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I used to be completely against the ‘trashy romance’ genre because they are usually cliché and very predictable. I held onto this opinion until I read Santa Montefiore. You could put a few of her books into this ‘trashy romance’ genre, however, The French Gardener was a beautiful, heartwarming read from start to finish.
Based in the stunning British countryside at a country house, this novel focuses on the lives of two women whose lives are completely changed when a French Gardener comes to stay. Yes, the same French Gardener. Miranda and her family move into a beautiful country home with a magical garden – except her husband lives in London during the week and is becoming more and more distant. When a French Gardener turns up to help their garden, Miranda investigates his past and learns about the woman who last lived here.
I have to say – this would be one of my favourite books I’ve read this year. It’s a great summer read, easy to read while on holiday or just at home, but it will keep you hooked! I was so excited to read every chapter. There are two different POVS – one of Miranda, and the other of the woman who last lived at the country house. I personally love this style of writing and Santa Montefiore did it well. Sometimes I find writers do different POVs and there is always one that I don’t like, but no in the case of this book. I loved both women, they were both written perfectly and uniquely.
The overall plot of the book was really good, I thought. With the two different POVs, there was always something happening, and it was always intriguing. What Montefiore did well was to intertwine these two POVs, which meant that the mystery of the story was always present. The characters were also really well written – in both POVs. There was no double up of characters – each character was unique. It felt like each character had an entire story and deserved a whole book about themselves. They all felt real as well, which was amazing. The characters weren’t perfect, sometimes they made really annoying decisions – but real people do that don’t they? Sometimes authors don’t develop side characters as much, because they are side characters, but I feel like Montefiore did this really well.
I’ve been told with book reviews that one must always mention something they didn’t like about the book. Personally, I loved it and I have recommended it to my best friend (which I wouldn’t do unless I knew the book was worthwhile). It can be slow at times and it is a bit different from other Santa Montefiore books that I have read. I think if you’re looking for a Nicholas Sparks-esque kind of book, then this isn’t quite the same. Think Jojo Moyes and Danielle Steele. If you’re looking for a well-researched, comfortable read filled with love, friendship, and good vibes, then I recommend this book!
Have you read this book? I would love to know your thoughts!