Friday, January 28, 2011

The Lost Garden: A Review

The Lost Garden by Helen Humphreys is a beautifully written book. At first it may seem a bit disjointed and difficult-going. But looking deeper, the reader finds that like, the lost garden of the title, the story is multi-layered and the best layers are hidden beneath the weeds and neglect.

Gardener Gwen Davis comes to the Devon countryside to lead a group from the Women's Land Army. These women have volunteered to grow vegetables for the war effort. Gwen is shy and has little self-confidence and finds it difficult to exert the authority necessary to get the women to work. With the help of Jane, a born leader, she gets the work sorted out and the war effort is undertaken.

More important for Gwen, she discovers a hidden garden. Her story unfolds as she brings the true nature of the garden to light. There are three portions to the garden: Longing, Loss and Faith. Each section planted with flowers that represent the nature that particular section. In the end, Gwen discovers that the entire garden was a garden of love. Her discovery mirrors the discoveries she makes about herself along the way. She discovers her own value, the value of love, and what it means to be home.

Like good poetry, I sometimes find it hard to really write about good writing without giving it all away. Here is a quote that I particularly like...I think it sums up Gwen's thoughts on Loss as it relates to love:

This is what I know about love. That it is tested every day, and what is not renewed is lost. One chooses either to care more or to care less. Once the choice is to care less, then there is no stopping the momentum of good-bye.

Four stars out of five. Read primarily for the Take A Chance Challenge--this was a Library Staff Pick book. They certainly picked a good one!