Title: A Secret Garden
Author: Katie Fford
Publisher: 23 February 2017 by Random House UK
Pages: 384 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: womens fiction, chick lit
My Rating: 3.5 cups
'What I want to know', said Lorna, 'is what lies behind those ash trees at the back of the garden?
Lorna is a talented gardener and Philly is a plantswoman. Together they work in the grounds of a beautiful manor house in the Cotswolds. They enjoy their jobs and are surrounded by family and friends. But for them both the door to true love remains resolutely closed.
So when Lorna is introduced to Jack at a dinner party and Lucien catches Philly’s eye at the local farmers market, it seems that dreams really can come true and happy endings lie just around the corner.But do they?
Troublesome parents, the unexpected arrival of someone from Lorna's past, and the discovery of an old and secret garden mean their lives are about to become a lot more complicated...
Cooking and gardening are the central focus of this latest Katie Fford book. You always know what you are up for when you get a Katie Fford book - and I like that. Her writing is always light, sweet and a gentle read - rarely any surprises. So when you are in this kind of reading mood, you know Fford will fit the bill.
Funny old thing, love, Lorna thought, pouring a second glass of wine. It was like a disease. You caught it, and then it went away, or it didn’t. But there was no logic to it. You couldn’t turn it on and off according to the suitability or otherwise of the love object.
With a focus on garden renovations and culinary delights, this book is sure to please many. It’s about taking time and appreciating the little things in life and getting creative. Yes, there are romances involved, and what I particularly liked was the wide age in the characters; from young Philly, to Lorna in her fifties to Grand in his seventies - something for everyone! It takes a light approach to everything and is a perfect way to spend an afternoon.
‘It’s lovely to know that you can fall in love at any time in your life, or at any age.’
I do think, however, that this is not as good as the other Katie Fford books I have read. There is nothing distinctly wrong with it, yet it seems to lack that sparkle that I have found in her previous books. The two main leads love interests appeared as total ‘insta-love’ and therefore there was no real investment in their relationships. Also, the title and blurb will lead you to believe that there is a whole story surrounding a ‘secret garden’ - well if you want to wait until three quarters the way through, you may be rewarded with a taste of it, but certainly and in no way, the main focus of this tale.
Having said that, sometimes you just need something light and ‘fluffy’ (as I like to call it) and if you pick up this book expecting nothing more, then Katie Fforde never fails to deliver. No other pretext is need:
‘What are we celebrating?’
‘Nothing,’ declared Anthea. ‘Life is a pile of horse droppings for you just at the moment. What better reason to drink champagne?’
This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release