Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Review: A Secret Garden by Katie Fforde

A Secret Garden is a delightful story about three very different women and the garden they are restoring.

Lorna is the gardener at Burthen House and has had a crush on the owner Peter, her childhood friend, since forever. He, meanwhile, has been enthusiastically dating women he's met on the Internet but has recently become serious about Kirstie, a very managing type. Lorna realises it is finally time to move on - and then meets Jack. Jack is handsome, very fit, somewhat younger than her - and is convinced he knows her from somewhere else ...

Philly lives with her grandfather, known as 'Grand', in a 'tumbledown money pit' that they bought mainly for the attached smallholding - where Philly can grow her plants and sell them on her market stall. Since Grand was widowed, he's become addicted to TV shows like Bake Off and discovered a hidden talent for baking the most delicious cakes, which he now sells on Philly's stall. While waitressing at a party, Philly meets Lucien, a chef who would rather be an artisan baker. He thinks she's great but his family are very 'posh' and Philly's ... aren't.

I loved all the talk about gardens and gardening. My parents used to grow plants in the same way as Philly does, so it brought back a lot of memories! And I always love reading books with big old houses in them. I think my favourite scenes were where Philly and Lucien visit his godfather and meet his old nanny - or 'Evil Mary Poppins', as Philly calls her - and the bit when Lucien's parents turn up unexpectedly! I loved all the characters but I think my favourites were Grand and Lady Anthea - whose 'secret' garden is the one being restored.

A Secret Garden is a romance but it is as much about the lovely friendship between Philly, Lorna and Anthea as it is their romantic relationships. There are no sex scenes and very little kissing, but it was lovely to see Lorna and Philly's developing romances with Jack and Lucien, and root for them to have their own happy ever after.

Thank you to Katie Fforde, Century and NetGalley for my copy of this book, which I received in exchange for an honest review.

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