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Gardens Of Delight [Hardcover]

Erica James
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Oct 2005

The Gardens of Delight brochure promises the opportunity to visit some of the most beautiful and enchanting gardens in the Lake Como area of Italy.

For Lucy Gray, assistant manager at Meadowlands Garden Centre, the chance to go to Italy offers more than just gardens. Lake Como is where her father lives, and the last time she saw him was when she was just a teenager.

Recently married Helen Madison-Tyler and her wealthy husband have just moved into the Old Rectory. With her husband spending so much time away from home, Helen throws herself into caring for the garden that was the pride and joy of its previous owner, a renowned gardening expert, Alice Wykeham. But Helen needs help, and friends, and so decides to take the plunge and join the local Garden Club.

Conrad Truman isn't the least bit interested in gardening. Widowed for five years, his life revolves around work and humouring Mac, his curmudgeonly elderly uncle who lives with him, and who has expressed a desire to go on the Gardens of Delight tour. But only if Conrad will accompany him. Reluctantly, Conrad agrees. 'Anything for a peaceful life,' he concedes.

But a peaceful life is the last thing any of them are in for...

Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; 1st Edition edition (3 Oct 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752856391
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752856391
  • Product Dimensions: 22.2 x 16.7 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 793,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

With an insatiable appetite for other people's business, Erica James will readily strike up conversation with strangers in the hope of unearthing a useful gem for her writing. She finds it the best way to write authentic characters for her novels, although her two grown-up sons claim they will never recover from a childhood spent in a perpetual state of embarrassment at their mother's compulsion.

The author of thirteen bestselling novels, including Gardens of Delight which won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award, and her recent Sunday Times top ten bestseller, It's the Little Things, Erica now divides her time between Cheshire and Lake Como in Italy, where she now strikes up conversation with unsuspecting Italians.

Product Description


Erica James has established herself as one of the doyennes of romantic fiction. (BELFAST TELEGRAPH, 15 October)

Erica James' speciality is showing what follows when extraordinary things happen to ordinary people and this latest novel is no exception. James is a skilful writer possessing great sympathy and humour and this moving tale will not disappoint. (GOOD BOOK GUIDE, 1 November)

Book Description

A gorgeous, heart-warming, award-winning tale set among the gardens of Italy from bestselling Erica James.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read 11 Sep 2010
By Penny
I get tired of reading books with their never ending violence - there are too many of them for my liking but for people who enjoy them that is their prerogative. A good thriller is one thing, but something which gives you nightmares is, for me, another.

Erica James writes good books (what I would call a gentle read) and I've read three now and enjoyed them all. I don't find them predictable at all, in fact the outcome in this book, for some characters, was a complete surprise, and her knowledge of Italy - with her discriptions of the surrounding scenery, the history of that country and the Italian language makes you feel as if you are there, or have been. In fact a friend of mine has been on a Gardens Tour to this village, Bellagio, and she said the gardens at Villa Carlotta were magnificent and she stayed at this wonderful hotel called Serbelloni where a lunch party was held in the book. I did wonder whether some of the hotels, gardens etc were not all factual, but this proves they are.

I do wish though that some other Reviewers wouldn't go into so much detail about the characters and what is happening to them. The reader wants to discover this themselves when they open the book. I find it very off-putting to know so much of what is happening to them in advance.

I recommend you give her books a go if you've not read one. They may not be your cup of tea, but you might have just discovered an author whom you really enjoy and want to continue to read.
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58 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For me, this is like comfort food 19 Oct 2005
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A good book should be relaxing, escapist, maybe instruct the reader in some way, or inspire them. The characters should be well-drawn and believable, there should be a strong sense of place, it should move along well, with dialogue that doesn't jar.
Well, all this and more can be found in the pages of the latest by Erica James, 'Gardens of Delight'.
'Gardens of Delight' is a holiday, a tour of some of Italy's finest gardens in the Lake Como area, and the descriptions of the gardens, the views across the Lake, brought it to life in mind pictures for me, thanks to Ms James descriptive powers and use of language.
And who goes on this holiday? Well, it's a group of characters, members of a village Gardening Club, a mix of both sexes and a wide age range. There is the poor little rich girl Savannah, typical moody teenager that she is, loud-mouthed and often foul of temper, but equally capable of getting her own way by being soft and gentle, just like her Daddy thinks she is all the time. And at the other end of the age scale is Mac, a genial old gent with a secret he's kept most of his adult life, who can also be a bit of a grouch, but lovable too. Genuinely lovable that is, not play acting. In between there's Helen, the poor woman who is Savannah's step-mother, for whom the trip brings home a few home truths; Lucy who has an ulterior motive for going on the trip to Italy but isn't sure she's ready to face this particular demon; and there's Conrad and Orlando, one in love with Lucy and one in love with Helen.
Interwoven throughout the story are relationships that are tested to the limit on this trip, as well as past grievances faced up to and aired, doubts also. Some of the relationships founder, while new ones are forged.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comfort food for your mind.... 11 Jan 2013
By Kath
Format:Kindle Edition
Not her best but a very good book, like comfort food for your mind her writng style of romance and humour from the first page will have you glued to the book
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb! 23 Mar 2013
By Sprat
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I think this is one of Erica James' best novels. It combines an interest in gardening and travel - I've never been to Italy, but reading this made me feel as though i was truly there.
the characters are brilliant, and Erica covers topic of reuniting father and daughter so cleverly and with great sensitivity.
I have read every one of Erica James' books and there are many that I could read over and over again, and this is one of them. If you haven't read this amazing authors books, then I suggest it is time you did!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful and heartwarming 21 Aug 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Many have called this book comfort food, easy holiday reading, chick lit.

I don't agree. OK, there are some beautiful women (but also some not so beautiful ones), handsome fellows, but also someone older, frail and over the most strapping youth. In fact, both at home in England and on the garden tour cum holiday to Italy we meet quite a selection of very different people, with very different lives. What most of them have in common is gardening, which leads to lovely discreptions of gardens in both countries. Not bothersome long and detailed, just enough to give a glimpse of garden beauty to all admirers of gardening.

As for the character gallery, a bit stereotype, perhaps. But then again, isn't life full of stereotypes. Garish millionaire Hunter busy on the mobile at all times, making even more money and cheating on his wife. Bored, spoiled daughter Savannah used to getting her own way. Nice and gentle Helen, true to her marriage vows in spite of it all.... Old English gentleman Mac worried about failing health and his dignity. His nephew Conrad who after long sorrow may finally once again see love... And Lucy and Orlando, two young garden fans and best friends; or perhaps not only friends after all...

These are a few of the people we meet in this warm and lovely story, which is in fact not only romantic goody stuff but quite realistic as well. In the midst of Italian beauty and romance life happens. Love comes and love goes. Health is not a given thing and old bitterness and conflicts must be faced and dealt with.

It's nice that this story is set in such beautiful surroundings. Erica James knows Italy well and describes Bellagio and Lake Como to the reader's delight.

A wonderful story recommended to all Erica's fans as well as new readers.
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