February 19, 2014

The Lavender Garden - Lucinda Riley

The Lavender Garden Lucinda Riley book cover
The Lavender Garden by Lucinda Riley
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: June 11, 2013
Source/Format: Publisher (Thank you, Atria Books!) || ARC
[I received this book for review from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

La Cote d'Azur, 1998: In the sun-dappled south of France, Emilie de la Martinieres, the last of her gilded line, inherits her childhood home, a magnificent chateau and vineyard. With the property comes a mountain of debt; and almost as many questions...

Paris, 1944: A bright, young British office clerk, Constance Carruthers, is sent undercover to Paris to be part of Churchill's Special Operations Executive during the climax of the Nazi occupation. Separated from her contacts in the Resistance, she soon stumbles into the heart of a prominent family who regularly entertain elite members of the German military even as they plot to liberate France. But in a city rife with collaborators and rebels, Constance's most difficult decision may be determining whom to trust with her heart.

As Emilie discovers what really happened to her family during the war and finds a connection to Constance much closer than she suspects, the chateau itself may provide the clues that unlock the mysteries of her past, present, and future. (from Goodreads)

I truly enjoyed The Lavender Garden, and not just because it was adult and a refreshing change from YA. I loved that the novel took on the task of telling two stories -- one set in more modern times (Emilie's tale) and one set in the past (Constance's tale). Seeing how the two plots were interwoven was absolutely fascinating! I finished the book feeling sated with how it all came to an end.

Of the two stories, Connie Carruther's was my favorite. It felt very intense and emotional, probably because it was set in a time of desperation, fear and war. Reading about Constance's life during Hitler's reign was really interesting. Everything that happened felt very authentic, and I was drawn right into her time from the start. She's an admirable character, and I certainly feel proud that I know her story now.

Emilie de la Martinieres has a story set in a time more modern, but I found it less likable. Initially, I found her story pretty choppy and predictable. But, slowly, she won me over as the book progressed because she changed. Instead of sitting back and having everything done for her, she took action, learned things and stood up for herself. I really liked how her story ended, if I'm being honest, because it's closer to the happy endings that I prefer myself!

The Lavender Garden contains a lot of nuances, as it weaves two stories together. It's quite well-done, however, and certainly will appeal to fans of historical fiction. I wish I hadn't put off reading it for so long, but now that I have read it, I'd highly recommend it as one of the stronger adult novels that I've read this year. 


  1. Another awesome book I shall add to my TBR list, thank you!

  2. YES!! I'm so happy you liked this one, Alexa! I have a copy of her upcoming novel (The Midnight Garden) that I'm dying to get to - 1920s India!!


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