Imagine that you live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses. You’ve known your neighbors for years and you trust them. Implicitly. You think your children are safe. But are they really?
On a midsummer night, as a festive neighborhood party is taking place, preteen Pip discovers her thirteen-year-old sister Grace lying unconscious and bloody in a hidden corner of a lush rose garden. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?
I had the pleasure of reading The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell several months ago but haven’t had the time to write a review until now. While not the best novel I’ve ever read, Jewell’s book was thoroughly entertaining, if a bit of a slow read. However, where she lacked in pacing, she made up for in character depth.
The characters were honest, authentic, and entirely compelling. This is a character-driven story; odd, eccentric, and a little strange, the characters will leave you in the dark until the very end. I’ll admit I had a difficult time deciphering who was trustworthy and who was not. It starts out in a central London community backed up to a private park. Children roam from home to home at all hours of the day and night, and the adults are involved in everyone else’s business. At first, it’s picturesque and charming.
As the story progresses, the cracks begin to show. The park no longer seems idyllic but cold and slightly sinister. Years of lies and jealously begin to bubble to the surface until it culminates into a night ending with Grace’s unconscious and bloody body in the rosebushes.
This was the first novel by Lisa Jewell I’ve had the pleasure of reading. I’ve heard good things about her books for years – so when I received The Girls in the Garden, I was excited. I love whodunnit mysteries and thrillers and Jewell’s novel did not disappoint, up until the ending. There was a piece of me that was left wanting more; more definitive answers and perhaps a little justice. Regardless, I enjoyed this novel and still recommend it.