Published by Headline Review
Available in ebook, hardback (18 April 2019)
Source: Copy for review provided by publisher
About the Book
Nightingale House, 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.
Something shattered this corner of paradise. But what?
I’m a huge fan of Harriet Evans and having reviewed her last few books here on the blog am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new release, The Garden of Lost and Found – and to be winding up the tour on its final day. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the tour invitation and to Headline for the review copy.
The title, ‘The Garden of Lost and Found’ actually refers to a painting. It’s a dual time story, beginning in the late 1800s/1900s with the story of Lydia (Liddy) Desart Horner and her family and alternating with a timeframe in 2014 with her great grand-daughter, Juliet Horner. The family home, Nightingale House, is the glue that binds both strands of the story together and is a wonderful character in its own right.
This is an epic family drama, spanning the generations of the lives, loves and tragedies of the Dysarts and Horners – my proof copy was just over 550 pages however I was enthralled throughout with the lives of the Horner family. Lydia’s marriage to Ned, his rise to fame as an artist and subsequent fall back down. Her backstory together with that of her brother and sister was heart wrenching at times and in the modern day, Juliet’s life was just a car crash of disorganisation and muddleness (if there is such a word!). Of all the characters, she frustrated me the most. She was very engaging but life and especially motherhood seemed to be a huge challenge. I just wanted her to get a grip of her life, her miserable marriage, have some control over her rude and disrespectful children and regain her self respect and happiness. Although having said that, I think that Bea was the child that I felt the most sorry for. At just 15 and struggling to find out where she fitted in, she needed a lot of support which her family seemed oblivious to for much of the time.
I loved the rich detail of this story – the vivid descriptions of the house and gardens, the well developed characters, the trials and tribulations they faced, it was captivating. There must have been quite a lot of research which has gone into this book and it shows in the detail with various historical references. One thing I especially enjoyed were scenes involving the dolls house, which was made for Liddy and is a replica of Nightingale House. I’ve always been fascinated by dolls house and the detailed miniatures for them.
The Garden of Lost and Found is one of those stories that you could lose yourself in for hours. There are family secrets to be discovered and surprises along the way. I loved it and think it’s probably one of my favourite books by Harriet Evans so far.
About the Author
Harriet Evans is the author, Going Home, A Hopeless Romantic, The Love of Her Life, I Remember You, Love Always, Happily Ever After and Not Without You. Before becoming a full time writer Harriet was a successful editor for a London publishing house. She lives in London with her family.