on 23 March 2013
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!
on 17 May 2015
Gardens of delight is a delight in itself a truly wonderful read, and a real favourite of mine . . . I have read it more than once. You start reading and never want it to end. I love the characters, the settings and storyline, it also brings back wonderful memories of Italian holidays.
on 19 October 2005
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.
There is a strong romantic thread running through this story, a big novel filled with strong and totally believable characters, and whilst the storylines may not be original, they move along well, and for me, this was a page turner.
Erica James never fails to please me with her books, which are like old friends... good company; a bowl of Heinz tomato soup on a cold day ... comforting. They relax me, inspire me to try harder with my own writing, and in this case, reinforced my intention to learn Italian!
on 11 September 2010
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.
on 21 October 2013
This is the first book i have read by EricaJames , and i will definitely be reading more by this author. Gardens Of Delight was indeed a delight to read. I couldn't put it down; and read the book within a few days. It was, in my opinion, very well written and you got a real sense of each character's personality. I would definitely recommend this book.
on 28 September 2014
This book is so comfortable, cosy and grounding to read. Normal people, with normal lives. Nothings perfect, choices to be made in the twists and turns of day to day life. I will morn these characters for a while to come. Thank you.