Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell

Summary from Amazon:

     Imagine that you live 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 neighbors for years and you trust them. Implicitly. You think your children are safe. But are they really?

     On a midsummer night, as a festive neighborhood party is taking place, preteen Pip discovers her thirteen-year-old sister Grace lying unconscious and bloody in a hidden corner of a lush rose garden. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?

     Dark secrets, a devastating mystery, and the games both children and adults play all swirl together in this gripping novel, packed with utterly believable characters and page-turning suspense.

My Thoughts:

     Oh the cast of characters in the mystery/thriller is one like you’ve never seen before!  A communal garden park in London is surrounded by apartments filled with families of varying backgrounds and economic status.  “Living in a fish bowl but still having secrets” behind their closed doors is a perfect summation of this intense story.
     There are rather well off artists, middle class business people, single moms, and even a halfway house for elderly and low income families. The garden is surrounded by families with children but this story revolves around the teens and preteens that hang out there and build their own little hierarchy.
     Our main characters are Clare Wild and her two preteen daughters, Grace and Pip.  At the beginning of the story, Clare’s husband is not around and slowly, through letters written to her dad by Pip, we learn the frightening story of why. 
     We also meet the Howes family; Adele and Leo and their three daughters Catkin, Fern, and Willow.  Adele, the mother, homeschools the girls and gives them a great deal of freedom of artistic choice.  This is a very different but interesting family.
     After a communal garden party in July, Grace is found alone and unconscious by her sister, Pip.  This happens and the beginning of the book and through a series of flashbacks we begin to piece together the story of all the families and their secrets and eventually find out what happened to Grace. 
     Getting to know all of these families and their secrets is very interesting ride.  I had so many different thoughts on what could have happened that I eventually just gave up trying to figure it out and just went along for the ride! The dynamics inside the garden are almost like their own little world.  One of the characters even referred to Lord of the Flies when talking about the way things work amongst the group. 
  I was very intrigued by this story and couldn’t wait to learn what all the secrets were and how they would be revealed. Definitely a page turner! If you like a good mystery with a lot of twist and turns you will want to read this one.
4/5 stars
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