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on 5 March 2014
After reading 'The illegal Gardener' and also 'In the Shade of the Monkey Puzzle Tree' I was keen to read more by this author. I thought it might be difficult to top 'The Illegal Gardener' the first book in the series but how wrong I was. This book was absolutely superb and a really pleasant surprise!

The story is about the widow Marina, who runs a village shop (she is a side character in Book 1) and has a very difficult relationship with her two daughters , Eleni and Artemis. Eleni has decided to move to a neighbouring island to work in the Port Police and to be close to someone she is having a relationship with. When Marina discovers which island she will be working on, she begins a plan to find out who Eleni's boyfriend is by visiting the island, coming up with some potential candidates based on age and then visiting and ticking each one off as she discovers the likelihood of them being in a relationship with her daughter or otherwise. As the community on the island is a close knit one she has to hide so she is not seen by her daughter while undertaking this task and she has a few close calls although at one point she is discovered. The island itself is one Marina hasn't visited since her youth and which carries a dark secret that she has hidden since then and has caused her years of internal grief.

Both Eleni and Marina both carry secrets which is the main reason for their difficult relationship. Initially Marina comes across as an interfering busybody, but as the story progresses you realize this is not the case at all but is as a result of the tragic circumstances surrounding her youth and her fear of who Eleni may be involved with. From this point on you really start feeling alot of sympathy for her. There are some amazing characters in this book, all unforgettable and memorable, all in the neighbouring island from where Marina tries to uncover her daughter's secret.

Secrets from both sides are uncovered, when we discover what Eleni's secret is I couldn't help but smile and Marina's reaction to it. I was pleasantly surprised When Juliet (from book 1 - The Illegal Gardener) appears to make sense of it all to Marina. It was a lovely scene where it is all put into persective and it appears that Marina is the only one from her village who didn't know of this secret!

As for Marina's secret , for some reason it left me saddened that she was forced into a situation in her youth which practically ruined her life and left her deeply unhappy to the point it affects her relationship with her daughters. I found the bench scene between a mother and her son the most moving part of the book (I think I was close to having a tear in my eye) and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by it. The scene between Eleni and Marina as they reveal their secrets to each other is also another dramatic moment where you could feel the air literally crackling with tension between them and all those present. I absolutely loved the ending and a wedding that was celebrated in a true Greek Village style , it was all so full of hope and a new beginning. I would liked to have known what happened to 'Meli', whether he was still alive and perhaps this could be a spinoff book ? :)

This is a fantastic book on a par with Illegal Gardener if not better. It appears that the books in this series only get better and better!

I have just downloaded all the remaining books in the series I have yet to read.
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on 11 August 2017
An interesting 'amusing' story of the intricacies and complications of living with old fashioned values but having to accept modern life. I loved the descriptions of the island and the search by the main character. Yes the story was convoluted and at times suspended belief but it engaged me and I enjoyed reading it. It wasn't until near the end that I realised that the main character had already appeared in a minor role in "The illegal gardener".
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on 19 October 2017
As with all of Sara Alexi's books in this series, I found the book highly entertaining and difficult to put down until I had read to the end.
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on 1 September 2017
Love the author, and the themes she explores. The characters run through different books, with the focal characters changing, depending whose tale is being explored.
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on 20 June 2017
Really liked the full description you can really feel yourself there ,
I would recomend you read this at any age .
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on 17 March 2015
Black Butterflies made me cry......I was just living every day for Marina andante again I could not put the book down. I just wanted to be there advise her, help her to achieve what she needed.
Great story again Sara, I am now on Book 8......keep going
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on 16 March 2017
Loved the illegal gardener so much I couldn't wait to read this and certainly wasn't disappointed. Really felt like I was wandering round that little greek island. Now straight on to book 3. Hope it's as good.
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on 7 April 2017
A very good read although I enjoyed the Silent Gardener more
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on 19 April 2017
All this Greek series are light hearted and enjoyable.
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on 2 June 2017
Loved this book have ordered another one by this author for my next holiday
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