25 January 2015

The Sea Garden by Deborah Lawrenson, Book review

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (June 24, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062279668
  • Also available in KINDLE format


    Romance, suspense, and World War II mystery are woven together in three artfully linked novellas—rich in drama and steeped in atmosphere—from the critically acclaimed author of The Lantern.
    The Sea Garden
    On the lush Mediterranean island of Porquerolles off the French coast, Ellie Brooke, an award-winning British landscape designer, has been hired to restore a memorial garden. Unsettled by its haunted air and the bitterness of the garden’s owner, an elderly woman who seems intent on undermining her, Ellie finds that her only ally on the island is an elusive war historian. . . .
    The Lavender Field
    Near the end of World War II, Marthe Lincel, a young blind woman newly apprenticed at a perfume factory in Nazi-occupied Provence, finds herself at the center of a Resistance cell. When tragedy strikes, she faces the most difficult choice of her life . . . and discovers a breathtaking courage she never expected.
    A Shadow Life
    Iris Nightingale, a junior British intelligence officer in wartime London, falls for a French agent. But after a secret landing in Provence results in terrible Nazi reprisals, he vanishes. When France is liberated, Iris is determined to uncover the truth. Was he the man he claimed to be?
    Ingeniously interconnected, this spellbinding triptych weaves three parallel narratives into one unique tale of love, mystery, and murder. The Sea Garden is a vivid and absorbing chronicle of love and loss in the fog of war—and a penetrating and perceptive examination of the impulses and circumstances that shape our lives.

    My thoughts:

    I have traveled a lot these last few weeks and had ample opportunities to read during those long lay overs. Unfortunately not all I chose to read gave me much satisfaction therefore it was with some relief I found this title awaiting my return, a definite improvement!

    As a journalist Deborah Lawrenson is no newcomer to the world of writing and in THE SEA GARDEN delivers a pleasant 3 part novellas which as you will find are tied to one of the most beautiful places in this world, Provence. 
    I cannot say I have ever met anyone who has not enjoyed the wonderful array of colours, the unforgettable scenery and the truly unique scents of Provence. Such is my own memory of it that I can hear the cicadas, feel the heat of the sun whilst my palate remembers only too well the rich sharpness of the food. 

    Lawrenson shares her home betwixt Kent and yes, you guess it, Provence and has learned to listen to the locals and their remembrance of times gone by, when men and women pledged to fight for their freedom whatever the cost.
    Resistance was strong in the south of Provence and this story is set against Partisans' activities in The Calanques
    Don't miss the author's notes to learn more about the region's historical background and her many sources, they are excellent.

    From The Sea Garden to The Lavender Field on to A Shadow Life, Lawrenson paints a bittersweet story of love and loss as often lived in wartime, and brings just what these long winter evenings demands, entertainment. 
    I can also tell you that if the first installment seemed stilled, the second engaged my attention and I found the third to be most gratifying.

    Copacetic, well manicured (perhaps a tad too much) I found the three novellas satisfying if not stimulating.

    4 Stars!

    (Porquerolles island - photo source Google)

    Meet the Author:

    Deborah Lawrenson,author

    1. Deborah Lawrenson is a British novelist and journalist. She was educated at Blackheath High School, The British School of Brussels and Eastbourne College, and read English at Trinity College, Cambridge.
    2. For more information visit her website (HERE)

    Note: This was a library loan and any opinion reflected is entirely my own!


    1. All sound good but still find it hard to read a full book as I get older maybe the shorter ones are the way to go.

      1. I do not think I could take on War and Peace these days either Merle, you are not alone there!

    2. Replies
      1. Lots to catch up with Victor and feeling blessed not to be forgotten. Thanks Friend!

    3. I have had this author on my wish list for ages. Never found her books. Thanks for the review.

      1. A first for me as well Mystica and worth keeping on your list!
        All the best,

    4. I really liked this book. I remember being a bit confused during the first part, but when everything just clicked in the end, I thought it was great.

      1. Same here Anna, I mostly enjoyed the special notes!


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