long absences, the cheating – no wonder they end up a little messed up too!  The family have a holiday home ‘The Borsky’ that used to have such warm and wonderful memories for them all, but that has been tainted over the years and through this book we get to look back at a number of times in their lives and put together the pieces of just what damage the dark secrets end up causing.

When I first started reading this I was a little concerned that I found I had no sympathy with the parents as they were so wrapped up in themselves, that it made them difficult to empathise with.  But as the different chapters in their lives were revealed, I became more involved with them as you got to understand them, their pasts and how they turned out the way they did!  And that goes for Cordelia and Ben too. 

The character of Madeleine was an extremely fascinating element of the whole story!  She was obsessed with the family and would make notes of their every move whenever the family moved into the neighbourhood for the summer,and Cordelia and Ben were reluctant to befriend this strange little girl from the neigbourhood, but they soon found they got used to her being around and it was a distraction from the drama in their own home, so she became more involved in their lives.

The switching of timelines was a little confusing to begin with, as was the number of characters, but I soon became swept up in all the different threads – there are lots! – that it all just blended in and created an extraordinary drama playing out on the pages.  It often turned quite dark too and this just added to the impact that every secret revealed had on the family members.  

It is a difficult book to sum up properly without revealing too much, but I found it to be totally enthralling and an exquisite look at a very dysfunctional family trying to come to terms with some very disturbing pasts.  Highly recommeded!!

Extremely grateful to the publisher for sending an advanced copy of this my way. 

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