Popsugar Reading Challenge 2021 – Book 11

Prompt: A book about do overs or fresh starts

There’s a whole subgenre of “women’s fiction” features people uprooting and starting over. Leaving the city and heading to the country or inheriting run down businesses or houses from distant relatives and deciding to give it a go. I don’t tend to read too many of them, but I do find they are comforting reads for winter nights and rainy days. For this prompt I chose The Winter Garden by Heidi Swain which was the My Book Moment choice for December.

What’s it about?

Freya Fuller is estranged from her parents and has been following her childhood dream of becoming a gardener ever since. When an opportunity to design a winter garden opens up at a Victorian property in Nightingale Square, Freya jumps at the chance to make a fresh start.

But while the majority of the residents are welcoming, local artist Finn seems determined to shut her out, and when Freya’s family make a surprise appearance, it seems that her new life is about to come crashing down . . .

What I think:

I enjoyed Poppy’s Recipe for Life which was the summer visit to Nightingale Square so was looking forward to revisiting this idyllic community.

Freya is a gardener. She has a passion for plants and there is a lot of talk about plants and gardening in this book.

Love interest Finn is an artist making sculptures for the refurbished garden.

Of course they fancy the pants off each other as soon as they meet! Unfortunately I didn’t find this romance as appealing as Poppy and Jacob. Finn is very sulky – often for no reason that a thirty second conversation or a decent phone wouldn’t resolve.

Freya and Finn spend the first half of the book angry and avoiding each other for no real reason.

Neither Freya’s nor Finn’s family is as ghastly as the blurb would have you believe. To be honest at no point was I concerned that Freya’s new life was about to “come crashing down”.

This is a nice enough story but just felt a bit lacking to me. There was no real tension – the “villains” were a bit hammy and a lot of the tension could have been resolved in a matter of minutes.

Nightingale Square is a lovely creation – it is definitely the sort of place you dream of living. I’m sure I will return if the author does.

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