A historical fiction set in England and involving a garden seemed an obvious choice for me. Well, it was all that and more and I loved it! Julia Kelly has woven the stories of strong women during three different times in the history of a garden created for an English country manor house in 1907. Venetia, Beth, Stella and Emma are just a few of the characters who live through the very real life issues of their times in history. The garden description is detailed and vivid and I can easily imagine myself walking through it. So beautifully written I never wanted it to end. Now to plan my garden...
— Laura B.
From the author of the international bestsellers The Light Over London and The Whispers of War comes “a compelling read, filled with lovable characters and an alluring twist of fates” (Ellen Keith, author of The Dutch Wife) about five women living across three different times whose lives are all connected by one very special garden.
Present day: Emma Lovett, who has dedicated her career to breathing new life into long-neglected gardens, has just been given the opportunity of a lifetime: to restore the gardens of the famed Highbury House estate, designed in 1907 by her hero Venetia Smith. But as Emma dives deeper into the gardens’ past, she begins to uncover secrets that have long lain hidden.
1907: A talented artist with a growing reputation for her work, Venetia Smith has carved out a niche for herself as a garden designer to industrialists, solicitors, and bankers looking to show off their wealth with sumptuous country houses. When she is hired to design the gardens of Highbury House, she is determined to make them a triumph, but the gardens—and the people she meets—promise to change her life forever.
1944: When land girl Beth Pedley arrives at a farm on the outskirts of the village of Highbury, all she wants is to find a place she can call home. Cook Stella Adderton, on the other hand, is desperate to leave Highbury House to pursue her own dreams. And widow Diana Symonds, the mistress of the grand house, is anxiously trying to cling to her pre-war life now that her home has been requisitioned and transformed into a convalescent hospital for wounded soldiers. But when war threatens Highbury House’s treasured gardens, these three very different women are drawn together by a secret that will last for decades.
“Gorgeously written and rooted in meticulous period detail, this novel is vibrant as it is stirring. Fans of historical fiction will fall in love with The Last Garden in England” (Roxanne Veletzos, author of The Girl They Left Behind).
About the Author
Julia Kelly is the award-winning author of books about ordinary women and their extraordinary stories. In addition to writing, she’s been an Emmy-nominated producer, journalist, marketing professional, and (for one summer) a tea waitress. Julia called Los Angeles, Iowa, and New York City home before settling in London. Readers can visit JuliaKellyWrites.com to learn more about all of her books and sign up for her newsletter so they never miss a new release.
Praise for The Last Garden in England
"[A] touching, immersive read with definite appeal for aficionados of Downton Abbey and Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’ The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2008)...Subplots involving love, loss, and hope for new beginnings gracefully intertwine, and readers will be enraptured by the garden theme…Like gardens themselves, these pages invite lingering and thoughtful reflection.”—Booklist
"Julia Kelly’s captivating novel, The Last Garden in England, is as immersive as it is enchanting...Historical fiction at its very best."—Patti Callahan, New York Times bestselling author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis
"Three women across time are connected by a garden in Kelly’s enjoyable and richly detailed latest…Kelly balances Emma’s detective work reviewing papers and records found in the house with Venetia’s slow-burn tragedy and the twist that defines Beth’s relationship to the gardens. Kelly easily delivers everything her fans will expect.”—Publishers Weekly
"Kelly’s novel encompasses everything I love in historical fiction: a dramatic setting depicted so vividly I could’ve sworn I was strolling through the gardens of Highbury House as I turned the pages, and a series of stories that intertwine each other effortlessly, echoing the theme of love lost and found. A delight."—Fiona Davis, nationally bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue
"Like the petals of Highbury House's enchanting roses, Julia Kelly's latest novel unfurls to reveal layered stories of long-lost secrets. The Last Garden in England is a compelling read, filled with loveable characters and an alluring twist of fates." —Ellen Keith, bestselling author of The Dutch Wife
"In this beautiful tale of love, heartbreak and re-invention, Julia Kelly draws us deeply into the heart of the English countryside and a mysterious garden where the destinies of women living decades apart collide in unexpected, transformative ways. Gorgeously written and rooted in meticulous period detail, this novel is vibrant as it is stirring. Fans of historical fiction will fall in love with The Last Garden in England."—Roxanne Veletzos, bestselling author of The Girl They Left Behind
"Bestselling author Julia Kelly plants the seed of an idea, nurtures it into a vivid, intriguing seedling, then fertilizes, prunes, and shapes its various twisting branches into a stunning garden. Connected across the decades by a garden in desperate need of their care, three fascinating women grow alongside one another, shedding secrets and insecurities, eventually blooming with self-realization, hope, and love." —Genevieve Graham, bestselling author of The Forgotten Home Child
"An engrossing portrait of three generations of women longing to find their place in the complicated times in which they live. Blooming with warmth and heartbreak."—Brooke Lea Foster, author of Summer Darlings
"The story-strands twine together like honeysuckle climbing up a trellis, sending out secrets and surprises all the way."—Jane Johnson, author of The Sea Gate and Court of Lions