Top positive review
12 people found this helpful
just the best romantic read ever!!
on 5 December 2008
I love all of Santa Montefiore's books, but this one just hits all the right spots and had me reading into the early hours of the morning because I had to know what happened in the end! It's based in a beautiful country house in Gloucestershire where Miranda and her husband David move out from London. Their marriage begins to unravel as they spend so much time apart - and Miranda finds it hard settling into rural life from the glamorous one she had in the city. The children don't know how to play in the countryside having been brought up with telly and computer games. Then Jean-Paul arrives, a ravishing Frenchman who has come over from France in search of the woman he once loved, who used to live in the house that Miranda lives in. His wisdom and infectious love of the gardens have a magic effect on Miranda and her family, uniting them all and teaching them the simple joys of nature. What is lovely about this book is the leap back in time, about 20 years before when Jean-Paul was a younger man. The book is divided into the seasons and at the top of each chapter is a phrase about the garden. I wondered about those at the beginning, not sure whose observations they were, but then it was clear in the end and very moving - as is the poem on the last page. This is a beautifully written book, and the characters are compelling, especially Ava who I feel i now know. It's romantic but not in a soppy way, and wonderful escapism. I'm longing for the next one. I also feel that few books fill me up spiritually, and this one does. It gave me a warm feeling about life and death and love surviving death. I would recommend it to anyone who loves well written, but very readable novels about love.