About the author (as seen on amazon)
Santa Montefiore was born in England in 1970 on a beautiful farm in Hampshire. After Sherborne school for girls she read Spanish and Italian at Exeter University. She spent much of the 90’s in Buenos Aires. Her love of Argentina inspired her first four novels, but her American publisher wasn’t interested in Argentina as a setting so she based her fifth novel in Italy America came on board at that point but have not published her first four. Her novels take place in France, South Africa, as well as Ireland and England and have been translated into over 25 languages and sold over 2 million copies worldwide. She has just completed her 14th title for 2014, The Beekeepers Daughter. She lives in London with her husband, the historian Simon Sebag Montefiore and their two children.
Facebook: Santa Montefiore
Publication Date: 4th April 2008
Publisher:Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 448 pages
Copy Provided by: Borrowed
Blurb (as seen on the back of the book)
Nestled deep in the countryside, surrounded by beautiful gardens, Hartington House was meant to be the perfect escape.
Instead, Miranda Claybourne is bored and lonely. She misses the glamour and excitement of her old life, and her husband David treats the house like a weekend retreat.
Then fate brings Jean-Paul to her door. Charming and enigmatic; the Frenchman offers to bring the neglected gardens back to life.
And soon Miranda discovers there are secrets hidden in the grounds of Hartington House that will transform her life; secrets planted long ago with love and ready to grow again.
A friend suggested this book to me, as she herself really enjoyed it and thought I might too. The front cover of The French Gardener has an elegant, yet charming image of a lady; with a swishy dress on, gliding down a curvy staircase. It feels almost dream like with the white background, it really works well.
The French Gardener by Santa Montefiore is based largely at Hartington House in the Dorset. Everything about this house and village it’s situated in is quintessentially English. There are bits of the story in France and both country’s were tied together by the gardens which was beautiful.
Hartington House is where we meet Miranda Claybourne and her family; her husband David; who works away in London in the week and home at weekends and he’s not really being a good husband of father for that matter! And there’s their two children. She is left to deal with everything back at the house, employing a cook, cleaner and gardener as well as carrying on with her writing and dealing with their children. Miranda has no inclination at all to garden herself at the moment. until Jean-Paul comes along. Their son Gus seems a troubled little soul indeed, he plays truant from school and is nasty to some of the animals around the countryside. As you read on you see why the young boy is playing up all the time, and I must just say it was so lovely to see the boy flourish. His sister Storm sounds adorable and cute although with any brother and sister relationships there are tiffs between them. Santa portrays this so perfectly through her words which makes it so true to life.
With the house comes a small cottage I really loved reading this bit of the book because it was described in such a brilliant way that you actually feel you were discovering the house before your very eye’s; this is something that pulls me in to a book and keeps me hooked to the very end. The table is set for two, and French books on the shelf and when Miranda goes up-stairs she finds a box with a scrap-book in side this in particular starts the mystery that lye’s beneath this story, giving her something intriguing to her in her dull life that she finds herself in.
The story does flips back to the passed and the former family that owned Hartington house, and you may think you won’t be able to follow the story but believe me you sure do understand and follow because I found it to be put in a delicate way; making it easy to follow and understand the character’s. Santa Montefiore has written this story in such a lovely pace and manner; which gave it a fairy tale like feel to it, whether it ends in a fairy tail I will leave that for you lovely readers to find out.
I really found Jean-Paul’s character to be most intriguing, the way he turns up at Hartington House and offers his services as a gardener kind of randomly. As the reader you can sense the mystery around him and his compelling need to bring the garden back to its former glory but why? And what is his connection with the house? He also has a real caring side and very much includes the Claybourne children in helping in the garden; which makes Miranda see then both flourish and be for filled.
Something else I really enjoyed about this book is the description of the garden and the flowers in particular is really exquisite I truly felt my nose twitch when I was reading making you feel like you actually there yourself. Amazing!!! This book is really exceptional and the story has really stayed with me long after reading it. So I think its pretty fair to say I loved this book and Santa you had me hooked from the very first page!!!
Marie’s Book Boutique gives The French Gardner by Santa Montefiore 5 sparkly stars!!!!!!!