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The Gardener

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The terms at his public school and the wonderful Christmas, Easter, and Summer holidays followed each other, variegated and glorious as jewels on a string; and as jewels Helen treasured them.

Working on her untended garden and walking through the ancient countryside, and most particularly an ancient wood, the various hurst and traumas she has sustained fall away and she finds new life beginning to evolve within her. And that leisurely growth is forever stunted – even a power out, or blown fuse, or whatever it is that afflicts the house before it's shipshape, is just mentioned and then ignored.It opened my eyes to a world full of talent and ingenuity and it was great to see and connect with so many people doing and making amazing things they believed in. Under the bracken, under the soil, under the forest, under the water, the garden’s history is there.

It’s a simple story, episodic, with no danger or too much heartbreak; just a tale of place, community, and time helping to heal a person’s heartbreak, broken relationships, and loss.Lieutenant Michael Turrell - my nephew", said Helen slowly and word for word, as she had many thousands of times in her life. Some have a troubling past, while others have ignited human creativity or enabled whole civilizations to flourish. Getting over” the loss of someone we love by way of a dramatic change in lifestyle is a familiar pursuit, in theory if not in practice. The gardener of the novel’s title is Murat, a local Albanian immigrant hired by Hassie to help her tame the cottage’s neglected grounds. Other perennials, from Nelly East’s time, were re-emerging… But happy as I was to see all this, what was most thrilling was the sight of the seeds Murat and I had sown germinating in the darkness of the potting shed.

When I saw that Salley Vickers’ eleventh novel, The Gardener, had been released, I looked out for it on my next library trip. Its grand name, Knight’s Fee, as Hassie later learns, is a “foolish gentrification” of the original Wight’s (man’s) Folly. One of my favourite elements of Vickers’ writing is the way in which her descriptions give a gently haunting feel to the whole. Hass and Margot, two middle-aged sisters, have a fractious relationship, but have clubbed together with their inheritances and bought a large cottage in an olde-timey English village. Alongside Hassie’s present day existence, we learn very early on that she is still locked into her childhood, and the pains which have filled her past.If there is one theme that runs through all of her novels, it is that people are a great deal more complicated than they appear at first glance. The books featured on this site are aimed primarily at readers aged 13 or above and therefore you must be 13 years or over to sign up to our newsletter. Although neither of them has any horticultural knowledge, they work together to weed the overgrown garden beds, mow the lawns, repair broken trellises and plant new plants. Our narrator, Hassie Days (it is revealed) is writing to her unborn child and the father has got to be Murat, the Albanian gardener with the beautiful white teeth and dazzling smile.

It struck her at the time that the wretched thing was never left alone for a single second; and "I'm being manufactured into a bereaved next of kin", she told herself, as she prepared her documents. Of especial interest, and one which Vickers develops slowly, is the relevance of the mysterious pool in the wood adjacent to Knight’s Fee, and the allegations of the village that Nelly East was weird and believed she had fairies at the bottom of her garden.I remember selling my first book, a little handmade one of short stories, and the money I got from that was a different money I got from washing plates or pouring pints or sitting babies. The storylines were unimaginative,twee and superficial and the characters often stereotypical and irritating.

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