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Publisher's Summary

From the author of the international best seller The Light over London and The Whispers of War comes a poignant and unforgettable tale of five women living across three different times whose lives are all connected by one very special place. 

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. 

The year 1907: A talented artist with a growing reputation for her ambitious 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. 

The year 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. 

In this sweeping novel reminiscent of Kate Morton’s The Lake House and Kristin Harmel’s The Room on Rue Amélie, Julia Kelly explores the unexpected connections that cross time and the special places that bring people together forever.

©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
  • Story
    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

2 people found this helpful

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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.

2 people found this helpful

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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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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.

9 people found this helpful

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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.

7 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.

5 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.

3 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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jennifer McCall
  • 2021-03-06

Loved this story!

Delightful book and the delivery by the narrators were better than I usually find for a book with several actors telling the tale. For anyone who loves garden, especially English ones. The women and their families are brilliantly woven into the stories behind the garden.

1 person 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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jan
  • 2021-04-09

As beautiful and entrancing as a garden

This lovely story unites disparate generations of women as they grow and find themselves. The narration calmly takes the listener on a fascinating journey. Thank you, Julia Kelly

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  • Morgan Tarpley Smith
  • 2021-03-25

Lovely story of three generations of strong women

A lovely story across generations of strong women who defied their circumstances and societal expectations. I loved how they all were connected through the lovely gardens at an English manor house. Beautiful writing and imagery. However I was a bit overwhelmed with how many main character there were with three different timelines. It was a bit hard to keep track of them all at first but I did get used to it. And the stories connect beautifully by the end. I’m glad to have experienced this story!

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  • Jane Remick
  • 2021-03-24

Best book I have read this year and for many years

I really loved each of the three stories and the way they entwined. I learned so much about plants, history, and human nature. The gentle live themes warmed my heart too!