Book Review: The Lavender Garden

The Lavender Garden CoverBook: The Lavender Garden by Lucinda Riley

Published June 2013 by Atria Books|Pages: 418

Series: None

Genre: Adult Fiction

Goodreads|Lucinda Riley

The Lavender Garden is an e-book from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review

Goodreads Summary: An aristocratic French family, a legendary château, and buried secrets with the power to destroy two generations torn between duty and desire.

La Côte d’Azur, 1998: In the sun-dappled south of France, Emilie de la Martinières, the last of her gilded line, inherits her childhood home, a magnificent château 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 château itself may provide the clues that unlock the mysteries of her past, present, and future. Here is a dazzling novel of intrigue and passion from one of the world’s most beloved storytellers.

I’m sort of hesitant about books that have a dual-time thing going on, because I almost always find the past a lot more interesting than the present.  For most of the book, The Lavender Garden was no exception to this.

So, Paris towards the end of the war.  I absolutely loved Constance’s story and how her role in MI5 changed.  I loved seeing her connection to an important family in Paris, and the sacrifices she made and the relationships she formed while in Paris.  I couldn’t wait to read more of Constance’s story, the ending of which broke my heart.  I felt like Constance could have been a real person, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she represented quite a few real life people.

As for Emilie’s story, it wasn’t until Constance’s story was finished that I actually cared about Emilie’s story.  For the most part, I didn’t like Emilie’s story.  It was strange, because I loved Constance’s story and so strongly disliked Emilie’s story.  I get why Emilie acted the way she did, and why she distanced herself from the life her mother had.  But I didn’t find her likable and she was hard to relate to at first.  And her marriage to Sebastian…totally didn’t like their relationship.  At all.  There was something off about their relationship from the beginning, and it was a little too insta-love-ish for me.  Granted, Emilie was feeling pretty vulnerable and overwhelmed when she met him, which would explain why they got married so fast.  All in all, Emilie’s story was a little too hard to believe.

There was a point where I did start to like Emilie’s story, and that was when she finally learned about Constance and how she helped her now-deceased aunt.  I liked seeing Emilie learn that her cousin was the woman who looked after her and her family’s home for so long.  It was amazing to see how much Emilie’s story mirrored Constance’s story and I liked seeing how everything connected.

Final Thoughts:

I LOVED Constance’s story, but didn’t find Emilie’s story compelling until we got to the end of Constance’s story.  Constance’s story and the ending were great enough to make me really like it, but it’s a little sad that I didn’t connect with Emilie in any way until the end.  The Lavender Garden gets 4 stars.

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