The Sea Garden

The Sea Garden

Book - 2014 | First edition.
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Romance, suspense, and World War II mystery are woven together in three artfully linked novellas--rich in drama and steeped in atmosphere--from the critically acclaimed author of The Lantern.

The Sea Garden

On the lush Mediterranean island of Porquerolles off the French coast, Ellie Brooke, an award-winning British landscape designer, has been hired to restore a memorial garden. Unsettled by its haunted air and the bitterness of the garden's owner, an elderly woman who seems intent on undermining her, Ellie finds that her only ally on the island is an elusive war historian. . . .

The Lavender Field

Near the end of World War II, Marthe Lincel, a young blind woman newly apprenticed at a perfume factory in Nazi-occupied Provence, finds herself at the center of a Resistance cell. When tragedy strikes, she faces the most difficult choice of her life . . . and discovers a breathtaking courage she never expected.

A Shadow Life

Iris Nightingale, a junior British intelligence officer in wartime London, falls for a French agent. But after a secret landing in Provence results in terrible Nazi reprisals, he vanishes. When France is liberated, Iris is determined to uncover the truth. Was he the man he claimed to be?

Ingeniously interconnected, this spellbinding triptych weaves three parallel narratives into one unique tale of love, mystery, and murder. The Sea Garden is a vivid and absorbing chronicle of love and loss in the fog of war--and a penetrating and perceptive examination of the impulses and circumstances that shape our lives.

Publisher: New York : Harper, [2014]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9780062279668
Branch Call Number: LAWRE
Characteristics: 310 pages ; 24 cm

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dnk
Feb 03, 2018

This is better seen as three parts of the same story told from different angles rather than standalone novellas. Of the three, only the second is truly self-contained; it provides useful information that informs the other two but doesn't need them to tell it's story. Please keep that in mind as you read; I was very frustrated by the ending of the first book but satisfied by the end.
Poor Ellie Brooke perhaps wasn't surprised to feel herself pulled into a world haunted by death from the very first page of the story, but that she felt herself literally haunted was the surprise. Why had the seeming bon vivant Laurent summon her all the way from England to restore his garden in modern-day Porquerolles, and why did his mother regard her with such antipathy from the first? It's not hard to figure out what happened to Ellie and what-or who-is going to follow us into the next story, but the question is why.
The second novel follows blind Marthe Lincel as she bravely works to use her gifts mixing scents for the kindly Mussets into something useful for the French Resistance. She is blessed with bravery and integrity; her weaknesses are, as for everyone else, other people: whom can she trust, and how can she protect those she cares for without harming others. Worse, how can she go on after a painful loss? Of all three stories, this was the one that moved me the most.
The final story follows Iris Nightingale from the 1940s to the present day, and here all the strands come together. Iris works for British Intelligence, helping the French Resistance coordinate intelligence with the larger effort. Pragmatic and competent despite her young age, she nevertheless finds herself swept up into a romance with a head-on is it reckless?- French agent. Tracking down what became of him and her later resignation that she'll never know us just one of the meanings behind the title "The Shadow Life". Iris will eventually get her answers, but is the cost worth the truth?
This spooky tale of romantic suspense had a slow build that made the ending more satisfying even if many of the connections were easy to spot. I would recommend this to fans of historical romance as well as paranormal suspense

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lgraf
Jan 12, 2017

What an excellent book! Anyone who is interested in the French Resistance & secret British operations during WWII will love this work of fiction based on actual fact. Three short stories who ultimately are tied together. Couldn't put it down!!!

cayuga60 Sep 14, 2014

Beautifully written, holds the reader's attention right to the end. Not to be missed, especially for those interested in Provence and the WWII resistance.

SpringAltman Jul 03, 2014

Three short novellas are woven together to create a WW2 saga.
This was a brilliantly written book, that
was a favorite for me and I think would be an excellent book club pick

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SpringAltman Jul 03, 2014

Thy word is a lantern unto my feet and a light upon my path

SpringAltman Jul 03, 2014

It was a time that marked us for life

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SpringAltman Jul 03, 2014

Three Novellas:
The Sea Garden,
The Lavendar Field, and
A shadow life tell the story of many, that are ultimately connected in an unexpected way.
It tells the story of a gifted garden cultivator, a blind girl helping in the French Resistance during WW2, and
a British WW2 double agent.
All three stories are woven together
brilliantly to create a great book.

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