By Harriet Evans
4.5 out of 5
I'll be honest I picked this book up for it's beautiful cover and the promise of an enchanted hidden garden. I've not read a book by Harriet Evans before but her billing as similar to Rosamunde Pilcher intrigued me because Pilcher is one of my favourite authors.
Indeed her writing style, plot lines and world building echo Pilcher in more ways than one. The use of a painting 'The Garden of Lost and Found' as the central intrigue to the plot. The setting of the perfect house, in the perfect garden, in the perfect place. The close knit set of characters that describe the trials and tribulations of a family throughout time. These are all things I love about Rosamunde Pilcher and all things that I loved about this book.
The Garden of Lost and Found tells the story of the Horner family and their family home Nightingale House. In 1919 Liddy Horner discovers her husband, the world-famous artist Sir Edward Horner, burning his best-known painting The Garden of Lost and Found days before his sudden death. Nightingale House was the Horner family's beloved home - a gem of design created to inspire happiness - and it was here Ned painted The Garden of Lost and Found, capturing his children on a perfect day, playing in the rambling Eden he and Liddy made for them. One magical moment. Before it all came tumbling down...
When Ned and Liddy's great-granddaughter Juliet is sent the key to Nightingale House, she opens the door onto a forgotten world. The house holds its mysteries close but she is in search of answers. For who would choose to destroy what they love most? Whether Ned's masterpiece - or, in Juliet's case, her own children's happiness.
Back to the comparison's of Pilcher's work, some people might say that the plots amble along without any real drive. I disagree of course but they may be at a too gentle pace for some. This book in fact has lots of twists and turns which means the plot paces along nicely, although at times towards the end with so many twists and turns it actually got quite confusing.
That said, this book is a beautiful, compelling read. It makes you want to curl up in an armchair in Nightingale house, a fire roaring and the magical view of a misty, enchanted garden beyond the window. I'll take that any day of the week thank you. I shall be picking up many more Harriet Evans books as a result.