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The Sea Garden [Kindle Edition]

Marcia Willett
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Book Description

Jess Penhaligon is on her way to Devon to receive an award for her botanical painting. Hosting her will be Kate, who gladly welcomes her into her home. Jess’s own family fell apart several years ago, so she is grateful for Kate’s friendliness – and her close unit of extended family and friends, who embrace Jess just as warmly.

As this group begins reminiscing on their pasts and sharing their stories with Jess, it becomes apparent that her family history may be linked with theirs. Long-buried secrets from past generations begin to be uncovered – but at what cost have they been kept hidden?

Product Description


"Evocatively written, this book paints the seasons and scenes around the River Tamar on the boundary of Devon and Cornwall and is populated with warm, believable characters who you'll sorely miss when you've finished reading it." (Candis, Nov 2012)

Book Description

Three generations. One heartbreaking secret. And pasts about to be uncovered…

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 450 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital (25 Oct. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00943JALO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #17,121 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Engaging and Entertaining Read. 3.5 Stars 24 Oct. 2012
A warmly engaging story, Marcia Willett's latest novel 'The Sea Garden' is a pleasure to read. The story centres on Jess Penhaligon, a young artist just out of university, who has won the David Porteous award for her botanical painting. We first meet her when she is travelling to Devon to stay with David's widow, Kate, a warm and friendly woman, who welcomes Jess readily into her home and family life. Jess, who has always felt rather alone since the death of her much loved father, feels very comfortable with Kate in her lovely Devon cottage, and both she and Kate are delighted when they discover that Jess has a connection with Kate and Kate's family that previously none of them knew existed.

While Jess is staying with Kate, she is introduced to Kate's long time friend, Cass, and Cass's husband, Tom, and their grown-up children: Gemma (who is married to and having marital difficulties with Kate's son, Guy) and the very attractive Oliver. Jess also becomes acquainted with the Trehearne family who have lived in their old family home with a wonderful sea garden leading down to the river Tamar for generations. When Jess is invited down to the Trehearne's home by the matriarch of the family, the very elderly Lady Rowena Trehearne, she gradually discovers that Rowena has an ulterior motive for the invitation, involving a secret from the past that has a significant bearing on her own life - but I won't say more as I have no wish to spoil the story for prospective readers.

Moving backwards and forwards in time and with some lovely descriptions of the West Country, Marcia Willett deftly examines the dynamics of family life through a cast of interesting characters who experience a variety of emotionally difficult situations.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars vintage Marcia 31 Oct. 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Faithful Willett readers will be reunited with many old friends including Kate, Cass Wivenhoe. Kate's son Guy and the wonderful countryside around the Tamar. This is Marcia back to her story telling best - I did not enjoy last year's offering The Christmas Angel - bit too religious for me - but The Sea Garden is a great read with a real sense of place.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing read. 22 Dec. 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I did not enjoy Marcia Willett's latest novel. Frankly, there are so many characters that I had a job to keep up with them all, and I had to keep going back, to work out who was who. If only the author had added a cast of characters. I am a great Marcia Willett fan, her descriptions of landscape are brilliant, but ruined for me by the constant skipping backwards and forwards, thereby slowing down the plot. Sorry, Marcia.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3 generations and a secret 30 Oct. 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In the 1960's, brothers Al and John, their cousin Freddie, friends Mike and Tom attend the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, Devon. Al and John live in a large house on the Cornish side of the River Tamar and Freddie lives on the Devon side of the Tamar. Each year Al and John's parents throw a party for the the young officers of the College, in their famous Sea Garden. Kate and Cass are friends, Cass marries Tom and Kate marries the somewhat cold Mark, who she later divorces and then marries botantical artist David. University graduate and botanical artist Jess, wins a top prize for her work, meets David's widow, Kate, and when Kate finds out that through her grandparents, Mike and Juliet, Jess has a connection to Devon/Cornwall and Kate's friends, she invites Jess down to stay with her.

The story regularly flashes back to the 1960's, to explain what happened then. Jess who looks very much like her grandmother Juliet, who was lusted after by the young College officer cadets, finds herself embroiled in family secrets and mystery, especially when invited to stay with John and his mother Rowena.

The story involves the the group of friends from the 1960's and their present day families and their relationships.
Enjoyable, however, initially I thought that too many characters were introduced and got confused and skipping back and forwards in time didn't help. I freely admit that I skipped some of it in the middle and went onto a later chapter.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Sea Garden 5 Dec. 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Not as good as other M. Willett stories. Seems that so many families etc are now involved in these stories it is not always easy to remember them all.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wee bit disappointed 20 Nov. 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Having read every one of Marcia Willet's previous books and loving them all, I was delighted to see another one come out,but I felt sorry for anyone who had not read her previous novels. Marcia returned time and again to her previous characters, almost as if she had run out of new ones. As much as I love knowing how her previous "people" have travelled, this time there seemed to be to0 much toing and froing. Perhaps she did this to jog our memories. For me the usual Willet punch was not there. I would have liked a new set of characters with just a little of Cass and Tom. Her previous "A Christmas Carol" was a delight and I am looking for to reading "Christmas in Cornwall".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Engaging but confusing! 5 Jun. 2014
By Sue
Jess, who has just finished university, has won a prestigious prize which gives her the opportunity of a year off. In meeting Kate the widow of the prize donor, she finds herself staying in a village in Devon for a while, where she meets a large number of connected people, and feels herself oddly at home.

The elderly Rowena is surprisingly excited at the thought of meeting Jess, who turns out to look remarkably like her grandmother did when she was young... and it seems there may be another connection, too. Meanwhile there are marriage problems for Kate's son Guy and his wife Gemma, who is the daughter of Kate' best friend Cass...

I always enjoy books by Marcia Willett, but sometimes find her huge cast of characters to be rather confusing. Most of the ones in this book are old friends from previous novels; I certainly recognised Kate and Cass, Guy and Gemma, and various others who recur with a new set of problems. But I've read the previous novels over several years and haven't re-read most of them; so there's no way I can keep them all in my head. And this book starts in a frustrating way; other than Jess's story, it seems to be a re-hash of parts of several other books, as different people think about incident - happy and sad - in their pasts.

However, she does tell a good story, and I found myself quickly caught up in Jess's narrative at any rate, and also rooting for Guy and Gemma. I skimmed parts about boats or the navy - these books are set in a world far removed from my own - and tried to ignore the assumptions about boarding schools which always annoy me slightly.

Towards the end it became rather more interesting and I found the ending nicely satisfying, so could almost give this three-and-a-half stars... but not quite.
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