Sunday, July 20, 2014

Night Garden by Lisa VanAllen.......

*spoiler alerts on this review*

After my last nail biting, gritty read, Fiend, I wanted to relax and read a book that wouldn't stress me out.  It felt like some magical realism was in order.  So out came Night Garden, a book I had received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This is the second book that I have read by Lisa VanAllen, the first being The Wishing Thread.  The first book was okay - it never felt like it really hit it's mark.  Her second offering has definitely improved in terms of storytelling.
Olivia is a lonely gardener who grows a garden maze, but keeps herself isolated, refusing to let anyone touch her.  Sam is her childhood sweetheart, who has just returned to town.  They want to be with each other, but both are hiding secrets.  The first half of the book dragged a bit, and overall, I would say it's about 50 pages too long.  It felt like the descriptive set up dragged on a bit too long, but it was still interesting.
Once Sam and Olivia admit that they still love each other and start trying to overcome their obstacles, the book picked up, and it felt like the story moved at a good pace.
The magical realism was done very well, much better than her first book.  The ending felt a bit abrupt, but maybe it was just that I wished I knew if Olivia weaned herself off of her poison garden at the end, or if she and Sam still couldn't touch - the baby was a surprise, that I wish I knew more about.
This book should be on the list of any fan of Alice Hoffman or Sarah Addison Allen.
I give Night Garden 3.5 stars.

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