The present: Emilie de la Martinieres has always fought against her aristocratic background, but after the death of her glamorous, distant mother, she finds herself alone in the world and sole inheritor of her grand childhood home in the south of France.
An old notebook of poems leads her in search of the mysterious and beautiful Sophia, whose tragic love affair changed the course of her family history.
As Emilie unravels the story, she too embarks on her own journey of discovery, realising that the chateau may provide clues to her own difficult past and finally unlock the future.
The past: London 1943. A young office clerk, Constance Carruthers, is drafted into the SOE, arriving in occupied Paris during the climax of the conflict.
Separated from her contact in her very first hours in France, she stumbles into the heart of a wealthy family who are caught up in a deadly game of secrets and lies.
Forced to surrender her identity and all ties to her homeland and her beloved husband, Constance finds herself drawn into a complex web of deception, the repercussions of which will affect generations to come. From the author of the international bestseller, Hothouse Flower, Lucinda Riley's new novel is a breathtaking and intense story of love, war and, above all, forgiveness. ** Note to readers: In the US, this book is published under the title The Lavender Garden. **
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 544 pages
- Publisher: Pan Macmillan
- Publication Date: 30/08/2012
- Category: Sagas
- ISBN: 9781447218425
- EPUB from £4.31
Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.
Review by wyvernfriend
Christmas gift from my mother. Not the worst of the genre that I've read but it didn't really sing to me.I guessed some of the twists from fairly early on and was proven pretty right all the way.The story is split between two times, present and past and the past involves a young beautiful SOE operative who finds herself in Paris during World War II, in the house of a man playing a deadly game of secrets and lies with the Nazis. She has to play the games to stay alive and try to keep herself from betraying everyone.The other story, which also serves as the framing device is set in the present, Emile de la Martinieres, a vet who inherits her family chateau in the south of France and stumbles her way through love and deception to unravel the story of Sophia who is one of the generation from World War II. Along the way she finds herself drawn to two brothers from England, one of whom she marries.I found it readable and don't regret reading it but it didn't leave me wanting to find more by this author. The twists were heavily flagged and several of the characters seemed to be to shallow and incapable of acting for themselves, while being described as strong people.
Review by DubaiReader
Originally published as The Lavender Garden.This is the second book by Lucinda Riley that I have read and I enjoyed this one more than Hothouse Flower (U.S. title The Orchid House). This is another split-time novel, part of which is again set during WWII.In 1943, Constance Carruthers, with her husband missing in action, trains to become an agent for the Special Operations Executive. Her plans to make a difference behind the scenes are shattered when her contacts fail and she finds herself living an alias in the mansion of Edouard de la Marinieres and his sister, Sophie. He is leading a double life and she must play along in the charade.The present day story involves Emilie de la Marinieres, who has travelled to France to sort out the mansion she inherited on her mother's death. She must decide whether to sell it to pay her mother's debts, or find some other way out of the mess she finds herself in. Enter a knight in shining armour, in the person of Stephen Carruthers, an art expert who offers to help her find buyers for the art works.You will already have spotted the similar names and Ms Riley weaves a complicated story around these four characters and their connections. There is also a fifth character who plays a significant part, Stephen's house-bound brother in Scotland.A well written novel with excellent characters that dropped a star because I found Emilie just a bit too pathetic and gullible, Otherwise, well worth the read.
Review by alisonb60
I love this story and thoroughly recommend it. A heartwarming tale divided between life in France in 1943 and the present time. I was wondering how it would end up until the very last minute. I think it is wonderfully written and I am off to find out more Riley's books.