Adult, ARC review, blog tour, book review

The Forbidden Garden by Ellen Herrick (Blog Tour & ARC Review)

30653962Title: The Forbidden Garden
Author: Ellen Herrick
Type: Fiction
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Mystery, Contemporary
Imprint: William Morrow
Publisher: HarperCollins
Date published: April 4, 2017
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 400unnamed (1).png
Source: Blog Tour Host

A physical copy of the book was kindly provided by the blog tour host, in exchange for an honest review.

Summary: Half a world away in the Pacific, Kay is trapped in a squalid Japanese POW camp in Manila, one of thousands of Allied men, women, and children whose fates rest in the hands of a sadistic enemy. Far from the familiar safety of the small Pennsylvania coal town of her childhood, Kay clings to memories of her happy days posted in Hawaii, and the handsome flyer who swept her off her feet in the weeks before Pearl Harbor. Surrounded bycruelty and death, Kay battles to maintain her sanity and save lives as best she can . . . and live to see her beloved friend Jo once more.

When the conflict at last comes to an end, Jo and Kay discover that to achieve their own peace, they must find their place—and the hope of love—in a world that’s forever changed. With rich, superbly researched detail, Teresa Messineo’s thrilling novel brings to life the pain and uncertainty of war and the sustaining power of love and friendship, and illuminates the lives of the women who risked everything to save others during a horrifying time.



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The cover, as is the case with many of the books I pick up, is what caught my attention first. The soft colours combined with the floral design really spoke to me, and were just pleasing to the eye! I know that we all say, don’t judge a book by its cover, but the truth is that there is no way of knowing the interior of a book when just seeing it sitting upon a shelf. Inevitably then, we have to rely on a book’s exterior to catch our attention first! The entire cover design on this book was just very very pretty, and it made me want to know more about the book, which then lead me to read the summary.

While I do think that the blurb could have been more enticing, it did the job in capturing my interest enough to request the book for review, as well as being part of the blog tour. When I received the book, I found that the back of the book (which holds a significant bit of importance itself, since it presents early praise and the summary), was also very well-designed. Whoever was in charge of designing the cover of The Forbidden Garden back and front, definitely knew what they were doing!

C8Mqxw9UIAE4HXsThe first thing I noticed when I had the book in my hands and started reading it, was that Herrick has a gift for storytelling. This book is written in the third person (my favourite narrative style), and just the manner in which Herrick narrates her story, really pulled me in. Nothing particularly exciting happens within the first chapter, but I was hooked simply due to the smooth pacing, and seamless flow in the storytelling.

I was unaware of this until a few pages in, but there is a book written by the same author titled The Sparrow Sisters, which I did not know about previously. I wish that I had been aware of this sooner, since I would have made the time to read the previous book first, and would therefore gotten more of a sense of the characters. As it was, I felt as if I had gone to the bathroom during a dinner party, and returned while someone who was telling a story at the table had already gone over the basics, the set-up. Despite this, however, I did warm up to Sorrel, but just find that I might have known her a little better if I had met her in The Sparrow Sisters first. Sometime in the near future, I may read the first book, and then follow up with The Secret Garden and see how my experience is changed by it.

Before this, I had never read a book which was so focused on the act of gardening and plants, and I have to say that it was a very interesting experience for me! I have always been fascinated with gardening and growing things, but have much time to dedicate to it. The few times that I was able to devote enough time to grow something to completion, such as the Jalapeno plants I grew last Summer, from which I could actually pick the peppers and eat them, I found that I was filled with an immense sense of pride and wonder. I can definitely see why Sorrel and her sisters, as well as the author herself, would devote time to plants and gardening if only for that feeling alone.

There were hints of magic to this book, and while I am a lover of magic and fantasy, I found that I appreciated the subtlety with which it was referred to within the story. The whole plot itself almost felt a little surreal in itself, like a story about something which took place in the real world that is being told by someone who sees the world through a magical lens, someone who sees wonder where others see something normal, and entirely magic-less.

Overall this was a very pleasant read, and I will be recommending it to those who enjoy contemporary books, as well as fantasy, and especially those readers who enjoy blurring the line between those two genres.



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Ellen Herrick was a publishing professional in New York City until she and her husband moved to London for a brief stint; they returned nearly twenty years later with three children (her own, it must be said). She now divides her time between Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a small town on Cape Cod very much like Granite Point. Find out more about Ellen at her website and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.



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More purchase options can be found on the Harper Collins site, here!




0 thoughts on “The Forbidden Garden by Ellen Herrick (Blog Tour & ARC Review)

    1. It really really is! I also cannot wait to read the first book, and then re-read The Forbidden Garden. Thank you for accepting me as part of the tour! 🙂

  1. I love ‘hints’ of magic in stories. I can almost imagine these things happening in real life when the magic is subdued and could be explained away, you know? I like to imagine there’s a little bit of magic in the world, anyway. 🙂

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