This author is one I go to when I want to be entertained: a little light reading sat in the sunshine or a relaxing situation. The sort of book I read when I need something safe and comfortable.
But this one has an extra edge…
The setting seems idyllic, family living on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses
You’ve known your neighbours for years and you trust them. You think your children are safe and you all socialise together. But the garden has already experienced a tragedy with murder of a 13year old girl over 20 years ago, her body discovered in the bushes, but no culprit has ever been found.
When history seems to repeat itself as and on Midsummer night Pip finds her sister unconscious in the communal garden the story unfolds a web of suspicion and lies.
Clare and her daughters have already survived a dramatic upheaval in their lives when the husband and father sets fire to the family home in an episode of mental illness, for which he is sent to hospital. They deserve to find some tranquility and normality in their new London flat with the bonus of the community garden.
Other families become part of their everyday lives and friends to the girls, particularly the three slightly odd sisters, Catkin, Fern and Willow. The whole family is important to Clare and her girls and a strange almost incestuous relationship grows between the neighbours who share the garden.
This is a very good read on many levels and I tried to find the monster in the garden from the clues the author left along the way. But nothing is that simple and I am full of admiration for the ways the reader is occasionally “led up the garden path”.
The characters are well drawn and the sense of community made me feel part of the group. Lisa Jewell has created a fascinating blend of people and has a particular talent for getting into the heads of teenagers.
The older inhabitants are also interesting and it is encouraging to find a writer of this genre who can understand the necessity of multi generational community.
This book gives everything I could want in a book: believable characters, love, respect, and a mystery to be solved.
Hardback Published: 02/07/2015 RRP £12.99