Cover Image: The Garden of Promises and Lies

The Garden of Promises and Lies

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Member Reviews

Enjoyed reading. Fun escape into past via the present with twists and turns.  A book to enjoy with a cup of your favorite tea or coffee.  I find the main character Xanthe,  who is a "spinner" time traveler to be a heroine with guts/curiosity and kind heart.  Reading Ms Brackston's descriptions of objects, homes and people creates a inner longing for antiquities, character,  mentally transports the reader ie: "fabrics more delicate, more expensive, pale blues, indigos, silk damask, tapestry upholstery, Mistress's sitting in straight backed chairs, chaise lounges, fireside seats"  The story of time travel, love past and present filled with mystery, evil and hope.  Recommended read.
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So I read the previous two books in the series before reading this one.  I feel that it was necessary to see how Xanthe's powers grow and she learns new things that she can do as a spinner.  The books keep getting better for me.  The cliffhanger ending had me wanting more and I CANNOT wait for the next book.  It left me thinking about it for hours after finishing the book.
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I enjoyed this latest installment of Paula Brackston's Found Things series. Like the two before it, The Garden of Promise and Lies has a witchy feel in the time travel and a bit of thriller vibe in the climax. It's a fun, quick read.

The series as a whole is a great "take" on witchy novels that aren't about spell-casting, potions or other traditional witch lore. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for the fourth book.
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This book promises to be wonderful and suspenseful and delicious, and it delivers. I really enjoyed this and would recommend it to anyone who loves historical suspense. mystery, romance, and just a plain good yarn
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The Garden of Promises and Lies is the third book in the Found Thinks Series by Paula Brackston.  While you could read the book as a stand alone novel, I highly recommend reading the first two books:  The Little Shop of Found Things and Secrets of the Chocolate House.   

If you haven’t read the first two books, I’ll bring you quickly up to speed.  Xanthe lives in Marlborough, a small town, with her mother Flora.  They have a small antique shop. Xanthe finds that objects “sing” to her and allow her to travel back in time to fix some wrong that happened around the object.  This time travel is called “Spinning” and there are others that can spin time too. 

It is one of these others that plays a prominent role in this third book of the series, Benedict Fairfax, whom Xanthe met on a previous time travel, has shown up in her current time.  He wants to steal the Spinners book that Xanthe has and gain more power.  He is dangerous and poses a threat to Xanthe and her mother. 

Xanthe realizes that she can’t do this alone and shares her story with her boyfriend, Liam, who agrees to travel back in time with her. 

Once again, I found the story charming with plenty of twists and turns along the way.  I love that she uses a found antique object to sing to her and send her on her missions.  This time it was a wedding dress. 

I really enjoy this series and I see that she has a fourth in the series coming out in November!
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I was hesitant to continue the Found Things series after reading the first book because, while good, it felt a little too tame and the characters lacked the depth I was expecting.

The Garden of Promises and Lies follows Xanthe once again as she continues to learn more about her gift of being a Spinner. This time, while trying to figure out what her nemesis, Fairfax, is planning, a wedding dress sings to her and transports her back to 1815. In an attempt to get ahead of Fairfax, she considers bringing her boyfriend, Liam, back with her.

I will say that both the second (Secrets of the Chocolate House) and third (The Garden of Promises and Lies) installments were more interesting than the first, and with that ending, I must say I'm very intrigued to read the next installment (City of Time and Magic, per Macmillan's website).

The characters were a little bland, but interesting enough. I felt that Xanthe in particular just tried too hard, and her character often seemed forced. My favorite character, though, would have to be Harley: a macho guy who was a secret softie. Liam wasn't bad either. Fairfax felt too contrived: we were told he was evil and dastardly, but his actions were mild in comparison.

The plot was interesting. I liked watching as Xanthe learned how to control her Spinner gift, though it did often feel a little too easy. I also feel like the stakes weren't high enough when traveling back in time; again, everything felt too easy.

However, for all of my nitpicking, I did really enjoy this series. It was a relatively quick read with mostly interesting characters, some with questionable morals, and a story line that kept me waiting to see what happened next. Now that I am invested, I really want to see what happens after that cliffhanger!

3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.
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Brackston’s third novel in her Found Things series (after Secrets of the Chocolate House) brings protagonist Xanthe closer to her present-day love interest, Liam, as an Edwardian wedding dress calls to her. Time traveler or Spinner Xanthe Westlake lives in present-day Marlborough, England, running an antique shop with her mother when Benedict Fairfax, her “nemesis,” and a fellow Spinner from the seventeenth century, shows up in her own time. When a mysterious fire occurs at the shop and flat where Xanthe and her mother live, she becomes convinced that Fairfax is behind the fire. After Fairfax threatens Xanthe, she becomes more aware of the danger he poses to her and her family.

After discovering an Edwardian wedding dress at an estate sale, Xanthe can’t ignore how the dress “sings” to her. Xanthe enlists Liam's help, who agrees to travel back in time with her and experiences some difficulty posing as Xanthe’s brother as the attraction between Xanthe and Liam continues to build. After Xanthe travels back in time to the Edwardian era, she meets Petronella Wilcox, the original owner of the wedding dress, who has decided to marry a wealthy man to ensure her family estate's financial stability. But that wealthy man is none other than Fairfax, and Xanthe must discover why the dress has called her and who needs her help. Xanthe’s quest to find her purpose in traveling to early 20th-century England forces her to face Fairfax, who demands that she give him her Spinners’ book, which has helped her time traveling skills. Xanthe must work quickly to undermine Fairfax’s threat and convince him of her willingness to give him the precious book while coming up with a plan of her own before he can harm anyone.  

Brackston’s latest is complete with multi-dimensional characters and glimpses into life in early 20th-century England, especially how women were forced to be subservient to the men in their lives. Fans of this series will be enthralled, and newcomers will embrace Xanthe in her time-traveling journeys while eagerly awaiting the next series installment.
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The Garden of Promises and Lies
Found Things series, Book 3
Paula Brackston

Fun, thrilling and just plain enjoyable.....

I always know there'll be lots of adventure in one of Ms. Brackston's stories. I feel like I'm falling, along with Xanthe when she travels back in time. 

This time, she needs a protector. As the person she has to face is none other than the dangerous and conniving Benedict Fairfax. Further, Xanthe needs to protect those close to her, especially her mother. So disclosure of her special gift is apparent. In disclosing her abilities, Xanthe believes it best to have her close friend, Liam accompany her on her latest time travel to 1815. Will this be her or Liam's undoing?

This novel is full of richly portrayed descriptions and engaging characters. A perfect escape during a troubling time. I can't wait to return to the world of Xanthe again.....

I received an advanced reader copy of this book and chose to leave this review voluntarily.
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The Garden of Promises and Lies, by Paula Brackston, is the third entry in the Found Things series.  Yes, you can read this novel as a stand-alone, but you will enjoy it so much more if you start at the beginning and read the books in order! These are relatively quick, fun reads that are overlap several genres, including time travel, mystery, intrigue, and the requisite number of twists and turns to qualify as a thriller. Brackston weaves all of this together, and sets it in a delightfully, friendly English town.  She has created a cast of characters that is likeable and multidimensional.  One of the benefits of reading a series is that you get to see the characters and their relationships mature and develop.  

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to Netgalley, the publishing house ans the author for an opportunity to read an advance reader copy of this book in return for a review based upon my honest opinion.

This is the third book in the Found things series.  I have read all three and although I feel this would be okay as a stand-alone book; it is better as a part of a series as the backstory is detailed in the previous books.  This was not my favourite in the series, I had a hard time getting invested in the book, even though I love the character of Xanthe, and was almost half way through before the story picked up for me. I feel like that first half of the book was a lot of summarizing of the last books and explaining relationships, and setting up the drama for this book. After the half way point of the book, I couldnt put it down and stayed up way too late to finish it.  It ends on a cliff-hanger, as do the other books, but this one left me wondering if I knew the characters as much as I thought I did.  Cannot wait for the next book in the series.
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Time travel, romance, a heroine out to save a bride. These are the elements in the latest read by P. Brackston. The heroine in question is a Spinner , she is in possession of a book wanted by the character Fairfax. Still learning her limits she inadvertently brings him to her and sends them both on a journey in a time where women were allowed few freedoms. Marriage was more bargain than romance, and a wedding dress calls to Xanthe to do the one thing she has been counseled to avoid. Tampering with the future. It’s is a charming read. The characters deeper than the surface suggests, and the outcome satisfying on many levels. Happy reading
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The Garden of Promises and Lies by Paula Brackston is book three in her Found Things series. It’s a little bit romance, a solid dash of historical fiction, and a lot of time traveling hijinks. Our heroine Xanthe Westlake partners with her mother Flora in an antique shop in rural England. As they prepare to add a vintage clothing room, Xanthe finds a wedding dress that seems like a perfect fit.

And if you’ve read the other books in the series (The Little Shop of Found Things and Secrets of the Chocolate House), you’ll recall that certain things “sing” to Xanthe. Yes, she touches things and hears gentle music as well as the occasional voice. The communication always comes from a place and time in the past. And standing in their backyard shed while holding that particular found thing transports Xanthe away from current day.

At first her time travel experiences felt new and quite frightening. But as Brackston explores the stories, the second book brings Xanthe some additional knowledge and resources. As The Garden begins, she’s ready to take charge of her time travel process in an even stronger way. But it wouldn’t be a Brackston story if there wasn’t a villain. And in this case, the villain of Chocolate Shop returns.

My conclusions
The Garden of Promises and Lies is mostly light as a fresh spring day. But it also holds the threat of a violent storm or two. Xanthe is likable, and she finally gets a firmer hold of this talent. Likewise, Brackston moves from the sophomore slump of a second series book to a more settled third installment. I loved seeing our heroine gain more solid footing, despite the slippery aspects of “spinning” time.

Brackston also plays up different supporting characters in this book, which enhances the story. I quite like the friends Xanthe develops in her current time, as well as most of the people she meets in the past. She answers these calls for help from past times because she cares about other humans, even strangers from another time. Seeing people in her time offer support and understanding makes me happy for her.

Categorizing the Found Things series works like this for me: Book one was “fish out of water.” Book two was “annoyingly midway between comfort zones.” And book three is “settled and stronger in her talents.” I look forward to another book in the series. Not the least because of the zinger of a cliff hanger than Brackston throws our way.

Many thanks to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and the author for a digital advanced reader’s copy in exchange for this honest review.
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I didn't download this book in time before the publish and archive date, but my local library came to the rescue with the audiobook. This was my first audiobook experience and I am so grateful to our libraries because being able to "read" while taking care of my toddler has been my newfound favorite thing. 

I am absolutely enthralled with the Found Things series and can't wait for the next release! If someone would make a fanfiction copy of the spinner's book, my life would be complete. (Paula, please do write this as well. Also, could we create merch that involves teapots and such for you? I'm in, take my money.)
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I have very few series that I have fallen completely in love with, but this is definitely one of them! I can still remember seeing the beautiful cover of The Little Shop of Found Things (Book 1) and wanting it on sight.  Xanthe and her mother move to the small town of Wiltshire to open an antique shop. Xanthe has always been drawn to antiques and has the unique ability to hear certain pieces "singing" to her. After a chance encounter with one such antique in the first book draws her unexpectedly into the past,  Xanthe has been practicing her ability since,  finding out by a friend and former traveler that it's called "time spinning". She found a book for spinners in the second book, which is helping her learn to control her ability. But she's not the only spinner,  and a very evil man, Benedict Fairfax, had followed her back to the present,  putting her and her family in danger to try and steal the book. Her newest antique,  a beautiful wedding dress,  draws her to 1815, where Fairfax is engaged to marry a young heiress.  Xanthe must find a way to keep the book of Spinners from him and stealing his own artifact, an astrolabe that might help her interpret the book. 
This book ended on a huge cliffhanger. I can't wait to find out what happens next!  I've had the privilege of reviewing each of the books in this series through NetGalley. Thank you so much to Paula Brackston and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read this book. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. The views and opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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I don't feel like I can give this a fair review because I didn't realize it was part of a series until after I requested it. I feel like you need to read the first two books in order to get the most out of this book.

That being said... it was beautifully written and I'm headed back to read the first two books immediately
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The Garden of Promises and Lies by Paula Brackston is the third book in the Found Things series.  In this mix of fantasy, time travel, and historical fiction, Xanthe and her mother live in present-day in a small town in the English countryside and own an antique store.   Xanthe has recently discovered that she has a unique gift.  She is a Spinner and can travel through time.  Objects sing and call to her, “asking” her to travel to a specific time period where she is needed to “set things right.”

These novels are well-written, full of descriptive details about the time periods and the landscapes.   In this particular novel, a wedding dress “calls” to her and Xanthe travels back to the early 1800’s where she befriends the owner of the wedding dress.  Her nemesis, the evil Benedict Fairfax who is also a spinner, is currently residing in this time period.  However, he has been traveling to the present, Xanthe’s time, threatening her and her loved ones.  Xanthe must figure out how to rid herself of Fairfax and to also help her new friend.  

A large portion of the first half of the book was spent in present-day.  I was wondering when Xanthe would start her time traveling.  However, once she did travel back in time, the pace picked up and I was transported back in history where there were secrets, suspense, and danger.  

Readers should start with the first book in the series as each novel leads to the next.  This latest one ends in a dramatic cliffhanger!  I can hardly wait until book #4!  This series has become one of my favorites and I highly recommend it!

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me the opportunity to read an advanced review copy of this book.
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This story was great historical fiction mixed with fantasy. I loved the time travel aspect and the suspense was perfect.  The writing style is very atmospheric , which I love. 
Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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3.5 stars

It’s been a hot minute since I read one of Paula Brackston’s novels. I have read almost all of her books though and I have loved many many many of the stories. This novel is the third in her Found Things series which I have really enjoyed thus far.

I was so excited to see that this one was coming out this month and while I tried to keep my calendar open for all the Christmas books this month, I made an exception for this one and added it to my December calendar because I simply love her books!

If you love historical fiction with some time travel and paranormal/magic then you don’t want to miss this series, or the author’s other books for that matter. I highly recommend reading this series from the beginning though because you will definitely feel lost jumping in this late in the game!


New York Times bestselling author Paula Brackston’s second novel in the Found Things series, Secrets of the Chocolate House, was called a time-swapping romance [that] will please fans of Alice Hoffman (Publishers Weekly). Now, Brackston returns to the Found Things series with a third book, The Garden of Promises and Lies. 

As the bustle of the winter holidays in the Little Shop of Found Things gives way to spring, Xanthe is left to reflect on the strange events of the past year. While she’s tried to keep her time-traveling talents a secret from those close to her, she is forced to take responsibility for having inadvertently transported the dangerous Benedict Fairfax to her own time. Xanthe comes to see that she must use her skills as a Spinner if she and Flora are ever to be safe, and turns to the Spinners book for help.

It is then that a beautiful antique wedding dress sings to her. Realizing the dress and her adversary are connected in some way, she answers the call. She finds herself in Bradford-on-Avon in 1815, as if she has stepped into a Jane Austen story.

Now in Xanthe’s time, Fairfax is threatening Xanthe into helping him with his evil doings, and demonstrates all too clearly how much damage he is capable of causing. With Fairfax growing ever more powerful, Xanthe enlists the help of her boyfriend Liam, taking him back in time with her. It is a decision that might just ensure she prevails over her foe, but only by putting her life–and his–on the line. (summary from Goodreads)

The second book in the series ended on a cliff hanger and I was really looking forward to seeing what happened next in the saga, only to be let down by this one ending with yet another cliffhanger! I mean this book answered some lingering questions I had from previous books, but the ending was a bit of a surprise for me. I don’t know if this book was as strong as the others in the series, but I did still enjoy me time with the characters and of course the time travel/mystery parts.

The first part of the book starts a little slower than I would have hoped but it picked up pretty quick and I though the author did a good job orientating readers back in the story and familiarizing the readers with the characters. I had forgotten a couple of little plot points and I was glad that the author went back and covered some of the bits that readers might have forgotten. But as I said earlier, I would read this book out of sequence from the larger series.

I also loved where Xanthe and Liam went in time. I thought the author did a lovely job with the historical elements and details of the story as per usual. Brackson is a jewel in the historical fiction market, her stories are always well researched and have loads of details without being overwhelming.

Readers of the series will know that Xanthe and Liam are boyfriend/girlfriend and in this book they are posing as brother and sister. I struggled a little with their relationship in this one which I think is why I didn’t love it as much as I did the others. I was hoping for more progress or maybe more passion in their romance than I got in this book. Something about it just felt off to me this time around and I am not sure why. The only thing I could think of was that because they were posing as brother and sister, maybe it made their relationship more platonic in nature than was intended?

Overall though, this book is a good solid read and a nice installment to the saga. I am looking forward to the next book in the series. I don’t know that I loved it as much as the other books but it was good and I love the historical details and finally getting some answers about the Spinners.

Book Info and Rating
Hardcover, 320 pages

Expected publication: December 15th 2020 by St. Martin’s Press 

ISBN125007245X (ISBN13: 9781250072450)

Free review copy provided by publisher, St Martin’s Press, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Genre: historical fiction
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The Garden of Promises and Lies by Paula Brackston is the third (but not final) installment in the Found Things series and is every bit captivating as its two predecessors. It includes all that I love about this series - magic, suspense, time travel and a dash of romance.

Xanthe is getting better at spinning time with the help of her prized book, Spinners, and yet her talent still remains a secret. When a wedding dress sings to her at an estate sale, she knows she is needed back in time but this time stakes are much higher. Fairfax is threatening her and her loved ones in the current timeline, and Xanthe is wary of keeping her mother and Liam in the dark. Does Xanthe manage to go back in time? Can she stop Fairfax from executing his vile plans? 

The Garden of Promises and Lies is another magical journey, full of suspense, danger, history, love and friendship. Paula Brackston pays attention to the tiniest of details, be it her characters or the lush descriptions of the Regency era England. Just like the previous two books, I savored every moment. 

And, while the story in this timeline wrapped up nicely, there was an extremely unexpected cliffhanger at the end that has me waiting for the next book!

I highly recommend reading this series if you're a fan of historical fiction and time travel.
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This was fantastic!  I tend to enjoy time travel stories so I was drawn to this series from the start.  Once I started reading the series, it became evident that this was something really special.  I was really looking forward to this installment and it delivered on every level.  I found this book to be a wonderful escape and really enjoyed going along with Xanthe during this adventure.

Xanthe is a Spinner, which is the term used for individuals with the special skill of being able to spin time.  Certain objects sing to Xanthe and pull her into time so that she can set things right.  When Xanthe finds an antique wedding dress, she knows that it has a story to tell.  She also must continue to deal with Fairfax who is determined to get what he wants from Xanthe at any cost and in any time.  

I loved the characters in this book.  There were some pretty big developments for Xanthe in her personal life in this story and I loved seeing how supportive everyone in her life turned out to be.  I found the characters in the past to be just as likable and I found myself hoping that Xanthe would be able to help their situation.  I loved getting to know Xanthe better as she learned more about her abilities.  

I would recommend this book to others.  I found this to be a very well done and exciting story that kept me glued to the pages until the very end.  I do have to say that the ending has left me very eager to read the next installment in this wonderful series.

I received a digital review copy of this book from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley.
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