The Girls in the Garden
By: Lisa Jewell
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: 6/7/2016
My Rating: 4 Stars
Imagine that you live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses. You’ve known your neighbors for years and you trust them. Implicitly. You think your children are safe. But are they really?
On a midsummer night, as a festive neighborhood party is taking place, preteen Pip discovers her thirteen-year-old sister Grace lying unconscious and bloody in a hidden corner of a lush rose garden. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?
Dark secrets, a devastating mystery, and the games both children and adults play all swirl together in this gripping novel, packed with utterly believable characters and page-turning suspense.
Fans of Liane Moriarty and Jojo Moyes will be captivated by The Girls in the Garden , the next unforgettable novel by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell.
A special thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Lisa Jewell returns following The Third Wife (2015) and The House We Grew Up In (2014) with her latest complex atmospheric domestic psychological suspense, THE GIRLS IN THE GARDEN. From dark secrets, an intriguing gripping mystery, keeping readers glued to the pages. A picturesque communal garden, in urban London, a midsummer night, in July--a party. Things go wrong. The mix of homes, families, personalities can become toxic, and dangerous. Who can they trust? What lies beneath this paradise? From the teens to the adults. Is it safe to enter another's home? Neighbors, friends, and family are in attendance. Clare and her two daughters, Pip (twelve) and Grace (thirteen) have moved to the new flat, overlooking a private park area. Where things are not as serene and peaceful as they appear. A secret garden is hidden inside an old wall covered with ivy. A rose garden with benches and a playground and even some swings. In the beginning Grace does not like the communal park. She says its weird and scary, probably full of murderers. Pip thinks it is kind of interesting and mysterious. People come and go. Grace later begins to become involved in the lives of the people who reside in the commune. On the night of Grace’s birthday, she goes missing and is attacked. When Pip finds her, all does not look good. Bloody and half clothed. The mystery begins and ties to another past mystery. Let the dark games begin! Jewell takes readers on a journey, beginning with Grace's tragedy. Then we move to the background, before the move to the communal garden. Through colorful art drawings and letters written by Pip to her Daddy, she illustrates the events of their daily lives through the eyes of a twelve-year-old. (a nice twist) Readers meet a variety of neighbors (suspects) with evil and mystery lurking behind every window. From peer pressure, lies, secrets, teens, sexuality, perversion, deceit, jealousy, and more. Adele, Gordon, Leo, Tyler, Dylan, Willow, Fern, Catkin, Robbie, Rhea, Mrs. H., Cecelia, Mrs. Wild, Don, etc. (sure I am leaving out many). The gang. A dad (schizophrenic) burned down their previous home and Pip is writing letters to him. Due to the tragedy, Clare has moved her daughters, Pip and Grace to Virginia Terrace. Lots of people, open to one another. However, are the children really safe? What secrets are they hiding? Friends, strangers, or killers? Clare’s daughters finding safe places away from her. Lies to cover up. Secrets to keep. Is her husband reentering the world, and will he turn their lives upside down? Claire and Pip prefer to stay to themselves; however, Grace is immersed in her new environment. From quirky, eccentric, disturbing, with animals and a dead fifteen-year-old girl. A multi-generational family drama, full of dysfunction. With Jewell’s own trademark style, she takes readers through several mysteries, and twists and turns---from Grace’s attack, to the previous past murder. Rich in character, (many flawed, mental illness, struggling); Readers who enjoy intense dark, complex family drama with a psychological twist, will appreciate. An explosive thrilling page-turner that will make you think about family, community, and who you can trust.
Lisa Jewell’s characters are so real that I finish every book half-expecting to bump into one of them. Modern, complex, intuitive, she just goes from strength to strength." – Jojo Moyes, author of After You
“Full of suspense yet emotionally grounded…Fans of Liane Moriarty, Paula Hawkins, and Carla Buckley will adore this peek inside a gated community that truly takes care of its own, no matter the consequences.”--Booklist (starred review) “Rich characterization and intricate plot development are combined with mid-chapter cliffhangers that cut from one character’s point of view to the next, resulting in a riveting pace. Vivid descriptions of the bucolic park contrast with the evil lurking around the themes of teenage sexuality, perversion, peer pressure, and the desire for a complete family. Jewell adeptly creates a pervasive atmosphere of unease in this well-spun narrative.” --Publishers Weekly (starred review) “Jewell crafts another page-turner that keeps the suspense flowing…[and] sharply evades the truth while bouncing the story among multiple characters’ perspectives. Recommended for lovers of mysteries built on the complexities of family and the dismantling of the idea that being part of a community keeps us safe.” --Library Journal “An intoxicating, spellbinding read that will make readers entranced with Lisa Jewell’s wicked and gorgeous prose…raw, intense, gritty, dark and suspenseful. If you are looking for a looking for a psychological thriller that will unfold secrets and truths in a shocking manner, this book is for you.” --Manhattan Book Review “An engaging and atmospheric read, Lisa beautifully conjures up the half-child half-adult lives of young teenagers.” --Jane Fallon, author of Skeletons “Oh but I loved this book – a magical garden right in the center of the city, a long, hot summer simmering away, a group of young teens, lurching between boredom and passion and ripe for their lives to start. And at its center a dark and disturbing mystery that keeps you turning the pages long into the night. Lisa Jewell is the most compassionate storyteller. She writes with such lightness of touch, yet her books pack a powerful punch. A stunning, beautiful, mesmerizing book that everyone will be reading this summer.” --Tamar Cohen, author of The Mistress's Revenge “Lisa creates beguiling characters, which dazzle from the page. This is a terrific suspense story told with that brooding promise of danger that taunts us to read on, to chase the elusive truth at the heart of the book.” --Rachel Hore, author of The House on Bellevue Gardens "Jewell offers an intriguing premise and characters…[and] creates a story ripe with anticipation and emotion." --Kirkus Reviews “Another winner. Beautiful writing, believable characters, a pacy narrative and dark secrets combine to make this a gripping read.”--London Daily Mail "Jewell pens a psychological thriller that leaves readers wondering if they really know all the answers. Children can be more frightening than adults, as she demonstrates in her brilliant portrayal of youthful deceit and jealousy. Each individual is vividly described and counterbalanced by their strengths and weaknesses."--RT Magazine
About the Author
Lisa was born in London in 1968. Her mother was a secretary and her father was a textile agent and she was brought up in the northernmost reaches of London with her two younger sisters. She was educated at a Catholic girls’ Grammar school in Finchley. After leaving school at sixteen she spent two years at Barnet College doing an arts foundation course and then two years at Epsom School of Art & Design studying Fashion Illustration and Communication.
She worked for the fashion chain Warehouse for three years as a PR assistant and then for Thomas Pink, the Jermyn Street shirt company for four years as a receptionist and PA. She started her first novel, Ralph’s Party, for a bet in 1996. She finished it in 1997 and it was published by Penguin books in May 1998. It went on to become the best-selling debut novel of that year.
She has since written a further nine novels, as is currently at work on her eleventh.