Cover Image: In the Shadow Garden

In the Shadow Garden

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Member Reviews

In The Shadow Garden by Liz Parker is a magical realism book that will capture your heart and never release it. I am going to try my best to adequately put into words what this book meant to me, but there is no doubt I will fall short. Just know that after finishing this story, I look at my life and my relationships in a more beautiful and magical way.

The Haywoods are the magically gifted family in charge of the shadow garden. They are able to uproot the pain from hearts and feed it to the shadow garden. In turn, the garden grows the plants that help sustain the Haywood’s healing magic. It also is the original source of the dark corn given to the Bonner’s, the rival family who has a very successful bourbon business thanks to the corn. Their bourbon is not only wildly popular, but once a year, the townspeople of Yarrow are able to give up a memory to the memory harvest, using the drink. But one year at the memory harvest, more than freely given memories are taken, and two peoples lives are cut short, one by murder and one by magic.

It will take a family learning to trust each other's magic again, a forgotten brother returned, tea leaf readings, and visions brought on by berries to bring answers and healing to all of Yarrow. 

This is a story of love, family, acceptance, and healing from trauma. It switches between multiple POVs, and there is not one true main character, which I found unique and refreshing. It helped build the idea that healing takes a village of people who all serve an important purpose. 

I recommend “In The Shadow Garden,” with every fiber of my being. Congratulations to Liz Parker on an absolutely heart healing debut. I cannot wait to see what you come up with next! And I’m ready for a tea leaf reading now!!

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Thank you to NetGalley for the eARC. These opinions are my own.
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This was a delightful debut! I really enjoyed the multiple points of view. I felt like we got a well rounded story. I loved how the Haywood family used their magic to give back to the community. The ending was amazing!
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Thank you Liz Parker and Forever (Grand Central Publishing) for the opportunity to read an ARC of In The Shadow Garden! All the opinions that follow are my own. 

I don’t know if it’s possible for me to properly express how much I loved this book in one review, but I’m going to try!

This book was the answer to a question I didn’t realize I was asking. I took a day off work so I could finish this book in one sitting — it was that good! 

Things I loved:
- All the characters (even the “bad ones”). To say they’re well written is an understatement. Too often you’ll see books with a plethora of minor characters that really do nothing for the plot, that’s not the case here. Every character felt so real and I felt like I knew them all by the end of the book (Quinn completely stole my heart). 
- THE MAGIC! The magic in this book was *chefs kiss*. I loved how each of the Haywood women had a different relationship with their magic (Addison’s imposter syndrome was so relatable). 
- Multiple relationship arcs — THIS WAS SO REFRESHING! I loved that we had so many wonderful couples with fleshed out relationships that played a big part of this book. I also loved the healthy communication portrayed (in various degrees) within each relationship. The LGBTQIA+ representation was so well done too!
- I loved the tea leaves scenes in this book (“There were two things every Haywood woman knew: never trust a Bonner, and always trust the leaves.”). It was so well written and it is written in a way that is suitable for tea newbies and tea lovers alike! The glossary in the back was such an amazing surprise! I know I’ll be referring to it in the future. 
- Yarrow and The Shadow Garden — both felt like their own characters to me. That small town, everyone knows each other’s business vibe mixed with the type of small town magic you’d see in movies like Practical Magic.
- This book was also a love letter to bourbon that I would have signed my name to!

I hope that we will get the chance to return to The Shadow Garden (or somewhere just as magical) in the future. If you write it Liz Parker, I will read it in a heartbeat!
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4.5 stars!  What a unique book!  Filled with mystery, a bit of romance, and the right amount of magic, In the Shadow Garden by Liz Parker is a delightful read!  I loved the small town atmosphere perfected with its own annual festival, a cozy tea shop, and many strong female characters.  An imaginative family rivalry is at the heart of the story.  Parker’s imagination and story-telling ability are superb!  

It did take me several chapters to grasp how each character was related.  Luckily, the family trees are outlined at the beginning of the book.  I found myself going back and forth until I learned the dynamics. 

Thank you, NetGalley and Forever (Grand Central Publishing) for the digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.  All thoughts and opinions expressed above are my own.
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A small town, magical garden and a cozy tea shop? Here for it! 

In The Shadow Garden gave me Gilmore Girls + The Change vibes. 

With feuding families, romance and a murder mystery, I had a ton of fun reading this. I loved the unique magical system. The novel is full of secrets and twists. I didn’t want to put it down and could have kept reading about these characters beyond the final page. In The Shadow Garden is a great witchy autumn read, it is a wonderful debut and I can’t wait to read whatever author Liz Parker writes next. 

And how about this stunning cover?

In The Shadow Garden will be out this Tuesday 9/13!

Thank you to Forever and NetGalley for the eARC.
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I adore this read . Simple as that . The dynamic between the two families and the town of Yarrow .. the past , the present , everything left me on edge . I had no idea how it was going to play out and it did NOT disappoint! This has opened up a whole new world for me literary wise . The way the pain and emotion is described in the book is beautiful and raw. The realism in all the aspects of the book is so great. What a way to transition to the fall! Read it you won’t regret it!
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What a story.  I truly loved this story from the beginning.  The elements of magic, the familial connections, and the small town dynamics were all excellently done and made the story truly enjoyable.  The characters were well developed and likable. I liked how the story was told from the "good" characters perspective and the "bad" characters were there but didn't really take up a lot of the story and allowed for the group to come together while still trying to solve the problems.
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I’ve been gradually branching out into different genres. I really enjoyed the magical realism In the Shadow Garden.
Yarrow, Kentucky is renowned for its bourbon and the Haywoods’ healing. I loved all the reading the rest leaves and how the shadow garden took the pain away and turned it into produce.
It would be a blessing sometimes to have certain memories taken away, but then that would  take away the very essence of who a person is as well.
One thing besides the family bonds that is appealing about this story is the healing the earth can do. I love playing in the dirt as it is therapeutic and productive.
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This was a cool fall read with a natural witchy feel. There's a small town aspect with town fairs, festivals, and dueling families. There's a lot of the novel that feels abstract as the author tries hard to keep us all in the dark with how the magic of the Haywoods works. However, you lose some of the momentum of the story as you try to decipher how everyone is connected and why people forget things. I did like the Haywoods and there was a strong mystery that needed to be solved. But I would have liked to see more of the characters interact instead of having things happen in flashbacks.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy of this novel.

I stopped reading this book at about twenty percent. I think it’s a “not right now” situation, because it does seem like I might eventually enjoy it. But when I’m twenty percent in and don’t care at all about the characters and am rolling my eyes at the magical realism instead of enjoying it like I normally would, it feels like it’s time to move on. Gorgeous cover, though.
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An incredible story that pulls you in and keeps you guessing- I loved it!

This debut blooms chapter after chapter into a vibrant story following a family of witches and their rivals in the small town of Yarrow, Kentucky. The Haywoods suspect something is wrong with their magic and the garden they tend, and begin to question what's happening. But this story reaches new depths as it takes us on paths of what it means to not only heal, but also to find ourselves in the face of others' expectations, what it means to take a chance on new love. It nurtures the idea of what family is and who family is.

The pacing was perfect for me, and it quickly became a page-turner! I loved the multiple points of view- it was easy to keep track of everyone since it was in the third person, plus the shadow garden itself gets a few chapters! You betcha there are strong female characters. And the romance is so sweet! I'd be remiss to forget mentioning how smoothly all the elements come together, too!

Make sure you have some tea available, because you'll want some when reading this book!

Thank you to Netgalley and Forever Publishing for the advanced copy.
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I don't know what I was expecting from this book, but whatever it was, this book gave me so much more. In the Shadow Garden is part mystery, part witchy power family, part romance, part coming into your own, part dueling families, part strong female characters, and part awesome. If that doesn't convince you to give this book a try, allow the cover to speak for itself.
But seriously, this story dealt with familial relationships really well, especially family pressure and insecurity when you aren't living up to the family name. The main romance was between an older couple, which hardly happens, and it ended up being super rewarding. There are a lot of plot twists, and this book gripped me the whole time. Definitely recommend it for fall cozy witchy spooky vibes!
Thank you to Netgalley and Forever Publishing for the e-ARC and physical ARC!
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This was such a cozy and atmospheric novel -  the perfect read to kick off fall!

(Yes, fall begins on September 1st)

This book was witchy and I thought the plant witch magic was a really interesting concept. The author did a wonderful job of describing things - from the flowers and plants in the shadow garden to the different types of teas in the tea shop. I really felt transported into this dreamy small town. Initially, I didn’t love the romance between Irene and Kaden, and thought it was distracting from the rest of the plot. It all makes sense though as the story comes together. The mystery was intriguing and I had a fun time trying to figure out what was going to happen next. 

If you love small town stories with a hint of magic and mystery I would definitely recommend checking out In The Shadow Garden. 

Thank you to Forever and NetGalley for an advance copy.
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Out September 13, 2022 [Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review!]

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

The Haywoods are three generations of women with a special power—they can pull suffering from others and use it to fuel the special magic of the shadow garden. But their magic isn’t the only power in town—mysterious memory powers circle the Bonner Bourbon distillery, and may lie at the root of a years-ago murder and a long-forgotten summer.

A generational story about magic that also involves bourbon, small towns, and an unsolved murder? The second I heard about IN THE SHADOW GARDEN I was on board, and I’m SO happy to say that not only did the book not disappoint, it exceeded my expectations. This novel is refreshing, unique, genre-defying, and wholly enthralling, and I loved every second of it. By the end, I was so hooked into the story that it actually took me a minute to “wake up” after I finished reading—the absolute best kind of bookish hangover.

I adored each of the characters, although if I had one small critique it would be that there are a lot of viewpoints and it took me a minute to learn who everyone was. That said, there’s a super helpful family tree included (which I definitely referenced a lot), and once I got the hang of things the cast felt like it was the perfect size. I truly wish I could go visit (and yes, I did Google to check whether Yarrow, Kentucky, was a real place!)

If you are looking for a witchy book, a feminist book, or really just a refreshing and unique book with a brilliant core concept (that the pain we feel can eventually transform to something beautiful), look no further.

Recommended to anyone, but especially if you like: generational witchy stories; magic Bourbon; ensemble casts

CW: Murder/death; gaslighting/manipulation; physical/domestic abuse; infidelity; alcohol; grief.
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Thank you Netgalley and Forever (Grand Central Publishing) for the chance to read an advance copy of In the Shadow Garden by Liz Parker.  The cover was what drew me to this book but with the tag... perfect for fans of Practical Magic and Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe how could I not request it? And I am so glad I did.  A town that comes together every year to forget about their one worse memory; a family of women, witches who tend a magic garden and bring comfort and peace to those in grief and sorrow and their decades feud with a family who brew the bourbon that allows the town to forget... But why did the entire town forgot an entire summer twenty years ago? The story seemed to flow so quickly and was not only magical it was often very emotional. I loved the characters of Addison and her mother, Irene and their link to the garden. I totally recommend reading In the Shadow Garden; it is one of my favourite books this year!!!
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This book had a wonderful atmosphere. Between shadow garden itself, the tea leaves, the flower auras, it all came together to make for an absolutely captivating and enchanting read. This doesn’t suffer from purple prose or overwrought descriptions either, the writing just hits the perfect balance for maintaining that feeling all the way through.

I really enjoyed how the shadow garden worked overall - taking sorrow and healing it, to make emotionally strengthened harvest. It’s such a lovely metaphor the author chose for healing and growth and hope.

The mystery had so many pieces, and learning more bit by bit was done in such a smooth way. With the memory loss the town participates in yearly, it made it even higher tension when the reader and the characters are trying to figure things out. I got suspicions throughout the book here and there, which only served to ratchet up the tension even more for me as I read more.

I think my main criticism really is that I had trouble keeping track of characters. I am bad at it to start with, and trying to remember the three main families, generations, who’s related to who, even appearances at times was too much for me. I fuzzed out a couple of side characters by the end. I think it would have helped me if the family trees in the beginning of the book (they’re not that large but it doesn't take much to confuse me) had relative ages/birth year or the relationships between them.

Overall, this was a very lovely read, and great for an autumn witchy-nature vibe. The story really pulled me in, the mysteries just kept opening up even as some were solved, with perfect pacing. I definitely recommend this one!
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This is a debut?! Whhhhat?! Wow wow wow. In the Shadow Garden was such a happy surprise for me. It was magical, dreamy, atmospheric and absolutely perfect for spooky season. I enjoyed the family dynamics in this book, the mystery and surprises in the story and the unique magical elements that really brought this book to life. And have you seen this cover?! It’s so beautiful. Highly recommend this book for your fall TBR!
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Thank you to Forever Publishing for sending me an ARC of this book to read and review! This was the perfect book to start off Fall with. It was a bit witchy, definitely mysterious and dealt with the harvest and plants. I loved the multiple perspectives from both families and I thought it really brought the story together nicely. The romance subplot entwined with the mystery of forgetting certain memories was really well done. I thought the flashbacks were vulnerable but they provided a great insight as to why things were happening in the present. The small town vibe was immaculate and I adored the family dynamics. I loved the familial story telling and overall this was just a really beautiful book!
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oh geez, i wanted to like this book. I've heard great thing about it, but it did not do it for me. it fell so flat and i'm kinda sad about it but also, like, every book doesn't work for every person, so. thanks netgalley for the e-arc!
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Within the town of Yarrow, Kentucky, magic is embedded in life. The women of the Haywood family can relieve a person’s pain, and when freely given by customers it is then fed to the shadow garden. The shadow garden grows fruits, herbs, and vegetables that are as complex and beautiful as every emotion poured into their soil. It is also responsible for the corn that makes Bonner bourbon special. But as the annual bourbon festival nears, trouble with the magic and garden are becoming increasingly obvious, and the mysteries of a previous summer begin to clarify as previous residents come home to Yarrow.

Tea leaves, magical auras that show blooming plants, and mysterious magic that is deeply connected to the earth - this is the perfect book to kick off fall! Most of the main characters have their own chapters, providing charming perspective and insight, but it was never too much that I lost track of any person or the plot. I particularly enjoyed the generational storylines and character groupings. When the “kids” all got together to discuss details without the older generations, or the parents were all together without the need to show a front for the kids, I found myself loving their relationships and stories so much more. Romance is a bit of a side plot in this one, and the family dynamics and overall mystery were top notch! 

Thank you to Forever and the author for my gifted copy! Thank you also to Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book!
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