An overstuffed but entertaining thriller in which a plucky young bride learns how many ways a mysterious garden can grow.
On the small Cornish island of Trelise, there's a famous garden with an ambiguous past. First planted in 1845 by colorful, entrepreneurial Joshua “Pasha” Jones—who happens to be the ancestor of Guy Blakeney-Jones, the adorable man Victoria Kline has fallen irrevocably in love with—the Priory is known to herbalists all over the world. The verdant soil, however, nurtures mordant secrets along with rare plants. And when Vic marries, and her husband inherits the storied grounds, she finds that her survival depends on digging up much of what has been long buried. Also (think Rebecca here), she finds that her bridegroom is a somewhat less adorable Guy than before they took up residence on lush, isolated Trelise. Consider for instance the matter of the disinterred skull. It’s almost certainly a deceased monk's, Guy says dismissively, since the gardens were originally laid out over ancient monastery grounds. Her love is overlooking the contemporary dental work, Vic points out, yet fails to carry the day. It's clear that Guy wants her otherwise occupied, because in his view what's buried is best left that way. And he's not the only one. Owen Morgan, the attractive but enigmatic head gardener, seems as interested as Guy in distracting Vic from rooting around. But she remains uneasy. She knows that secrets can be corrosive, and in a climax fraught with enough melodrama to keep a Victorian stock company on the boards for a busy season, she proves how right her instincts were.
Relentless, at times confusing plotting, but Llewellyn’s proven knack of creating lively people (Maelstrom, 1994, etc.) saves the day.