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The Lost Garden ~ Review

The Lost Garden
Tales from Goswell
By Katharine Swartz

The Lost Garden is a lovely story set in two very different time periods - the first nearly a century ago 1918 / 1919 and the second in the present day.  Both stories are set in Goswell on the Cumbrian coast of England.  In both stories the main characters have suffered a loss - one that has forever altered their lives.

This is Marin's story and Eleanor's story as well.  How they deal with their losses is the focus of this story and central throughout is the vicarage garden.  

Throughout one can empathize with Marin and Rebecca as they start over and get to know one another.  And one can feel the pain that Eleanor and Katherine are experiencing as the world that they have known has collapsed after years of war. 

This is a beautifully written story that alternates every other chapter between Marin and they navigate the various challenges of life and discover what love truly means.  The Lost Garden is a beautiful lesson in life when confronted with unexpected loss.  The garden helps those who need it to find a meaning and purpose when life is at a low point.

I highly recommend this story, though you may what to have a box of tissue nearby while reading. This story also builds in a touch of suspense as we are shown a scene from Eleanor's life at the beginning of the book and then we are lead up to this rather dramatic moment throughout the remainder of the story.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher through the Kregel Reviewer program in exchange for my honest review.

About the book:

Present and past residents of a countryside English vicarage search for love...
Marin Ellis is in search of a new start after her father and his second wife die in a car accident leaving her the guardian of her fifteen-year-old half-sister, Rebecca. They choose the picturesque village of Goswell on the Cumbrian coast and settle into Bower House, the former vicarage, on the edge of the church property. When a door to a walled garden captures Rebecca’s interest, Marin becomes determined to open it and discover what is hidden beneath the bramble inside. She enlists the help of local gardener Joss Fowler, and together the three of them begin to uncover the garden’s secrets.

In 1919, nineteen-year-old Eleanor Sanderson, daughter of Goswell’s vicar, is grieving the loss of her beloved brother Walter, who was killed just days before the Armistice was signed. Eleanor retreats into herself and her father starts to notice how unhappy she is. As spring arrives, he decides to hire someone to make a garden for Eleanor, and draw her out of—or at least distract her from—her grief and sorrow. Jack Taylor is in his early twenties, a Yorkshire man who has been doing odd jobs in the village, and when Eleanor’s father hires him to work on the vicarage gardens, a surprising—and unsuitable—friendship unfolds.

Deftly weaving the dual narratives, Katharine Swartz explores themes of loyalty and love through her memorable characters and strong sense of place.