The Other Eden

Written by Sarah Bryant
Review by Gwen Sly


In 1924 Eleanor Rose turns 21 and inherits her family estate in Louisiana, ‘Eden’s Meadow’. Left an orphan as a child and brought up in Boston by her maternal grandfather, she looks to the south as a haven in which to grieve and to concentrate on her music. Her tranquillity is soon disturbed by a growing love for an enigmatic Russian pianist and by a shocking discovery surrounding the house which threatens her sanity and her life.

The Other Eden is a novel set in the past and may disappoint those readers wishing for more historical content. The story is often confusing, with literary pretensions and unsympathetic characters, and it reads at times like a book of musicology. It is overcrafted: the mystery is imprisoned in a plethora of words struggling to free themselves yet remaining immured on an altar to indulgent refrain. Only the epilogue liberates the narrative from its cacophony of words.