June 7, 2009

The French Gardener

The French Gardener: A Novel by Santa Montefiore
2009 Touchstone
Quit on 5/25/09
Rating: DNF

Publisher's Blurb:

A neglected garden. A cottage that holds a secret. A mysterious Frenchman (handsome, naturally). A family in need of some love. These elements are entwined in this heartwarming novel by the author reviewers consistently compare to Maeve Binchy and Rosamunde Pilcher.

It begins as Miranda and David Claybourne move into a country house with a once-beautiful garden. But reality turns out to be very different from their dream. Soon the latent unhappiness in the family begins to come to the surface, isolating each family member in a bubble of resentment and loneliness.

Then an enigmatic Frenchman arrives on their doorstep. With the wisdom of nature, he slowly begins to heal the past and the present. But who is he? When Miranda reads about his past in a diary she finds in the cottage by the garden, the whole family learns that a garden, like love itself, can restore the human spirit, not just season after season but generation after generation.

Wise and winsome, poignant and powerfully moving, The French Gardener is a contemporary story told with an old-fashioned sensibility steeped in the importance of family and the magical power of love.

Another gardening novel bites the dust! I love Rosamunde Pilcher, but the blurb has got it all wrong; this novel hardly comes close to her lovely writing and endearing characters. After close to a hundred pages, I decided I'd given it my best effort. Perhaps given more time, I would've come to care for the characters, but after just 40 pages, I was annoyed with Miranda (the self-absorbed mother), Gus (the bratty, cruel son), and David (the pompous cheating ass of a husband). I kept going, but finally had to call it quits. Life's too short! Time to move on.


  1. Darn. The title and write-up sounded intriguing. I was hoping for a gushing review. One good thing, I don't need to add another book to the list.

  2. I haven't even seen this book out there so now I know.....don't go near it!! LOL...anyway, you gave it a good shot 60 more pages than I would've!! Thanks for your honesty, it is very much appreciated!!

  3. Darn, I hate it when I have to give up on a book but you said it, life is too short. I have one of her books that sounds promising so I plan to give it a try one of these days. Hope it'll be good.

    Let's hope your next book is a winner!

  4. I noticed this book at B&N over the wkend.. and left it there. Good choice I see! You are right, life it Too Short for Bad Books.

  5. Booklogged - Would you like my copy?? I'd be more than happy to send it to you. It may be your favorite book of the year. One never knows!

    Staci - Well, you never know. It may be something you absolutely love. Please don't base your decision to skip it entirely on my review. I always feel bad when I post a review that isn't glowing. So much depends on my mood and what else is going on in my life. The past few months have been extremely busy and I think my reading is suffering.

    Iliana - There's a part of me that wonders if I should've stuck with this one a bit longer. I kept picturing the gardener as Johnny Depp. Sigh. ;) Let me know what you think of her other book. I may have to give it a try.

    Tara - I'm curious as to why you didn't pick it up. Just didn't appeal to you from what you read on the back cover? And, to be perfectly honest, it isn't really a BAD book. Just not one that appealed to me. I've read (or, rather, given up on) some terrible books before and this wasn't one. It seems to be well written and the pacing seems quite even. I just didn't care for the plot or characters. C'est la vie!

  6. Wouldn't you know, this one just arrived in my mailbox! I'll still give it a whirl. I hope I don't hate the characters as much as you did, but I have a bad feeling . . .

  7. Nancy - Oh, I hope you enjoy it more than I did. It has potential. I just think it could have been a timing issue for me.

  8. Her books are a little strange this way. It's the third that I've read. Usually I love the story, but can't stand the self-absorbed characters. Fortunately, they always seem to grow up by the end of the novel. I almost gave up on The Last Voyage of the Valentina for exactly the reasons why you gave up on this book, but in the end I'm glad I didn't. Definitely need to be in the right frame of mind though. I'm about halfway through and am enjoying the French Gardener.

  9. Sandy - Hmmm, glad to hear you're enjoying The French Gardener, but I don't think this is an author for me. Especially if her other books are all a little strange in this way. Thanks for stopping by with your comments!

  10. I am a first time visitor to this site. What a joy to hear frankness and truth. I hope to join and will be back Redhed57 rapsis

  11. Joanne - Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I hope you'll return.


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