This review is The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell. One of my favorite ways to rest is by curling up with a good book. Like movies and music, all genres appeal to me, and I give all books a chance to be ‘heard’!
The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell
Lisa Jewell has a knack for writing mysteries and she delivered another great one with The Girls in the Garden.
Clare and her two girls, Grace and Pip, have recently moved into a home which is part of the communal living of Virginia Park. They are uncertain how to feel about the open way of living but the beautiful Rose and Secret Gardens and spacious park are enticing and appealing to the three of them. Serenity and peace are exactly what they need after the girls’ father’s recent mental breakdown.
Pip still loves her father even though he burned their house to the ground because of his last psychotic episode, but Grace is scared and uncertain about how to move forward. Clare is still trying to make sense of it all and wants whatever is best for her children to heal. She believes the closeness of the park will provide them with what they need.
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The family soon meets the Howes family and is put off by their way of living – homeschooling, openness to live the way they want to live, and letting their daughters, Catkin, Fern and Willow, have free roam of the park. Whatever their differences in living, the girls soon become friends and spend as much time at the Howes’ home as they do their own.
Life seems to be going on fine for Clare and her girls. The girls seem happy and healthy even though Pip is convinced her dad will be coming home soon much to Clare’s dismay. What the girls don’t know, what Clare keeps hidden from them, is that their dad has been released from the hospital. Scared of another breakdown, Clare refuses to see her husband and will not allow him to live with them.
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Then one night after a community celebration, Pip finds her older sister Grace lying under a bush in the Rose Garden. She is covered in blood and her clothes have been mangled in such a way as to suggest sexual assault. Reeling, Pip races to find her mother who is passed out from too much wine in her bed.
As the events of that night begin to unravel, all the neighbors start to question each other. Suspicions arise as to why the three girls’ father, Leo Howes, was the last one to be seen with Grace. Tyler, Grace’s boyfriend’s jealous best friend, is also suspected of foul play. But then there’s Rhea, the older woman who lives on the top floor and has a spacious view of the entire park. What did she see? What connection does she know between Grace and another girl who died in the same exact area decades earlier?
I was really drawn into this story of communal living and the mysteries of the Rose Garden. Lisa Jewell has a way of laying an intricate plot with intriguing characters and an unknown ending. Like her novel, The Family Upstairs, I was kept guessing as to who was involved and how the story would end. But unlike the other novel, the ending to The Girls in the Garden fell flat. No matter the ending, the read itself was well-worth the time.
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Book Ratings and Reviews
Each book I review is based on my opinion. This does not mean you will agree with the review or love/like/dislike the book, too. There’s a quote that says, “No two persons ever read the same book” by Edmund Wilson, and it’s quite true!
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