Author: Helen Humphreys
Summary: A 35-year old spinster with a wicked wit and a fondness for literature, Gwen arrives at her new post to find that the group of "Land Girls" she's to supervise have little interest in planting. They're far more eager to cultivate the human crop -- a regiment of Canadian soldiers stationed at the estate, awaiting their assignment. Allying herself with the Canadians' commanding officer, Gwen strategically wins the girls' cooperation by agreeing to a series of evening dances at which they may mix with the soldiers. Pleased to again be in control of her environment, Gwen makes two life-changing discoveries. The first is the existence of feelings she's never before allowed herself to experience. The second is a hidden, abandoned garden on the estate, the secrets of which Gwen is compelled to unlock.
My Rating: 7.25/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: I liked the book, but I didn't exactly love it. I found it took a long time to warm up to the main character, and even then, she wasn't exactly the most likable person.
I found the ending was hurried. The author took care in developing the time spent building the relationship between characters and the story itself during of the time spent with the garden. Which was something I appreciated, some of the things that were revealed, particularly to the narrator about the other characters, were well done. Gwen does grow as a character, and this was mainly done through her interactions with the other characters, as it's revealed there was more to them than meets the eye. But the ending came, and it was wrapped up to fast, considering the time the author took to get to it.
I didn't exactly like the characters to much, although I didn't hate them either. While Gwen does grow by the end of the book, I disliked her and the way she treated most of the other characters throughout the book. I did like how she started to grow by the end, she began to let go of her initial impressions of people, and open herself up, but I still didn't find her to be a likeable character. A well written one, yes. Unfortunately for me she wasn't one I enjoyed reading about, and since this was such a character driven book, I think how the reader reacts to Gwen influences the overall impression of the book. In the end, it was a good read.
Would I recommend it to read: I would, it was an interesting story, it wouldn't be at the top of my list of recommended reads, but some readers would find it worth checking out.
What to read next: War on the Margins, The Guernsey and Potato Peel Pie Society