A story to pack for your holidays. 3/5 stars.
Thank you to Random House UK and NetGalley for providing me with an e-copy of this book.
The blurb: Lorna is a talented gardener and Philly is a plantswoman. Together they work in the grounds of a beautiful manor house in the Cotswolds. They enjoy their jobs and are surrounded by family and friends. But for them both the door to true love remains resolutely closed.
So when Lorna is introduced to Jack at a dinner party and Lucien catches Philly’s eye at the local farmers market, it seems that dreams really can come true and happy endings lie just around the corner. But do they? Troublesome parents, the unexpected arrival of someone from Lorna’s past, and the discovery of an old and secret garden mean their lives are about to become a lot more complicated…
It’s been quite a while since I read anything by Katie Fforde, so I jumped at the chance to request an ARC of her latest book from NetGalley.
A Secret Garden is a pleasant, predictable, light romance. It made me laugh out loud twice, and that’s impressive as most books just earn the occasional smile or snort.
If you’re a keen gardener who enjoys romantic fiction, this would be perfect for you. The two main female characters – Philly and Lorna – are both green fingered, and their chosen profession is a crucial part of their character. The secret garden of the title is one of the highlights of the book, so it’s a shame it doesn’t make an appearance until three quarters of the way through.
I have enjoyed other books by Fforde more, probably because I felt a greater connection to the characters. Also, if this was YA, I’d be bringing up the dreaded spectre of “insta-love”: the main couples seem to be in love within minutes of meeting each other, so I didn’t really ever believe in any of the obstacles to their relationships or invest in the drama.
Overall: A Secret Garden would be a great holiday read for romantic fiction fans; something to leaf through while sitting in a sunny spot, enjoying some peace and quiet.
Claire Huston / Art and Soul