11 May The Forgotten Garden by Sharon Gosling
Not just plants but people grow, in this warm story of hearts broken and healed
Just as it’s time to pull on my work gloves, and get out in the garden, I’m distracted by a new book by one of my new favourite authors – this is Sharon Gosling’s third book, and I’m lucky enough to have read the first two.
Oh well, it’s cold and damp and I’d rather stay in and read anyway!
The Forgotten Garden introduces us to Luisa as she faces a bleak and uncertain future. A young widow, she’s looking for a new home and a new job.
She’s a skilled landscape gardener, but tragedy has caused her to lose faith in her own talent and dreams.
But now she has the chance to work on an ambition she and late husband Reuben long cherished – to build a community garden, from old factory land gifted by Reuben’s godfather, and funded by Reuben’s life insurance. She owes it to her late husband.
The project is beset by problems, not least from untrusting locals. But with the help of local gym teacher and youth community leader, Cal, Luisa gets the garden off the ground.
And as she tends the new shoots in the garden, something blossoms in her own heart. Could it be time for her to let love take root in her heart once more?
Will Luisa’s plans come to fruition?
Luisa’s reluctant helpmate in the garden is Harper, a teenager whose own life is in disarray. With a ne’er-do-well father and a neuro-diverse little brother to protect and support, she struggles to stay out of trouble – in fact she’s only at the garden to serve out her community hours.
But Harper is bright and ambitious, and both Cal and Luisa are determined not to let her talents wither away.
As the three work together, bonds are formed and plans are made – but will any of them come to fruition in the newly discovered garden?
Different and delightul characters
This was a lovely story, that tugged at every heartstring I possess. I cried with Luisa over the loss of her beloved husband, and empathised with her quiet despair as her sister Jo tried to jolly her into a new relationship. I cheered her on as she found her new direction in the urban garden, willing it to be a success.
For though it is important for Luisa to open her heart to love, it is equally as important for her to get her sense of self back.
That’s a strong theme of the book, echoed by Harper’s own struggles to make something of her life in the face of constant setbacks; and even placid Cal’s relationship tribulations.
They are all three very different and delightful characters.
I really liked the plot of this story, too – no pun intended. Creating a garden from scratch must be every gardeners’ dream, and watching the garden grow from a weedy tarmac rubble to a plot rich in fruit, vegetables and flowers was fascinating.
The narrative got the balance just right between the growth of the garden and the growth of the characters, and there were plenty surprises and lots of drama to keep the suspense of the story going right to the end.
A story that starts with despair ends with so much hope. I really enjoyed this one.
The Forgotten Garden is published by Simon & Schuster in paperback, ebook and audio format
About the Author
Sharon started her career as an entertainment journalist, writing non-fiction books about film and television. She is also the author of multiple children’s books. Sharon and her husband live in a small village in northern Cumbria where they run a second-hand bookshop, Withnail Books in Penrith.
Thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me on this blogtour and to publishers Simon & Schuster for the copy of the book.
Catch up with the rest of the blogtour at the links on the poster
More reviews of inspiring romantic books
- The House Beneath The Cliffs by Sharon Gosling
- Only Love Can Hurt Like This by Paige Toon
- The Book Lovers’ Retreat by Heidi Swain
- The Cornish Hideaway by Jennifer Bibby
More reviews of books featuring gardens