The Garden of Lost and Found: The unputdownable new family epic from the author of The Wildflowers
By Harriet Evans
A fascinating old house, wholly believable characters and a mystery at the heart combine into a sweeping novel you won’t put down’ Katie FfordeThe new novel by Sunday Times bestseller Harriet Evans will enchant her fans with this unputdownable and heart-breaking tale of a family ripped apart and the extraordinary house they called home.
Harriet writes the most delicious, epic stories from the heart since Maeve Binchy and Kate Morton. Nightingale House, 1919. Liddy Horner discovers her husband, the world-famous artist Sir Edward Horner, burning his best-known painting The Garden of Lost and Found days before his sudden death.
Nightingale House was the Horner family’s beloved home – a gem of design created to inspire happiness – and it was here Ned painted TheGarden of Lost and Found, capturing his children on a perfect day, playing in the rambling Eden he and Liddy made for them. One magical moment. Before it all came tumbling down… When Ned and Liddy’s great-granddaughter Juliet is sent the key to Nightingale House, she opens the door onto a forgotten world.
The house holds its mysteries close but she is in search of answers.
For who would choose to destroy what they love most?
Whether Ned’s masterpiece – or, in Juliet’s case, her own children’s happiness. Something shattered this corner of paradise. But what?Harriet Evans brings her readers home:‘Heart-stopping and wonderful’ Sophie Kinsella’Harriet Evans is my favourite author’ Goodreads’Secrets and lies in a gorgeous idyllic setting’ Prima’Reminiscent of Santa Montefiore with the emotional heart of Jojo Moyes.
You’ll frequently find yourself uttering the words: just one more page’ CultureFlyThis brilliantly written portrait of a fascinating family in crisis is an emotionally intelligent, thoughtful and engaging read.’ Daily Mail’Will make you gasp and move you to tears’ Marie Claire’I was blissfully carried away by this intelligent (she’s as good as the great Rosamunde Pilcher), classy and superbly executed family saga’ Saga’She reels you in and then you’re hooked, right to the last page’ Patricia ScanlanTweet
We have recently finished reading the lovely book "The Garden of Lost and Found" by Harriet Evans. This book is a Historical Family Drama Genre.
The main character is a mother and art expert called Juliet who's life turns upside down and has an unexpected life line from her ancestors. Harriet has written a brilliant story that links between the present day and the past of Juliet's family.
We have mixed reviews of this book. Most of our group enjoyed this story yet thought it was rather long winded. We feel there was far to much social history included.
The family connections were difficult to understand at times.
We can see how much work and dedication that must have gone in to this book. This book has alot of sadness and the author expresses emotion well. We felt anger at how certain characters were treated and empathy for the sadness experienced by the characters.
Most of the group thought that the
descriptions of Nightingale House and the flowers in the garden were enjoyable. However other members thought that the author was over descriptive especially when it came to the flower and plants.
The revealing of Mary's child came as a surprise to some.
Overall the majority of the group thought it was a good holiday read and would like to read more of her books. In addition, other members of the group thought it was a lovely read but would not seek other books by this author.
Melton U3A Dawson Reading Group
This book met very mixed reactions from our group. Many felt it as too busy with too many characters who were not properly realised.
The Victorian section did not fully explore the relationship of the family. The depiction of evil and the abuse of power displayed by both the nurse and the father was poorly followed through.
Some of the characters were felt to be merely tokens e.g Ev, he was mentioned and lot but when he finally appeared it felt he was there as the token mixed race character rather than for any other reason. Matt was also felt to be poorly realised and we as readers were not meant to feel anything positive towards him.
Nightingale hHuse, it was felt was meant to be another character in the story like Mandelery in Rebecca and the women’s obsession with it: Lyddie, Stella and Juliet was meant to convey that.
The story was bot motherhood: Lyddie’s refusal to allow and operation that might save her child’s life, Stella cutting Juliet off when she married Matt, Juliet’s idealisation of what a mother should be and how her children should behave and the house was another child to be looked after too. The painting the Garden of Lost and Found not only depicted a lost pre-war wold but also the depiction of motherhood.
The theme of forgiveness was not fully explored in the novel a lot of characters were cut out of lives e,g Mary & Lyddies’s relationship, Stella and Juliet’s relationship with little exploration of the reasons why, impact and of possible resolutions
The section about trench warfare and the aftermath was felt to be well-depicted and touching
The story was felt to be soap-like with lots of the twist well-signposted beforehand. An escapist read that we felt scored 3 out of 5.
Well written but not a book you can dip in and out of as it jumps about a lot and needed my full concentration !! Well researched and a lovely writing style - one for a long rainy weekend
I enjoyed reading this family saga. The lifes and struggles of the characters of the past and of the present descendant made it an intriguing read and satisfying when she ultimately found fulfilment, success and happiness.
Nightingale House, 1919. Liddy Horner discovers her husband, the world-famous artist Sir Edward Horner, burning his best-known painting The Garden of Lost and Found. Nightingale House was their beloved family home and the place where Ned painted The Garden of Lost and Found, capturing his children playing on a perfect day.
When Ned and Liddy's great-granddaughter Juliet is sent the key to Nightingale House, she opens the door onto a forgotten world. The house holds its mysteries close but she is in search of answers. For who would choose to destroy what they love most? Whether Ned's masterpiece - or, in Juliet's case, her own children's happiness. Something shattered this corner of paradise. But what?
Hunstanworth Village Hall Bookgroup review: Seven members read this book. All finished and enjoyed it.
A novel of family life, - love, heartache, secrets and tragedy.
This is another novel with many twists and turns along the way as the story unfolds, and is told from various perspectives. Some of our group preferred the modern story, some the older one, but we all agreed that the novel had a good and gripping plot and was well written, although we felt that an actual family tree, rather than just a list of the children, would have been helpful.
All the main characters, are interesting and well-drawn, but the underlying thread tying the novel together is the house itself, and the secrets and lies of family life that it contains. We liked the way in which the characters maintain these, often in order to protect other family members, and how Juliet’s understanding of her family’s story changes during the course of the novel. We found some of the minor characters confusing, and adding little to the plot eg Juliet’s first boyfriend, and some parts of the novel overlong and too slow paced, especially in the first half of the book (which is 500 pages in total in the edition we had).
A major theme throughout the novel is that of the ideal family and the ideal home, as depicted in the painting. Do such things actually exist? Do we only appreciate them when they might be, or are, lost? How have the challenges and attitudes to family life changed over the past 100 years? All these prompted rich discussion at our meeting.
Overall a good and engrossing read. We found the descriptions of the house and its gardens vivid, and enjoyed the themes and issues the story raised.
Rating: 7 members read the book. Average score 3.5 / 5
We received copies of the book via the Headline Publishing Group, and The Reading Agency (with thanks).
a mixed bag of reviews for this book. Some of our members were spell bound by it, stating that is was well researched book, examining issues that effect women both now and then. The characters plausible and well described, although Juliet was annoying.
Most of our group members loved this book, although at times we had to keep checking the various generational links between the characters. One group member who had read other books by the author said it was a very good read, for the others she was a new author and one we would certainly look for previous titles. The ending came as a surprise to all but one of the group members although there were clues. We liked both the historical and contemporary aspects of the book even if the change sometimes left you on a bit of cliffhanger.
I loved this book. Centred on a house and its inhabitants over the years this rich tale is a joy. It reminded me of Kate Morton in style. It is a gentle story with some almost unbearable parts; long, but well worth the read.