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The Victory Garden

Written by: Rhys Bowen
Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
Length: 10 hrs and 19 mins
4 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of The Tuscan Child comes a beautiful and heart-rending novel of a woman’s love and sacrifice during the First World War.  

As the Great War continues to take its toll, headstrong 21-year-old Emily Bryce is determined to contribute to the war effort. She is convinced by a cheeky and handsome Australian pilot that she can do more, and it is not long before she falls in love with him and accepts his proposal of marriage.  

When he is sent back to the front, Emily volunteers as a “land girl,” tending to the neglected grounds of a large Devonshire estate. It’s here that Emily discovers the long-forgotten journals of a medicine woman who devoted her life to her herbal garden. The journals inspire Emily, and in the wake of devastating news, they are her saving grace. Emily’s lover has not only died a hero but has left her terrified - and with child. Since no one knows that Emily was never married, she adopts the charade of a war widow.  

As Emily learns more about the volatile power of healing with herbs, the found journals will bring her to the brink of disaster, but may open a path to her destiny.

©2019 Janet Quin-Harkin (P)2019 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not this author's best work

I'm a huge fan of this author but this particular story is very weak. It's mild entertainment, well-performed if you are looking for some undemanding background, but the characters are weak, the storyline predictable and too pat. Not at all what I've come to expect from this author.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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Repetitive and badly written

The book had the potential to be a great story but terribly written and very disjointed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • ellegreenland
  • 2019-02-26

Not literary genius, but very sweet!

Just a sweet story with lovable characters. Bowen does a great job of researching the time period and offered interesting information on herbs and healing, as perceived by earlier generations. I loved the descriptions of the cottage and the grounds - painted a beautiful picture of a lovely place. Don't expect more than a pleasant time-passing experience and you won't be disappointed.

21 of 21 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • mary
  • 2019-03-23

Ridiculously bad

I have so much enjoyed Rhys Bowen’s other novels, and this was a terrible disappointment. First, the Audible summary gave away about the first half of the novel. So, I just kept waiting for the plot I assumed was to come, to come. It was a waste of my time. Then about three different novels were packed into the second half. Everything tidied up absurdly at the end. Is this a novel about the war? Is this a novel about being an unwed mother? Is this a novel about the supernatural? About gardening? If the author had carefully crafted the book, she could have pulled it off. It can’t decide what it is and it was absolutely irritating to listen to. I kept rolling my eyes as the novel came to an end at the clichéd, hackneyed plot points. The most ridiculous was the cure for the flu—really?? Just awful. This is the first time I have listened to an audible-only novel, and will probably be the last. It felt like the author wrote a outline and then just filled in the blanks in order to satisfy a set of reader desires as quickly as possible. This was written only so that people would download it. The author didn’t care whether she crafted a good listening experience, and neither did Audible as publisher. A cynical publication. I’m very disappointed

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Amy Moore
  • 2019-02-19

Story was all over the place

This tale went from one story line to another and did not make sense. I kept hoping it would improve, but was disappointed. Definitely not the author’s best.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Simone
  • 2019-02-20

I wish it was a series

I am a huge Rhys Bowen fan that was let down with “The Tuscan Child” so I was not sure what to expect from “The Victory Garden”.

I felt like the plot changed directions a hundred times, as if the author had too many ideas and was trying to cram a whole series worth of plots into just one book. It proves my point that to enjoy a book, especially when you are not able to suspend your disbelief and just go along with the story, you have to like the characters and in this case, I really did.

I totally would have gone along with this story as a series!

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • barbara
  • 2019-02-22

Looking for a good historical mystery? Read this

This is a good story. I felt a little angst all the way through but I expect that from a well written mystery. That edge of your seat feeling.
The characters are well drawn. The life of women left home in England during WWI is painfully accurate but all issues are satisfactorily resolved.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • alyssa
  • 2019-02-17

Lovely WW1 Story

narrated eloquently. Sweetly written , a journey that showcases the strength of the female bond, resourcefulness out of necessity and the plight of women and men during WW1. I enjoyed the herb garden buts immensely.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Nola A. Stewart
  • 2019-03-16

Love Bowen but not this story

Disappointed in the story line, it was all over the place. There were a lot of good plots that could have gone places but instead she followed them all and it was all over the place. I’m a Rhys Bowen fan but not this book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cherie
  • 2019-02-23

Rhys does it again!

I always enjoy Ms Bowen’s books, and this is no exception. Quite lively. I really liked the peek into the life of land girls. Life was very hard for all women during WW I and people from all classes were touched by the devastation. This book gently leads us through some tough experiences that many women faced at this time.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • C. Byrne
  • 2019-06-02

Not one of her best.

Far too romantic for me without the humour of her Royal Highness. just not enough of a story to make it interesting

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Mary Dietrich
  • 2019-02-19

Harmless and predictable

Certainly an easy listen; however, every bit of the plot was predictable. No surprises. And, really, no reason to care about any of the characters beyond a casual acquaintance. the narration saved it.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful