Title: The Girls in the Garden
Author: Lisa Jewell
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: June 7, 2016
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.
"They’ve all got the capacity for evil. Give them free range over a piece of territory, like that out there, and you’ve got Lord of the Flies. You cannot afford to take your eye off the ball for a second. Not for even a second. You know, you think you’re keeping your girls all pure and unsullied in this gilded cage of yours. But what you don’t seem to realize is that you can protect children from the world, but you can’t protect children from themselves.”
The Girls in the Garden was a compelling story. It had mystery and intrigue. The author keeps us guessing as to who is to blame when a thirteen-year-old girl is found hurt and bloody in the community's rose garden after a neighborhood party.
The book begins with Clare and her two daughters: Pip and Grace. They have moved after losing their home to a fire.
Grace is your typical girl, she is upset to the world until she meets a beautiful boy. Then, she starts wearing make-up and disappearing with him on multiple occasions.
Clare is still trying to piece her life back together. She is not sure what to do and how to handle the big changes they have experienced after the fire took away their house.
Pip is the youngest daughter. Still a homebody. She misses her father tremendously and she is not sure if the gang of children even like her. She doesn't trust the adults either. She is torn between telling her mother the things that are happening around them and keeping her sister's secrets. Pip does worry about her family after she learns of the death of a young teenager girl, Phoebe Rednough, in the rose garden years ago. Her death was never solved but drugs were involved. Pip starts asking questions and the answers point to too many possibilities.
I like following the clues Lisa gives us. I was desperate to know what really happened and if I was right about my suspicions. I also liked learning more about the father and his own personal situation.
One thing I was not crazy about was that I felt like the person/people responsible for Grace's attack didn't get punished the way it deserved. Maybe, it is just me who felt this way.
A complimentary copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
There's only one word that comes to mind when I think about THE GIRLS IN THE GARDEN, and that word is: odd.
This novel was odd from the first page to the last. The story was complicated and slow paced which worked extremely well for this particular group of characters.
Clare and her two daughters Grace and Pip move to a new house under extremely unexpected circumstances. They are welcomed to the area with opened arms from some of the other neighborhood residents. The girls quickly make friends with the “gang” of kids that play and hang out in the park.
One night when all the kids are playing and the adults are drinking, Pip finds Grace unconscious with her clothes disheveled. No one knows what happened to her, and as we learn about the characters and the events that lead up to her discovery we find out that things in this quaint little area is not as they may seem.
“I’m talking about kids, Mrs. H. Terrible, dreadful, blasted awful kids. They’ve all got darkness inside them. They’ve all got the capacity for evil. Give them free range over a piece of territory, like that out there, and you’ve got Lord of the Flies. You cannot afford to take your eye off the ball for a second. Not for even a second. You know, you think you’re keeping your girls all pure and unsullied in this gilded cage of yours. But what you don’t seem to realize is that you can protect children from the world, but you can’t protect children from themselves”
THE GIRLS IN THE GARDEN is the second novel by Lisa Jewell that I’ve read. One thing I’ve come to appreciate about her stories is the unique characters she creates. Each character introduced in this novel has a specific role that helps give depth and keeps the novel rolling at a slow and intoxicating pace. The chilling secrets and information we discover about them will have you questioning everyone.
The way the story was introduced and told kept me guessing until the very end, and while this wasn’t an action packed novel it still kept me thoroughly engaged. THE GIRLS IN THE GARDEN was a fresh story that I’ll be thinking about for a while. The oddity and uniqueness of this book makes for some great discussions. Highly recommend!!