Cover Image: In the Shadow Garden

In the Shadow Garden

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Member Reviews

A garden full of memories, magical fruits and a family who has the power to heal your trauma makes 'In The Shadow Garden' a perfect fall read. I personally loved this book a lot and will be on the look out for her books.
A part mystery, a small town story and romance, this book has something for everyone. This book is the story of Haywood women who take care of the garden and Bonners who are intertwined with them. 
This book is not an easy one to read. Even with its premise of magic, the topics discussed in this book are really heavy and readers should be aware of it. As a gardener myself, I loved the author's notes where she has mentioned that her gardening is a kind of therapy for her and helps her with her own trauma. My garden helps me with my trauma as well and I relate that with her. Gardens are magic and this book captures that essence of them.

⚠️CW: Physical/domestic abuse, childhood abuse, trauma, grief, cheating⚠️
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This was such a beautiful and enchanting story with lots of intrigue that kept me turning the pages. It’s a story that feels like a warm hug but also has betrayal, lost memories, family drama, and murder!

I loved the setting so much. Not just because it takes place in a small town, but also the magical aspects of the two founding families, how the magic is about loss and pain but still feels warm and hopeful, the vibes, the atmosphere… All of it created this beautiful and enchanting world within the story.

In this town there are two distinct (and magical) ways of dealing with your emotional pain. This made me think about all the different ways we try to handle our heartbreak in real life, and what really helps one “move on” in healthy ways. And even though they deal in pain, the whole book is about healing. Healing the people, the land, the connections.

The imagery in this book was powerful and filled with nature. One character’s happiness brings forth butterflies, teas with herbs and flowers can give you courage or soothe your anxiety, the garden gifts berries of visions and grows in magical and wild ways. They’re described in such vivid detail, I felt like I was there along with them, with everything playing in front of me like a movie.

The mystery in the book was also handled exactly right. Even if you foresee some of the revelations, the book still has some twists up its sleeve that leads up to an edge of your seat scene of it all coming to a head. The mystery is revealed in such a way that for most of the book it feels very difficult to put down. 

This book also had: beautiful romances, fantastic and huggable characters, lots of tea leaf reading, and even more bourbon. I especially loved one of the romances, they were so cute together!
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🪴Thank you, Forever Pub, Liz Parker & Netgalley for the gifted ARC & ALC. 

🌿In the Shadow Garden is one of my most anticipated books this season. It’s a charming, witchy read … served with a glass of Bonner bourbon. 😉

I wanted to befriend the Haywood witches. Liz Parker creates a multigenerational family of loveable witches and…a less than savory family, the Bonners who own the local bourbon 🥃 distillery. I enjoyed reading about the past and the present from multiple Haywood women, Kaden Bonner and the Shadow Garden. As the story unfolds, the characters begin asking questions  about unexplained gaps in their memories … what really happened that summer in 1997? Why can no one remember? And why can a small child Quinn Haywood still recall the summer of ‘97 when she lost her father?
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Thank you SO much to Forever Pub, NetGalley, and Liz Parker for my finished copy as well as my eARC.

Friends, I loved this story of family, love, and magical realism. The idea of giving up your painful memories is such a thought provoking concept that made me think a lot about the pros and cons of it. 

Read if you like:
🫖 tea and reading tea leaves
✨the movie Practical Magic
⚔️ rival families
💜multiple points of view
🕵🏻a hint of mystery
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I love magical realism books! In Yarrow, Kentucky there are two rival families the Bonners and Haywoods. The Bonner family bourbon makes your worst memory disappear. The Bonner family garden will cure your heartache. Twenty years ago, the town forgot an entire summer!!!! As the past starts to come back, it made for a great book! I loved the twists and the characters. I did have a bit of trouble at the beginning keeping everyone straight but once I read more it was easy. I received an advanced readers copy and all opinions are my own,
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Set in Yarrow, Kentucky, which is famous for its bourbon and its healing witches with their magical garden, In the Shadow Garden is full of romance, emotion, mystery, and magic.

I absolutely loved this book and found it so compelling. The Haywood witches have the ability to take on people’s pain and feed it to their shadow garden, which transforms the pain into magically-endowed fruits, vegetables, and herbs. They don’t take people’s pain away completely because they know some pain is necessary in order to fully heal. The Bonners, on the other hand, have magically-enhanced bourbon and, once a year, they have a memory harvest where they can take away people’s chosen bad memories. The death of the Bonner patriarch sets a series of events into motion that will completely change the lives of both the Haywoods and the Bonners.

The story was told from multiple points of view, mostly in the present day but with flashbacks too, which was an interesting choice that worked well. I enjoyed the eclectic and diverse cast of characters, the different types of magic, and the suspense that wound throughout the entire story. The romance storylines were lovely, bittersweet, and satisfying.
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In the Shadow Garden by Liz Parker is a light fantasy treat with mystery and a bit of romance.

In the small town of Yarrow, Kentucky, magic is a part of life. Two of the founding families - the Haywoods and the Bonners - have magical abilities and the residents rely on them to help ease their emotional pain. 

But there’s a sinister gloom literally hanging over the town and it’s heaviest around the Bonner Bourbon distillery. Two generations of conflict have made the Haywoods distrustful of the Bonners, but the town relies on their bourbon business and the festival that brings tourists to town.

The return of Kayden Bonner - after a 25-year absence - sparks a new urgency within the Haywood family to solve a series of mysteries. Why does no one remember Kayden Bonner? Was Nolan Haywood murdered? Why did the whole town agree to give up their memories of an entire summer?

I love the unique magic system Parker created, linking healing to nature. The soil, plants, and insects are all connected to the Haywoods, and together they transform trauma into fruits and vegetables that feed the soul and amplify emotion.

While a quick easy read, In the Shadow Garden examines the weighty topic of how we cope with trauma and painful emotions. Is it best to forget the events that upset us? Push them to the back of our minds and compartmentalize? Or do we need to feel our pain in order to heal?

Thank you to NetGalley, Forever and Grand Central publishers for early access to this book!
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🔊Song Pairing: Forget Me - Lewis Capaldi 

💭What I thought would happen:

You know when you just KNOW you’re going to love a book and hope it doesn’t disappoint? Yup. That’s this one. 

📖What actually happens: 

The Haywood women are a tale as old as time. They are the magic in the town of Yarrow, Kentucky. A town known for incredible food and bourbon. Irene owns Lavender & Lemon Balm tea store - offering healings and tea leaves readings. 

The women are also responsible for the booming success of Bonner’s Bourbon, corn mash grown from seeds of their shadow garden- the pinnacle of the Haywood magic. Haywoods and Bonners are enemies, feuds with deep roots that cannot be apologized away. 

Addison Haywood, Irene’s daughter, cannot control her magic and fears that the garden is no longer able to sustain itself. If she can’t correct her mistakes, her magic may never heal the garden. 


*dramatically rings bell* read this book! Read it read it! Thee absolute perfect book for end of summer and beginning of autumn. It’s perfection in its core/soil. I want to be in Yarrow working at the tea shop sipping bourbon. 

If you love family drama, magic, plants of any variety and a good sip of whiskey on a warm evening on the patio, this is the book for you! This may be my favourite witchy book yet. 

This book gave me serious Practical Magic vibes (crazy ex boyfriend, families ties and all). I am so so ecstatic to hear how everyone will soon adore this book as much as I did. I’ve been in a funk and this was exactly the cleanse I needed. 

Thank you @readforeverpub @netgalley and @lizparkerwrites for the eARC. This book is out today, don’t walk - run! 

🥃Bourbon recommendations: 
Michter’s Small Batch 
Buffalo Trace 
Jefferson’s Ocean
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“she knew that someday, her feelings would transform into something else entirely, something beautiful and strong, and the memories would still ache but with a sweet sort of sadness—the way sorrow often does, given enough time”⁣
I never do this, but I felt like I needed to check out the author note first, and I’m so glad I did. Liz Parker started it off with trauma and gardening. I felt like it was a sign to read the authors note first, because seeing that really helped me understand and appreciate the story I was about to embark on. There’s trauma, there’s gardening, and y’all, there’s bourbon. This book gave me the longing feels, the past regret feels, the everything feels.⁣
This magical read was something else. It was so full of hope and pain. I loved the unique concept it brought. I can’t give too much away without spoiling it, but I loved that each Haywood had a unique power. ⁣
I could read this book forever, and I’m a bit sad it felt pretty short. Once we got to the root cause we went down to business (queue Mulan) to solve it. While I usually love a direct read, I kind of wished we could have lingered longer with the individual bottles. (Again, don’t want to spoil so I’ll just throw that out there like that) ⁣
Practical Magic fans, check this out. This magical read is one of the ages. Thank you @readforeverpub for the gifted copy. This was different, unique, and absolutely lovely. In the Shadow Garden is out today.
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Another witchy read perfect for dark and spooky season! This book has a lot of characters so you better pay attention, but the flow of the story really works well. I thought this book was really good! Such a fun little witchy book full of magic and drama!

Read if you enjoy:
• small town
• witches & magic
• fueding families 
• multiple timelines
• multiple POVs 
• second chances 

Thank you Forever for my gifted copy. This book will be published 9/13 and I recommend it!
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Happy Pub Day @lizparkerwrites  #InTheShadowGarden is out now!

This atmospheric novel has something for everyone: Magic, mystery, family drama, romance and small town charm. If you love Alice Hoffman, Heather Webber and Sarah Addison Allen, you're going to love The Shadow Garden!  5 stars!

Thank you again to @readforeverpub for the gifted digital copy! 

#bookstagram #njreads #fiction #TBR #womensfiction  #readersofinstagram #readersofig #reading #amreading #currentlyreading #genxbookstagrammer #magicalfiction #theeclectspooniereads #bloominchick #theeclecticspoonie #giftedbook @grandcentralpub
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3.5 stars

There are two families in the small town of Yarrow, Kentucky that can take away your painful memories if you so choose. The Haywoods use healing magic to draw out your pain and they place it in their shadow garden, where it helps all types of things grow. The Bonners have a bourbon distillery, and using the Haywoods magical corn, they are able to help people get rid of their painful memories with a sip of their bourbon. Every summer they hold a festival where the townspeople are encouraged to give up their bad memories, and it seems that in 1997 the entire town chose to give up their memories from the whole summer. What did everyone want to forget? That is the mystery that the story revolves around. 

I loved the premise of this story. Two feuding magical families, a mystery to solve and a second chance love story all drew me into this unique, atmospheric, magical tale. I love modern day witches and magical realism in stories and this definitely fits the description. The mystery aspect kept me turning pages well into the night until I knew exactly what was going on. Full of complex characters, complicated family relationships and small town witchy vibes, this was exactly the type of book I was looking forward to reading this fall.

One thing that bothered me was the amount of characters to keep track of. There are a lot, and I honestly kept getting confused and had a hard time remembering who was who. And while the premise was promising, I didn’t feel like it was executed very well. I never really connected with any of the characters and everything felt very surface level. There was a lot of telling and not enough showing. There should have been a lot of emotion evident on the page considering this is a story about painful pasts and difficult memories, but I didn’t feel any of that from the characters. 

Overall, this was a good book to kick off spooky season and a great debut from Liz Parker. Thank you so much to Forever and NetGalley for the gifted copy.
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Magical realism is a tricky thing. In many books, I can enjoy the concept while being fully aware that it isn't real. But then there are those few, shall we say "magical," books where I willingly suspend disbelief, immersing myself in all the story has to offer, knowing logically that it's fiction but believing with everything in me that it's real. In the Shadow Garden is one of those books. 

Parker's writing is perfectly pitched, with a dreamy - almost mystical - quality that drew me in, kept me enthralled, and left me with the firm certainty that somewhere in Kentucky there is an actual Shadow Garden, in a small town shrouded in gloom, where grief is softened, traditions are revered, bourbon flows, and magical produce thrives under the gentle care of multiple generations of Haywood women.  

The characters are engaging, with interesting backs stories, tangled relationships, and more than a few obstacles ahead. I love that the story is told from different generational perspectives. It gives the reader views into the past and present, offering a more complete picture of events that led to current situations. The family dynamics, a key element of the story, are realistic and believable, not only between the Haywoods and Bonners but within each family as well, and volatile enough to keep me eagerly flipping pages to find out what was going to happen next. 

Nothing is as it seems as the author takes the characters, as well as the reader, along a twisted path laced with magical mysteries, unexpected revelations, betrayal, danger, and the possibility of love reclaimed. I was fully invested before I reached the end of Chapter One and read late into the night, finishing the book somewhere around 3:30 AM. Then, when I woke up the next morning, I went back and re-read my favorite parts, savoring the various nuances that were so expertly rendered. It's a book I can see myself reading again and again, probably each fall, a perfect time to lose myself in the murky, magical, mysteries of Yarrow, Kentucky.

*ARC received from HachetteUS/ReadForeverPub via NetGalley for fair and unbiased review
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In The Shadow Garden by Liz Parker
Genre: Magical Mystery, Magical Realism 

In Yarrow, Kentucky there are two main families who use their magic. The Haywards help townspeople with the help of their Shadow Garden harvest. The mint gives an enhanced feeling of contentment and makes for a great addition to the teas at their store Lavender & Lemon Balm. At this cozy tea room Irene, Maura and Addison read tea leaves and heal people by removing grief, heartache, fear or trauma. 

The Bonners have a world famous bourbon brand that claims to take away the painful memories. The bourbon has magical properties, as it is made with corn from Hayward's shadow garden. Each summer during the memory harvest, people in Yarrow write down the memories they want to keep and then drink bourbon to forget the rest. 

In The Shadow Garden is a beautifully illustrative story of heartache, power and found family. The story is told from multiple points of view giving light to the originality of the mystery in Yarrow. I went into this book thinking it was a magical realism - romance, however after reading it I needed to adjust the lens I used and see it as a cozy mystery with magical realism. More akin to Sarah Addison Allen’s Other Birds. Liz Parker used a magical vibrancy to work. Her prose was elegant and descriptions of auras, gardens and the world were beautiful.
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IN THE SHADOW GARDEN by Liz Parker was everything I was hoping for and more. If you’re a fan of Practical Magic, look no further. This book is steeped in layers of mystery and magic, complex family dynamics, romance, and healing. From the start I was captivated, and as the novel progressed with the varying character perspectives, I was entirely drawn in and invested. New mysteries are revealed strategically throughout the book like magical berries dropped from the vine.

Parker’s magic system in the shadow garden and town were so thoughtful and believable that honestly there’s got to be a town out there somewhere with a magic shadow garden that produces beauty from people’s pain and a bourbon-producing distillery that takes people’s memories (though let’s hope not on the latter).

I particularly enjoyed the tea readings and learning more about what the ingredients symbolize and represent in each brew. A stunning debut!
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If you could forget your worst memory, would you? In the Shadow Garden was such an intriguing and enchanting novel. It's part magical mystery, part family drama, and part romance. There were quite a few characters and POV's to keep track of, so I definitely appreciated the family tree at the start of the book. It took a bit to understand how the magic in this world worked and how the players all fit together, but once I did, I really enjoyed how the mystery was revealed. The snippets and hints had me pretty confident which direction the novel would go, but I was still impressed with how all the pieces fit together. The tea leaf readings and auras were also a lot of fun and I liked that reference guides were included at the end.

I appreciated that the romances between Irene and Kaden and Addison and River never overshadowed the main story line, but that they still played a significant role in the character development. The pacing of the novel was slow at times, but it did get a little rushed at the end as all the secrets were revealed. I thought things tied up a little too neatly and conveniently, but it was still satisfying to see everyone get their comeuppance. I was really impressed by the writing and look forward to reading more by Liz Parker in the future.

CW: cheating ex, death of loved ones (past), strained family relationships, physical and verbal abuse of spouse and child (past), fire (past), murder, grief

*I voluntarily read an advance review copy of this book*
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This book centers around two families in a Kentucky town. The Haywood women help the townspeople by taking any sorrow people want to give and burying it in the shadow garden. The Bonners make bourbon that takes away memories. Twenty years ago the town lost any memory of an entire summer.

I loved this fall read full of magic, mystery and a touch of romance. The story is told in multiple points of view and includes a town with atmosphere plus multigenerational families. At its heart, this is a book about family--the one we are born into and the one we make. I enjoyed seeing the family dynamics play out plus all the connections to the shadow garden. The author did a great job with her descriptions of magic and the garden. I felt like I was there. I highly recommend giving this book a read!

Thank you to the publisher for my e-copy of this book.
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First off, the cover is gorgeous and intriguing. What drew me to this book was the witchy mystery vibe from both the cover and the blurb.
We’re introduced to a family of witches who are linked to a shadow garden. Through the garden, their magic can cure any heartache, and the fruits can provide magical properties. One day a year at the town's festival, a shot of bourbon made from the corn in the garden will make anyone's worst memory disappear. On that day twenty years ago, the entire town lost their memory; one person died, one disappeared, and no one has any recollection of that entire summer.
This was a good and quick read. It was about love, forgiveness, chosen family, and a lot of healing from past traumas. I love a good mystery, and it didn’t take me long to suss out events based on clues and backstories given throughout the book. It left me unable to put down the book because I needed to find out when everyone else was going to catch up. That part went really slow for me, and I of course skipped to the ending to find out if I was right. And I was. The story was told from multiple points of view, which I liked and disliked because it highlighted issues with communication between the characters and made it difficult to connect with and watch a character grow. You mainly saw snippets of their lives, and everything felt like it was happening too fast with no buildup. I liked it because it brought everything together and you got pieces from everyone’s point of view of the past and present events to help make it a well-rounded story based on the plot to find out what happened twenty years ago.
If you like plot-heavy books about witches, plant-based magic, tea, and mystery with fall vibes, where the characters are not as important as the story itself, you will enjoy this book.
Thank you, Forever, for my gifted copy and Netgalley for the e-ARC of this book.
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This was exactly the magical, cozy fall mystery I needed in my life. The description says it’s perfect for lovers of Practical Magic and Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe and I’d say that hits the nail on the head.

The Haywood witches have the ability to help ease the suffering of their fellow townspeople and plant those feelings in the shadow garden. Their rivals, the Bonners, make bourbon that will dredge up feelings but can also make your worst memories disappear. But twenty years ago something so terrible happened that the entire town gave up their whole summer of memories…and no-one knows what really happened.

Could the rivalry between the Haywoods and Bonners finally be mended as the estranged Bonner son comes back into town, and the universe seems determined to throw him in the way of Irene Haywood? Or will his arrival end in destruction for the town.

Right from the start you’re transported into small-town Yarrow, Kentucky, where everyone knows everyone else (and their business). The author truly has the ability to transport you and make you’re feel like you’re sitting in Lavender & Lemon Balm shop sipping tea and about to have your tea leaves read. She also created characters that feel warm and real, and you’ll swear they’re actually people you’ve known your whole life.

There are some heavy topics covered, like grief, loss, child abuse, death, and infidelity but ultimately it’s a hopeful story about healing, magic, love, and finding your place.
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In the Shadow Garden by Liz Parker
Women’s paranormal fiction. 
Yarrow, KY has a famous bourbon. That bourbon is made from very special black corn from the magical gardens of the Haywood family. Does drinking bourbon really take away your drinking memories? Something happened that summer 20 years ago that everyone’s forgotten. 

A compelling story that was captivating to read. I stayed up past bedtime to finish it. There was no way I going to wait until the next day to find out the secrets and lies and get some answers. I was afraid to read the last page. 😂 Can I trust the author to do the right thing?
Find out for yourself.
A bit of mystery, a bit of romance, family drama, small town manipulation, witchy healing, tea reading, a shadow garden and bourbon. 
Random: Stinging nettle. Only the day before, it also came up in a book. It’s similar to a poison Ivy. I’d never heard of it before and yet here it is two books in a row.  Weird. 

I received a copy of this from NetGalley and Forever. I will buy at least one copy to gift and share with book club.
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