The Last Garden in England

Written by Julia Kelly
Review by Andrea Connell

Three women; three time periods. All connected by one garden. The storyline takes the reader to 1907, 1944, and the present, during which the women struggle with their personal lives and careers. Venetia Smith, who suffers the consequences of ambition and love, is the original garden designer for Highbury House. Beth Pedley is a land girl who longs for a place to call home, and Highbury House gives her the opportunity. Emma Lovett is hired to restore the garden at Highbury House while tackling her career trajectory.

To be honest, the connection between the garden and the women is rather tenuous; the author seems to struggle to find a way to connect the stories. The novel’s strength lies in the individual stories, which in themselves could be their own separate novels. In the last chapter, they finally come together, but not strongly enough to redeem the lack of connection throughout the rest of the novel. Unfortunately, the multi-period approach here falls short.

Overall, I did find The Last Garden in England enjoyable despite my disappointment with the multi-period aspect. I’m sure readers will find it an enjoyable read, too.