Cover Image: The Last Garden in England

The Last Garden in England

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Member Reviews

I enjoyed the gardening aspect but I am tired of multiple narratives only to tie together in the end - just too overdone in many books these days. 

There is too much going on, too many characters and their storylines to really sink my teeth into and enjoy. Once you start to get involved in one character and their story, you’re ripped away and taken into another which is distracting and interrupting. 

I did find the gardening aspect enjoyable and I wish it delved deeper. 

Nice story just not captivating enough for me and it felt like every other book out there. Beach read for sure.
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Three timelines, each with a strong woman at the center, and all happening in a grand garden.  Add the individual romantic interests to build an engrossing story.
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The Last Garden in England by Julia Kelly follows a tried and true approach of telling a story through different timelines and different characters with one unifying theme that carries through. All three stories are interesting and compelling in their own way as each focuses on a different central issue. As someone interested in plants and gardens, I find the the theme of the garden also fascinating. 

Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2021/02/the-last-garden-in-england.html 

Reviewed for NetGalley.
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Julia Kelly’s The Last Garden in England was a terrific read. It has everything I love: England as the setting, historical details and great characters with a little romance as well. With the house as the anchor, 3 stories are connected throughout the years. I also enjoy gardening, and while I could never get to the level of the designers in the book, it certainly was fun to read about. I rarely read books for adults (being a PreK-2 Librarian), but this one was well worth reading!
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The common thread in five women’s lives are the gardens of Highbury House in England. It takes place over four seasons at different periods of time (1907, 1944 and the present day). Venetia Smith is the designer of the gardens. She is a woman ahead of her time, but her progressive nature has repercussions that change the course of her life. In 1944, the lives of Beth, Stella, and Diana intertwine in unexpected ways. They are all of different stations, yet are bonded by the gardens. Emma Lovell is restoring the gardens in the present day. Will she discover the secrets they hold, while at the same time opening up herself to love? 
I always enjoy books that take place in different time periods but whose characters are somehow related, whether by blood or circumstance. It is enjoyable to see how they are intertwined across time. I did not feel as much satisfaction with the connections of the characters in the different time periods in this novel. The gardens are what connected them, but I didn’t feel like that connection was strong enough. I would have liked more descriptions of the gardens in each season. There were too many main characters. It wasn’t confusing, but I didn’t feel a great connection to any of them because they weren’t explored deeply enough. I didn’t particularly like Diana or Stella. This is part mystery, part love story, part garden book, part war story. A lot going on with little depth. 
This was overall an entertaining book that brought me to the gardens of a manor house in England and taught me a bit about how those estates were used during World War II. 
Thank you to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for an advanced digital edition of this book.
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In my next life I want to come back as a wealthy English noblewoman and spend my days promenading, taking tea and reading in one of my meticulously kept gardens on the sprawling country estate owned by my family for generations.  Yes, I think that will do just splendidly...😜

I so wanted to give this book more stars as there were elements I really enjoyed...the beautiful writing, the garden descriptions and a few of the characters. 
BUT...
Like many current novels, this one employs the tried-and-true (read: overused) device of multiple narratives, from different time periods that only come together at the end.  As the title betrays, there is a mystery surrounding a particular garden. However, it’s set up clumsily.  The mystery, if you can call it that, was not particularly gripping nor intriguing. Additionally, the characters stress and ponder over ridiculous things that feel forced (IMO).  It’s a good story but it’s essentially duplicated 3x in 3 different time periods. I would’ve loved to see more diversity between the lives of the women. 

In sum: this book was mostly entertaining, but the book flap promised a "poignant" and "unforgettable” story...I found it to be neither. 

Note:  Maybe my lackluster view is due to the fact that I’m not a gardening enthusiast? (Although I loved “The Language of Flowers,” which is all about flowers) It also could’ve been because I read this during the recent Arctic Storm in Texas with no power and no water and children climbing all over me. 

Did anyone else read this and love it?
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One of my favorite genres, The Last Garden in England captivated me throughout all three time frames.  Venetia, a master garden designer ahead of the times plans a series of gardens for an estate in 1907.  The descriptions of these beautiful gardens made them come alive for me and I so wished I could have seen other the gardens and the roses that Matthew created.  Venetia was a strong woman who endured much pain and heartbreak while living at Highbury House.  
Beth is a land girl who is working near Highbury House which has been requisitioned and is being used as a hospital for wounded soldiers in 1944.  She, Stella and Diana try to preserve the gardens which are threatened.  The thread of Bobby and Robin will long remain with me.  
Emma has been hired to recreate the overgrown gardens at Highbury House and has long been a fan of Venetia.  Her investigative skills uncover secrets of the garden and those who have loved it.  
The three stories are interwoven with such finesse and the separate stories emerge as they entwine.  So loved all the romances and parallels between the characters.  Even the minor characters are seemingly brought to life.   The Winter Garden - such a depressing place.  Also loved Julia’s author’s note at the end.  I also appreciated all the opportunities to learn more about life in rural England during the early 1900’s and during the war.   I am a new fan of Julia Kelly.  Many many thanks to Julia Kelly, Gallery Books, and NetGalley for affording me the pleasure of reading an arc of this captivating read.
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** spoiler alert ** I have thoroughly enjoyed Julia Kelly's previous two books so I was excited to receive an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Gallery Books. 

This is a story based on a fictional garden with a three timelines and three POV. I will admit at first I found this confusing. There are so many characters in each timeline that I had trouble keeping everyone straight especially the supporting characters. But I finally was able to make sense of everyone. 

Kelly did a fantastic job in her description of the garden and the setting. I felt like I could see the various parts and would have loved a walk through to see it for myself. 

I will say that I did get a bit teary towards the end about Dianna and Bobby. Be still my heart. I did struggle some with Stella's decision just for the fact that it felt like she was trading Bobby for a new life. 

This was a completely slow burn book for me. I am glad that I stuck with it. I really did enjoy it and the last 1/3 of the book tied everything together well. Once again, Julia Kelly wrote a solid story that I found fascinating and informational.
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This book is a gorgeous love letter to gardens and to the pieces of the soul that find their way into the soil over generations of cultivation and care. It follows three generations of women who touched, or were touched by a stately garden-- its designer, its WW2-era custodians, and its modern restorers--giving each distinct and compelling voices. The result is, as a garden, individually intriguing specimen made even more beautiful by the parts the contribute to the whole. I adore Julia Kelly's prose: how she balances both lyricism and accessibility deftly. As a reader I am drawn in exactly where I am and yet elevated to somewhere magical.
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One garden, 3 women spanning decades , and one important link. I loved this sweet book. It‘s a story of love, loss, determination, and joy. No earth shattering events but a nice tale. Beautiful language and women taking charge of their own happily ever afters.
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I was impressed with how all the stories were interwoven. A great work of historical fiction.  It easy to forget that even 50 years ago women didn't have the same freedom and rights to make with their bodies and work as they do now.  To see how they persevered during the World Wars and after was an amazing work of literature.
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I didn’t think I was going to like this book when I first started to read it. It seemed to be all about planting gardens, but then I got into it and really liked it.  It’s about three different women and their lives planning and bringing the garden back to life from 1907 to present day. Very good historical fiction.
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I ended up listening to this book, and the multiple narrators led to a fantastic story; it also helped with keeping straight the multiple historical points and storylines.  I'm not a huge gardener (in fact, I'd say I have a black thumb, as I kill all plants), but this didn't affect the story for me.  Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this book!
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I raced through this lovely book in a couple of days-it was great! At first, I wasn't sure about keeping up with three women in three different timelines, but Julia Kelly handled this beautifully. I loved that the three women worked in and loved the same garden. I highly recommend this title, and I look forward to sharing it with our library patrons.
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This is a story of three very strong women in three different time periods.  The one thing that ties all of these women together is a garden.  I love a story about strong women and this book does not disappoint.  The garden is so beautifully written that you can smell the flowers as you are reading.
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Such a good read. I enjoyed the characters and the timeline   Well written and would read another book by this author. Thanks fo netgalley and the publisher for an advanced copy.
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One garden connects three women through decades. Each woman in the story faces their own troubles and must overcome society's constraints. I enjoyed all the parts that described the garden and talked about the layout and the different kinds of flowers. I almost wish there were pictures so I could picture it better. I didn't realize how much planning went into these great gardens. I also liked all the main characters, they all in their own way struck out on their own, whether by necessity or for their own happiness. 

However, there were some aspects in the story that kept me from giving it a higher rating. There were a lot of characters, at times I was getting a lot of the people mixed up, especially in the 1940s timeline. I think this kept me from connecting with the characters, and ultimately the story. I also thought that there could have been a little more heat to the romances, I don't need every detail, but a little something extra would have helped enhance the romances.
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Absolutely  charming book, three stories that are entertaining and riveting. Really enjoyed the writing style and stories that were told.
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This story has three timelines with various female characters. The Highbury House Gardens connect them and there are elements of romance, secrets, friendship, and loss.  It was a very good story and well written.  I was captured on page and didn’t want it to end. 
Many thanks to Gallery Books and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I have had this book finished for a bit now and have been trying to come up with a review that would do it justice. Turns out I don’t have the words. From page 1 it was as though I was transported into the book. The three generations, the people, the gardens. I felt like I went along with every part of this book. I just loved it and cannot wait to adventure through it again. 

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by NetGalley.
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