Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Night Garden by Lisa van Allen

This book has a recommendation from Debbie Macomber and was compared to Sarah Addison Allen (whose books, I just realised, I didn't really review here, so I'll have to rectify that). There is no way I can not request this book.

And perhaps, it's because of such high hopes that I was slightly let down. Yes, the book was interesting, and yes, I was absorbed, but it wasn't magical enough. Plus, at points in time, it felt like the writer was just playing with language for language's sake.

The Night Garden is about Olivia, the caretaker of a mysterious garden maze that's supposed to help you solve your problems. She's an enigma in her community, and that's because she hides a secret. Her world is dull, but safe and she is content, until Sam comes back into her life. Sam, who is struggling to live up to his family reputation, was Olivia's childhood love, or at least, he was until she ended things with them. This time, he's back, and he's not about to give up so easily.

Throw into that a meddling woman called Gloria, who really wishes to impose her will on the valley, a pregnant drifter called Mei, and a town that doesn't fully understand Olivia and her family, and you have your story.

For some reason, I never really understood Gloria. I knew her role in the story, but her redemption arc was very weak to me, and quite unconvincing. The same goes for Mei. I can't help but think that so much care went into the two main characters that these two were just left to the side.

And for disclaimer's sake, while this is a really tame romance, there is one fairly explicit scene.

This wasn't a bad book. The prose felt a bit too much at times, and I didn't care for two of its supporting characters, but at its core, it's a book about rediscovering love and second chances. It's just too bad it wasn't magic to me.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

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