- Paperback: 212 pages
- Publisher: Phyllis Bruce Books; First Paperback Edition edition (Aug. 28 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0006391818
- ISBN-13: 978-0006391814
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.8 x 18 cm
- Shipping Weight: 240 g
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,607,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Lost Garden Paperback – Aug 28 2003
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Though The Lost Garden, the third novel by Kingston-based writer Helen Humphreys, is set in England in 1941, it takes place far from the bombs of the Blitz. Gwen Davis, a sad, shy employee of the Royal Horticultural Society who's spent much of her adulthood studying diseased parsnips, leaves London to lead young members of the Women's Land Army on an estate in the Devon countryside. She arrives amid great confusion, but soon realizes that she's inherited a gaggle of Land Girls who are less interested in growing potatoes for the war effort than in consorting with the Canadian soldiers stationed nearby. Gwen is not a natural leader, but she does find allies in Jane, a wan but caustic young woman whose boyfriend is missing in action, and Captain Raley, a dashing Canadian officer prone to quoting from the poems of Tennyson. Gwen also discovers a garden planted by someone who worked on the estate during its grandest years, before World War I decimated an earlier generation of English gardeners. The events that follow prove that the melancholy narrator is wrong to believe, as she says early in the story, that "the stupidity of vegetables is preferable to the unpredictability of people."
The Lost Garden is written in a style very much informed by Gwen's favourite writer, Virginia Woolf, who herself has just gone missing as the novel begins. Although some dialogue teeters on the edge between lyrical and overripe, the action builds to a lovely finale that merges all of the novel's disparate elements into something with genuine emotional resonance. Like the roses that fascinate the novel's heroine, The Lost Garden's poise and beauty are complemented by its surprisingly hardy nature. --Jason Anderson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
HELEN HUMPHREYS is the author of Leaving Earth, a NewYork Times Notable Book and winner of the City of Toronto Book Award; Afterimage,winner of the Rogers Writers Trust Fiction Prize; and The Lost Garden,finalist for the CBCs 2003 Canada Reads competition. Wild Dogs was oneof NOW Magazines Top Ten Fiction books of 2004. She lives in Kingston,Ontario.
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What I love about Helen Humphreys is that her books are short, so you can read them in a day or maybe two and it's a pleasant experience, neatly tied up at the end. I feel connected to her because she's originally from the U.K. like me, and now lives in Kingston, where I used to live. I would always pick up this book at the used bookstore near my old apartment there, but never end up buying it. I was always drawn to the beautiful cover. I'm disappointed that I never thought to go to an event and meet Helen Humphreys when I lived in Kingston, but I didn't starting reading her books until this year.
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