The French Gardener: Book Review

Perhaps every marriage, every family, needs a French gardener…

Miranda and David move out of London into a beautiful country house with a magical garden. But Miranda insists on tottering across the wet lawn in kitten heels, David is never there, and the children won’t tear themselves away from the telly.

Then an enigmatic Frenchman arrives. With the wisdom of nature he slowly begins to heal the past and the present. But who is he? His secret lies in the deepest recesses of the garden, for a garden, like love itself, can restore the human spirit not just season after season, but generation after generation.

Santa Montefiore’s latest novel marks a new departure for this gifted writer. It celebrates the seductive beauty of the English countryside and the restorative powers of nature. Best of all, it offers the reader an epic love story at the heart of a novel of family life and the conflict between duty and desire.

Synopsis on Santa Montefiore’s website

How many books have you read that you couldn’t put down? For me, this one is high on my list. Santa Montefiore has wielded a story with what seems to be words of magic. The dual time perspectives, the two strong women and their stories, the scenery, and the mystery all keeps the readers glued to the pages. 

I absolutely loved Miranda’s character and her story. She was such a sweet character and deserved so much more than her stinking husband! The absolute audacity of her husband to leave this beautiful woman, tucked away in the countryside, out of the way. Although, alternatively, one could say the same about Ava and her french gardener. The difference was, Ava loved both her husband and her French Gardener. Miranda’s husband seems indifferent to the wife and children he has tucked away in the hills of the English Countryside. 

The mystery of the French Gardener character makes the story so incredibly intriguing. I love how Montefiore creates the link between the dual perspectives with this character. He is an enigma in Miranda’s timeline, but an object of dislike and then desire in Ava’s timeline, which makes the story even more alluring. Thus, the character helped glue me to the pages even more. 

I loved the relationship the French Gardener had with Miranda’s children. I loved the relationship Miranda had with some of the village locals. It was all so well written!

I would like to raise a glass to Santa Montefiore for writing such a beautiful story. She has clearly woven the love she has for the English countryside into this story. And, I absolutely love it. The magic of the countryside makes the story even more stunning and more alluring. At times the story was heart wrenching. Then the next chapter I was smiling with pure joy. My favourite part of the books was the relationship between the French Gardener and the two women. The relationships between the women and the french gardener are both different in the ways they are loving. My other favourite part was the ending when dear Peach was revealed! I was surprised by this, but so totally excited, but also pleased that she was there after learning of Ava’s fate. It was hard to believe what happened to Ava, but Montefiore wrote this part of the book beautifully. One can’t go through life thinking everything will go well, and life doesn’t always work out perfectly. 

I was reading a list of things to include in a book review, and the list says to include things I didn’t like about the book. Well, I have to be honest, there isn’t anything I disliked! I loved the book from the front cover to the end cover. Some of the outcomes for characters at the end of the novel were a bit frustrating, like Ava’s fate at the end of the novel but that has a wholesome ending with the lovely Peach. Then, Miranda’s husband comes back to her after being quite frightful to his lovely wife – but then there is a beautiful family glued back together again.  

Something I loved in the book was how I was kept intrigued throughout the book. I never knew what was coming next. The ending was perfect, perfectly rounded up. In some ways, it was sad, but however, it was satisfying. If you love a wholesome summer reading with intrigue, mystery and lots of love, then this book is for you. I find that some summer reads are often a bit dull, but this is far from that! 

I have to say, this story really cuts the mustard!

[Images: Simon & Schuster; Pixabay]

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