Monday, June 17, 2013

Lavender Garden

Lucinda Riley
Atria Books
June 2013

The Lavender Garden opens with the death of Emilie de la Martinières' cold, neglectful, beautiful mother, leaving Emilie sole heir to her family's magnificent and historical chateau in the south of France. Emilie's kind but distant father had died some years before, leaving his wife to fritter away the family's fortune. Emilie has land and property but it soon becomes clear that she will have to either sell out or sell many assets to pay off creditors and restore the chateau. As Emilie has very few happy memories of her childhood in the the chateau and no confidence in her ability to manage a large estate, she thinks that selling the chateau is the best course. Enter a handsome and charming Englishman named Sebastian Carruthers who claims a connection to the de la Martinières through his maternal grandmother, Constance, who lived at the chateau for a time during World War II. As Emilie falls in love and marries Sebastian she begins to learn more about her father, Edouard, who was a Reistance hero but lost everyone he loved in the war. She also learns more about herself and the man she has married. Sebastian is not at all what he appears to be.

The Lavender Garden has many of the attributes that I most enjoy in a novel; family secrets, a sweeping saga that skips back to an era that I find fascinating. However, The Lavender Garden misses the mark for me. Sebastian and his motivations were clear to me from the beginning and I found the characters, with a few notable exceptions, two-dimensional. I wanted to like the novel much more than I actually did in the end.

Thanks to Atria Books for an advance copy in return for a free and fair review.

RATING- 2.5 Stars

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