Catching up on the couple from the end of November. Definitely didn’t bring my laptop with me to the wedding, so these ones were just going to wait.
THE GIRLS IN THE GARDEN – Lisa Jewell (Released June 7th, 2016)
Chandra and I have reviewed a few of her books together now and we decided to include this one in the #bravethebacklist challenge. You can see our reviews for THE FAMILY UPSTAIRS (here) and THEN SHE WAS GONE (here). We also read WATCHING YOU (5 star read for us both) and I FOUND YOU (4 stars for us both)
You live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses.
You’ve known your neighbours for years and you trust them. Implicitly.
You think your children are safe.
But are they really?
Midsummer night: a thirteen-year-old girl is found unconscious in a dark corner of the garden square. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?
Chandra’s Thoughts: 3/5 stars
Lisa Jewell is one of my favorite authors. I absolutely love her wicked mind and the way her stories unfold. I had heard mixed things regarding this read – some say it’s her BEST WORK EVER… while others didn’t finish and couldn’t understand the “hype”. Me? I’m a bit in the middle with this one.
This book starts out STRONG with its opening. Then immediately reverts to the past so we see all the events leading up to the initial event. There’s a “communal” type property where everyone is basically in everyone’s business and each family has their own issues. There are multiple POVs and to be honest, at first, I had a little issue keeping up with who was who and what was happening. As I read further, this became much clearer but I feel like maybe it could’ve worked a teensy bit better. I also didn’t see the point of the letters to Daddy. *shrug*
After the strong start, the book moved at a moderate pace, had a little bit of a lull and then began to unfold again once we got to the “After” section. I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of the ending. HOWEVER, I also really liked it. Can you have conflicting feelings about an ending? I hope so because that’s where I’m living right now.
My Thoughts: 3.5/5 stars
I had originally had this at 4 stars, but having some time to think about it since finishing I decided it was more at a 3.5 for me. Having read a few other books by Jewell now, I think this one was still great, just not my favorite of what I’ve picked up so far. Of course, 3.5 stars is still a great rating in my mind, so I haven’t been disappointed yet by Jewell. I had heard great things about THE GIRLS IN THE GARDEN, and that’s always the risk with reading something long after others have because there can be a hype built up and that can always set expectations higher.
We start out with a bang and a somewhat gruesome scene, then Jewell takes us back in time to see the events that led to this opening. We are brought through multiple POVs and while that’s something I love in thrillers/suspense novels, there were a lot to keep up with. Things got a little muddled for me at first then I caught on to how everyone fit together with their character development.
While this did keep my attention throughout, there was a small lull for me but then it picked up again as the ending approached. Overall, I will continue to pick up anything I find from Jewell. I love her writing and how she unfolds these suspense/thrillers for us. There’s just something about it that sucks you in from the beginning and you can’t wait to fly through it.