Eden’s Garden

If you plan on taking a holiday in Cornwall or Wales in the near future I can think of no better accompaniment than Eden’s Garden. If not, don’t hesitate to immerse yourself in this delightful, intriguing tale which unravels family secrets while celebrating women returning to the creative work they were born to do – and I refer not just to the female characters in the novel but to the author Juliet Greenwood who fulfilled a lifetime dream in writing this, her second novel, leaving the bright lights of London behind to immerse herself in gardening and writing projects in a country cottage nestled between the Isle of Angelsey and Snowdonia, Wales.

Eden’s Garden follows Carys in the present day back to her childhood village to attend her mother who is convalescing from a broken hip; she has little choice being the unmarried sister though the unplanned return stirs some long dormant memory in her, pulling her back towards the estate of Plas Eden, it’s garden, the mysterious statues, the old farm house and David Meredith, the young man she left for a career many years before.

The two become involved in researching a possible family link that takes them south to Cornwall and another garden leads them on a shocking search through a piece of Victorian history that will leave you grateful to be living in the 21st century (especially if you are a woman).

Ann we meet in 1898 on a bridge overlooking the Thames at a low point in her life, seeking refuge at a Charity Hospital. Greenwood keeps the mystery of this intriguing character alive all through the book, we know there is a connection but she leaves few clues to allow forward predictions, cleverly increasing the tension and desire to know both her past and her future.

Within the first few pages, we are drawn into Carys’ experience as if it were our own, that not so comfortable feeling of returning to a childhood environment as an adult, without the husband and/or children that society expects, and on the verge of heartbreak. However, the suspense of a family secret soon replaces the discomfort of village gossip and Greenwood keeps up the pace and intrigue all the way through.

Driving through Wales

For me this was not only a wonderful and engaging read, but one that brought back fond memories of driving through the Welsh countryside and witnessing many of the memorable landmarks of Cornwall.

‘The Importance of Being Ernest’ at the open air Minack Theatre, Cornwall
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41 thoughts on “Eden’s Garden

  1. Thank you for those wonderful comments Claire!

    I love everything you say about Eden’s Garden. That’s just how I hoped it would be read. Doing the research for Ann’s story made me grateful, too, that I live now, and thankful to all those women who fought for freedom and respect as individuals.

    Eden’s Garden took a long time getting there, with disappointment and heartache along the way. But I’m glad it took that time. I ended up with a much better book and as a much better writer from all those learning experiences, even though they were hard at the time and did make me wonder why I was putting myself through all this! Plus I know the lessons I learnt will be ones that will carry me forward from now on.

    So never, ever give up. Women still have to fight to be taken seriously as creative beings. Hold the flag high!

    And that was spooky – I hadn’t been on twitter for a while and I was there just as you pressed the button for this post. I’m glad I was. Off to face the day job with a song in my heart.

    🙂

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    • Thank you so much for commenting here Juliet, I hope many people read your book and I can imagine how interesting it was to research that historical era. You are an inspiration to many of us, showing that perseverance pays off and although suffering may be part of the journey, it is worth it. Hearing what you say is motivating and I am sure many people will feel the same, you are a wonderful example of why we should never give up.

      All the best with your next story and that wonderful garden.

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  2. I have to write this one down… it sounds intriguing, and I even love the cover. I so miss browsing bookstores, sigh… oh to get working again!

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  3. I recognize that book and even if I hadn’t I would want to read it after your compelling review. I decided to re-read Jane Eyre last nights, so Eden has to wait. I just read The Erye Affair, which made me want to read Jane’s story again

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  4. Lovely review – I’ve added it to my list. I adore all of your reviews. You write them so well, but the stack of unread, “that sounds great” books is getting higher and higher. Oh, there’s just not enough time. I wish I could just ensconse myself in a comfy wi-fi free cave somewhere for a while to just read.

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    • Thank you Amy, sorry about adding to the pile, its the one downside of reviewing, feeling guilty of burdening people with all the books we don’t have time to read! Still there is always that one that just must be read and I am grateful to the SheWrites community for even knowing about Juliet’s book.

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  5. This sounds wonderful, and that is published by Honno is a recommendation in itself. I shall definitely look out for a copy.

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  6. The backstory of the book is really as fascinating as the novel itself. And who wouldn’t appreciate the writer herself her thoughts to the mix of comments

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  13. Sounds like a good read – I’m a big fan of historical novels especially if they a rooted in place. I’m more familiar with Devon & Dorset than Cornwall, so a good novel would be a good way to visit. Good post, and glad to have found your website:-)

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    • Juliet Greenwood’s novel really evoke place well, her next novel We That Are Left is also excellent, set during WWI and focusing on the role of the women left behind, roles that changed them forever, no turning back after their experiences. I felt like I was right there in the village. Check out my review here to read about We That Are Left.

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