69. The Garden of Lost Secrets by A. M. Howell

Another book bought when I should have only been ‘browsing.’

Synopsis (as taken from the back of the book) is as follows:

October, 1916.

Clara has been sent to stay with her aunt and uncle while England is at war. But when she reaches their cottage on an enormous country estate, Clara is plunged into a tangle of secrets…A dark, locked room, a scheming thief, and a mysterious boy who only appears at night.

Clara has a secret of her own too – a terrible one about her brother, fighting in the war. And as the secrets turn to danger, Clara must find the courage to save herself, and those around her…

Ability to read -I’m a sucker for anything that has the word ‘mysterious’ in it and this book had bucket loads of mysteriousness. It was very easy for me to get into this book and to understand what was happening to and around the characters involved. There were a few sub-plots within the story but they all worked cohesively and came together at the end to form one unified plot.

Characterisation – Clara was a character who had a curious minds and wasn’t some one who cowered under rules or restrictions. I felt that as a character she grasped whole of her situation with both hands and decided that she would uncover what everyone was hiding and not sit at home wallowing in the situation she was in. I enjoyed her inquisitive mind and the way she stuck to her guns and not changing the course of her decisions. I felt like Clara was a character who made others analyse their actions and push to better themselves, rather than it being Clara who changed and became better. In nature I thought Clara was very sweet and warm and had a sunny personality that as the reader, I felt I could stand behind.

Visualisation – It was easy to visualise what was happening in the story. The map at the beginning of the book certainly helped to put things into perspective and helped me navigate the different settings of the book. I found the characters to be rich in their descriptions and though there seemed to be many players, character wise, I could still pick out individuals and know of their behaviour and emotions without them all rolling into one.

Uniqueness – This book was an addictive read, meaning that once I started I couldn’t put it down until I stopped. There is an element of magical mystery that inhabits children’s books that I think is absent in adult mysteries. I enjoyed reading this immensely and thought the many layers of storyline to be original and captivating. There was a charm to this book that brought a smile to my face. It was unique enough for me to earn a place on my ‘keep’ shelf but I do realise that what I find unique in a book, others might not. If you’re a fan of charming mysteries with bravery and secrets all rolled up in a historical setting, then this book is for you.

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