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Publisher's Summary

From the author of the international best sellers 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).

©2021 Julia Kelly. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about The Last Garden in England

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Distracted by narration.

I'm part way through this book and find that Marisa Calin, one of the narrators is so difficult to listen to that I have to skip her chapters entirely, which is not ideal. I can't explain exactly what it is about her cadence that bothers me, I just find it bizarre and breathy.
I've been enjoying the other chapters, but this will likely be a return for me

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Good, but not great

I really wanted to love this, as I am a sucker for historical fiction, especially with gardens and manor houses! However, I found it a bit boring and the characters not as interesting as they could have been. The love stories read like a romance novel, with clean and tidy endings, and I struggled to feel connected to anyone or any story.
I did love the garden content - rich and descriptive, which created a beautiful setting. I didn’t hate the book, but I don’t think I’d recommend it confidently.
Some of the performances were great, but Marisa Calin had a very odd cadence to her reading, which was overly dramatic and distracting. I’ve listened to a number of other audiobooks that she’s narrated, and she’s never sounded like this. It’s maybe something new she’s trying? I hope she goes back to her normal, natural, more relaxed way of narrating.
Overall, the book is a quick listen that’s great for garden lovers, but may disappoint avid readers.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

The last Garden in England.

This book was a very good read. The story takes place in three different times, are the characters are twined by gardens.

The characters are well described and the author made it easy for the reader to keep track of where the reader is by giving the year every time the story went to another time. Very informative about gardens.

2 people found this helpful

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Ok but not great

An okay story to listen to while puttering around outside but it never enthralled me. One of the readers was so annoying it ruined the book for me. She had a very strange cadence, breathy, and kept speeding up and getting louder in bits which was extremely distracting. I think I might have enjoyed the story much more if I’d read it and not had to listen to her. It ruined it for me. The story was an interesting attempt to tie 3 time lines together through the garden but this is more a romance/period novel, not a garden centric story.

1 person found this helpful

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beautiful story

Loved it right from the start. An absolutely beautiful story stretching across 7 generations

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Wonderful Book!

I'm a keen gardener so this book appealed to me right away, and then when I saw different readers were doing the different main characters, I was even more pleased - I love audio books like that. It's a great story, set in three different eras, and once I had the characters all straight in my head, it was easy to follow when it switched back and forth between the different eras. Having read a lot about garden design and history, and having travelled to some of the famous gardens in England made me relate to the garden angle even more. I also appreciated the angle of women working to become independent. I was sorry when the book ended as I enjoyed it so much.

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Delightful book!

l loved this book. The story, the characters and all done through different time periods.

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Great winter reading

A lovely book that made me want to get into my garden! Lots of interesting history from different backgrounds. I struggled a bit with the different voices but overall a nice read!

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  • Buddy
  • 2021-02-03

One of the BEST Audiobooks I've ever listened to

This book is so immersive and makes you fall in love with every character. The magical way all of the stories blend together thru the decades is spellbinding. The highs and lows will have you laughing, crying, cheering, and applauding. The narrators are cast perfectly. I hope there is a sequel.

29 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • E. Read
  • 2021-06-30

Lovely and slow but warning 1 narrator is horrible

I’m not even finished w the book yet but I have to comment.

So far the story is fine. It’s lovely, but slow, but I’m sticking w it for the gardens. But it is slow, and not on the top of the best historical fictions or multiple timeline books I’ve read, which I love. But I’m sticking w it. I’m sure it will be a fine gentle (albeit not super exciting) read altogether.

I don’t know why the other reviews haven’t mentioned though that that narrator for Venetia is AWFUL. She’s so horrible I had to buy the kindle book so I read every chapter she speaks. That’s how bad she is. I mean, even if I tried to just grin and bear it, her voice changes the character of the written word in a way that is so diminutive to the character in the book. It’s just awful. So, enjoy the book, but just warning you, you’ll need to get the kindle as well unless you are made of stronger stuff than me. FYI, I hate criticizing anyone in expressing their talent, but honestly I think she would be fine if she didn’t try so hard to add so much gross dripping drama to her voice. If she read it in a regular tone in would be just fine.

21 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • MariBr
  • 2021-01-16

Beautiful!

This novel is the story of a garden and the many lives it touches over time. I found myself caring for the women who worked in and around it. In turns heartbreaking and hopeful and full of resilience, this novel was everything I wanted it to be.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Heidi Buswell
  • 2021-10-30

Some readers worse than others

This might’ve been a good story, but I couldn’t get past the overdramatic vocalizations insisted upon by some of the readers. Only made it to chapter 3…

11 people found this helpful

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  • Cindy Lou
  • 2021-03-02

Beautiful story, beautifully presented

Lovely story of several generations of women, all involved in some way with the same garden.
The narration was perfect, different characters, different accents made the transition from one time period to another easily recognized.
I will be looking for more books by this author.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Kristyn Rose
  • 2021-01-28

Enthralling, strong women characters

Each of the stories in this book are captivating. The woman are strong and relatable. They are honest and real in their thoughts and emotions. Their stories are well-told, and I was sorry to see the end of the book approaching!

I’m not sure which narrator is which but a couple of the readings were lacking. Some moments were strangely voice or over-acted. However, the story itself is strong enough to survive that.

11 people found this helpful

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  • ParkerT
  • 2021-04-04

Lovely Story

Set in the same manor house in three time periods, all connected by the garden, and all featuring interesting women, including the original garden designer. The story ultimately pulls all the threads together to a satisfying conclusion. Beautifully read by different voices for each of the female characters to tell their individual stories.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Susan
  • 2021-06-12

A Gardener’s Delight

This is a charming and fascinating book. The story includes several generations covering the early twenties, WW ll, and 2021. The creating and restoration of a garden is the focus of attention, and the discussion of plants and flowers are a gardeners delight. As the garden evolves, so do romances. There is something for all readers to enjoy. It is extremely well read and written.

4 people found this helpful

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  • KKC
  • 2021-01-26

Good Development of Plot and Charecters

Good overall character and story development. It took me awhile to figure out the movement through time and who fit with which years... but it made me reason out the processes.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2021-03-19

Too predictable

A great writer but the story was not gripping. You basically knew from the beginning what was going to happen. Her great writing style makes it worth listening to.

2 people found this helpful