Books

The French Gardener – Santa Montefiore

Miranda is very much a city girl, but when with her husband David she moves to the country in attempt to be able to temper their son’s Gus behaviour from school. She finds that maybe the city is not what she originally thought it was and neither is her husband.

Hartington House is where Miranda creates the perfect home for her children, the wild and angry young boy Gus who is looking for a father figure to look up to and his sister Storm who can’t seem to have any friends because of her violent brother. She has created the perfect home for David but he has not fully embraced country life and spends all his week in London and has no wish to interact with anyone when he returns at weekends. Miranda and the children are simply outsiders.

The house is perfect but the garden is not. It was once a garden that everyone in the village envied. The previous occupants of the house were a family who loved life and their garden even more. Miranda thinks that perhaps her family will be complete once the garden is as she learns more about who lived in the house before her. However being a city girl, Miranda needs help but the help she gets come from a stranger.

From a Frenchman who happens to be passing.

This Frenchman seems to have a vision that no one but the past owners have.

What is his story?

The book has a dual story which obviously all interlinks, the house and its garden is the pull in both storylines. How exactly does the Frenchman fit into the past and the present? Whatever he does, he breathes life into the garden and also Miranda and her family.

However it is not just getting the garden perfect that is going to help Miranda finally settle into this new home and life.

This is a typical Santa Montefiore novel, which should not as sound perhaps as scathing as it does. What skill she has as an author is the atmosphere she brings to wherever she is writing about, whether it be in France, Italy, South America or in this case Dorset. You feel the garden growing as you see how Miranda and those before her have nurtured it through love and care and how this simple act has actually given some purpose and meaning to life. For those that have gardens you can see and appreciate the beauty and for those that don’t it is something to behold and aspire to.

An ideal read to brighten up any day whether it be winter or summer.

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