The Sea Garden

18635091Title: The Sea Garden
Author: Deborah Lawrenson
Source: from publisher for TLC Book Tour
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: The first of three interconnected stories didn’t work for me, but I enjoyed the second two and loved the way the three stories worked together to provide a richer experience.

Since this story is not just a dual narrative but a triple narrative, for the full explanation you’ll want to visit goodreads. The first storyline follows a British garden designer hoping a commission on a beautiful  island will be her chance to break into the international scene. However, once she realizes that her clients are eccentric and possibly malicious, she’s not sure the job is worth the risk. The second story is that of a young blind woman living in Nazi-occupied France with a difficult decision to make. And the third story is that of a British intelligence agent during WWII who falls for a French agent who disappears, suggesting he might have had hidden allegiances. The way these three stories connect is a surprise.

The first scene in this book immediately highlighted the author’s amazing talent for bringing a location vividly to life. I think what made her descriptions work so well for me is the level of detail she includes. It’s not too much, not too little, matching what I think I’d notice if I were actually there. The first story was not as enjoyable as I expected based on that first scene. It was a bit trippy, with hints of the supernatural or a conspiracy or both. I found it a little too confusing and finished this section unsure what had just happened. By the end, I considered this first section worthwhile for its impact on the story as a whole, but I didn’t love reading it.

The second and third stories were both fantastic. I continued to enjoy the author’s evocative writing but also started to love the plot. Both of these sections featured somewhat untraditional, very brave female protagonists. I thought they were both incredible and a ton of fun to read about. The layering of the three stories, each one adding more information and getting closer to the heart of the matter, gave this story a lot of depth. It was a very unique way to tell a multi-narrative story, sequential instead of alternating, and I think it worked beautifully. The overall effect was to give the ending a lot of emotional impact. I admire the author’s choice to tell a story in a unorthodox way and would love to read more of her work.



Filed under Fiction, Historical Fiction

17 Responses to The Sea Garden

  1. What I love about dual narratives – how they’re all connected! And if this one does it a little differently than most, the it’s probably a good one to check out! Thanks.
    Jennine G. recently posted…The Storied Life of A.J. FikryMy Profile

    • I like that too! I feel like I’ve been seeing a lot of comments lately about bloggers getting tired of dual narratives and I think this is refreshingly different.

  2. Sounds very interesting, especially since I like stories set in that time and spy fiction.
    TracyK recently posted…The Film Club: David GilmourMy Profile

    • In that case, this is definitely a book you should check out. It is more focused on personal relationships than adventure, but there are a few tense moments and the whole story revolves around a fascinating mystery.

  3. This sounds very intriguing – unusual storytelling in books is always interesting to me. And making three stories work together must have been difficult – kudos to the author for making it work. I’m glad you enjoyed this one!
    Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy recently posted…The Autobiography of Jane EyreMy Profile

  4. This sounds lovely! The last triple narrative I read I liked a lot… They braided together, you know? I’ll be keeping an eye out for this one.
    Katie @ Words for Worms recently posted…Headhunters on my Doorstep by J Maarten TroostMy Profile

  5. I started with the book but left it to read another book that I had to have a review out. I can definitely agree with you on the “evocative” writing. I am starting the book today actually and I cant wait to read and finish it. It sounds lovely.
    Melinda @ The Book Musings recently posted…The Strangler Vine by M.J CarterMy Profile

  6. Pingback: Deborah Lawrenson, author of The Sea Garden, on tour June/July 2014 | TLC Book Tours

  7. I’m intrigued by the format of the book and the interconnectedness of the stories – sounds like a great read.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  8. I love dual narratives and haven’t read a triple in a while. I may pick this one up, but I’ll be sure to adjust my expectations for the less-than-fantastic parts.
    Allison @ The Book Wheel recently posted…Comment on Birthday Week Book Loot by The Book WheelMy Profile

    • I feel like triple narratives are a little less common, but I really liked the way the three perspectives were treated here, so I might go looking for more.

  9. Pingback: TLC Book Tours: The Sea Garden by Deborah Lawrenson | Olduvai Reads

  10. Pingback: Henna House | Doing Dewey

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