Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Sea Garden by Deborah Lawrenson {Blog Tour & Review}

The Sea GardenMod

Deborah Lawrenson photo credit Rebecca Eifion-Jones

After a childhood of constant moves around the world - my family lived at various times in Kuwait, China, Belgium, Luxembourg and Singapore - I read English at Trinity College, Cambridge. I trained as a journalist on a weekly South London newspaper, then worked on several national newspapers and magazines.

My first novel, Hot Gossip (1994), was a satire based on my experiences working on Nigel Dempster's diary column, and was followed by a sequel, Idol Chatter (1995). The Moonbathers, a black comedy, followed in 1998.

The Art of Falling was a complete change of direction, which took five years to research and write. But trying to get it published was like starting from scratch again. In the end, after many false dawns and disappointments, I published it myself under the Stamp Publishing imprint in September 2003. Almost immediately it became clear that the novel had struck a chord with booksellers and reading groups around my home in Kent. Ottakar's liked it enough to recommend it to their stores nationwide, and the rights were sold to Random House. The Art of Falling was republished by Arrow in July 2005 and chosen as one of the books for the WHSmith Fresh Talent promotion that summer. It went on to sell more than all my previous books put together!

Songs of Blue and Gold (2008) was in a similar style: a story that grew out of a book trail that began with the writer Lawrence Durrell and Corfu, my insatiable curiosity about past events and a love for the warmer shores and colours of southern Europe.

Provence was the setting of The Lantern (2011). This was my first novel to appear in the USA, where it was published by HarperCollins to a fantastic critical reception; it was an Indie Next pick and a Costco Pennie's Pick. In the UK it was chosen for The TV Book Club Summer Reads on Channel4 and More4 and shortlisted for the RNA's 2012 Romantic Novel of the Year award in the Epic category.

Hot GossipIdol ChatterThe MoonbathersThe Art of FallingSongs of Blue and GoldThe Lantern

The Sea Garden (2014) opens in the South of France on the Mediterranean island of Porquerolles and revisits one of the settings of The Lantern, as well as one of its characters, Marthe Lincel the perfume maker.

I currently divide my time between rural Kent and a crumbling hamlet in Provence, which is the atmospheric setting for The Lantern.

Romance, suspense, and World War II mystery are woven together in three artfully linked novellas-rich in drama and steeped in atmosphere-from the critically acclaimed author of The Lantern


On the lush Mediterranean island of Porquerolles off the French coast, Ellie Brooke, an award-winning British landscape designer, has been hired to restore a memorial garden. Unsettled by its haunted air and the bitterness of the garden's owner, an elderly woman who seems intent on undermining her, Ellie finds that her only ally on the island is an elusive war historian …


Near the end of World War II, Marthe Lincel, a young blind woman newly apprenticed at a perfume factory in Nazi-occupied Provence, finds herself at the center of a Resistance cell. When tragedy strikes, she faces the most difficult choice of her life …


Iris Nightingale, a junior British intelligence officer in wartime London, falls for a French agent. But after a secret landing in Provence goes wrong, he vanishes. When France is liberated, Iris is determined to uncover the truth. Was he the man he claimed to be?

Ingeniously interconnected, this spellbinding triptych weaves three parallel narratives into one unique tale of love, mystery, and murder. The Sea Garden is a vivid and absorbing chronicle of love and loss in the fog of war-and a penetrating and perceptive examination of the impulses and circumstances that shape our lives.

We begin the first of three interconnected novellas with Ellie – a talented landscape designer who has been hired to restore an estate garden on the beautiful island of Porquerolles.  She travels to meet her potential client and is torn between the owner and his elderly mother who tries her best to scare off Ellie.

The second tale is of perfume maker Marthe – who is blind and in the middle of a Nazi occupied Porquerolles during World War 2.  Life is far from easy, with people going missing, property being taken and tragedy constantly looming around the next bend.  With those around her fighting for the Resistance, she’s drawn into the fold and facing some choices that could threaten not only her life but those around her.

The final tale is of Iris.  A young woman working in London for the British Intelligence.  Part of a group who helps agents move from England to France and back with information to help in the fight against the Nazis.  Once agent in particular has her intrigued and changes her life.  When he disappears, she spends years trying to uncover what happened to him..

This was an interesting read, we start in the present and move back to the past and at the end all come together to finish a fantastic tale.  Filled with mystery, romance and intrigue this book had me hooked from the beginning right up until the end.  Of the three stories the last one with Iris was my favorite, followed by the tale of Marthe. 

Would I recommend this book?  Yes.  I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first got the book – to be honest I was so drawn to the cover that I could say no.  As I read, the more I loved Deborah’s writing style, she pulled me into the story keeping me intrigued and wanting to find out how these three came together.  Would I read more by this author?  Most definitely.  I’m going to pick up the Lantern sometime this summer!

1 comment:

  1. I love stories with a mix of past and present. I'm glad you enjoyed this one!

    Thank for being a part of the tour.


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