The truly romantic new novel from Santa Montefiore - Hodder's answer to Danielle Steel
Santa Montefiore was born in England in 1970 to an Anglo-Argentine mother, and read Spanish and Italian at Exeter University. After a year teaching English on an Argentine estancia, she spent much of the nineties in Buenos Aires. She lives in London with her husband, the historian Simon Sebag Montefiore, and their children, Lily and Sasha.
Montefiore's well-crafted, evocative novel is instantly sensual and welcoming. When Miranda Claybourne's seven-year-old is expelled from school, the stylish Londoner, magazine writer and mother of two, ditches her posh Notting Hill digs for the idylls of a country estate. But her simple-life fantasies soon fail. Her husband's preoccupied with his job and his mistress; the kids lash out at each other while Gus, the elder, terrorizes both farm animals and his new classmates. Enter Jean-Paul, a handsome, mysterious Frenchman with an offer to tend her woefully neglected gardens. Cleaning out the estate's rundown cottage for Jean-Paul, she discovers the secret journals of the previous lady of the house-a brilliant gardener, Ava Lightly, and her love affair. As if by magic, Miranda's garden begins to thrive and she owes it all to Jean-Paul, with whom she thinks she's falling in love. The drama of the journals distract from her own failing marriage, and Miranda delights in the idea that her life is running parallel to Ava's-it's a lovely coincidence, until she stops to consider exactly what may have drawn Jean-Paul into her garden. (June) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
'Intricate and well written - perfect for a rainy bank holiday.' -- Company 'A great tale, beautifully told' -- New Woman 'It twangs on every heartstring, presses every button and is utterly irresistible ... It's lovely stuff - glossy lifestyle glamour with a soul ... you're spellbound by the sheer charm of the enterprise.' -- Daily Express
Miranda and David Claybourne purchase a house in the English countryside after their son is kicked out of his London school, hoping that a new environment will solve his aggression problem. David rather fancies being lord of the manor, commuting from the City on weekends, while freelance writer Miranda turns her struggle to adapt to country life into a witty column that hides how much she misses her old life. Both parents are too self-absorbed to notice that their son and daughter are terribly lonely. It takes a mysterious Frenchman, hired to work in their neglected garden, to see just how unhappy this family is and to work to change that. VERDICT With its realistic characters and vividly described world, which readers will be reluctant to leave, Montefiore's (Last Voyage of the Valentina) charming, moving novel will appeal to fans of Like Water for Chocolate. A perfect book for a lazy summer day.-Elizabeth Mellett, Brookline P.L., MA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.