Green Thumb: The Unfinished Garden

I’m hoping that after reading Barbara Claypole White’s novel The Unfinished Garden (Harlequin), TBYL reviewer Tam J might be in the mood to come over and do some gardening for me…


For Tilly Silverberg, her garden is her refuge, her safe way of dealing with grief and guilt. For James Nealy, the idea of creating a new garden is his way of conquering his darkest fears and the noises in his mind that accompany his terror.

James is a sufferer of OCD and his life is ruled by his fears and his compulsions. This is why we find him having retired in his forties and having decided to create something beautiful: a garden. He can’t do it alone, and to help build his dream, he hopes to hire Tilly, a grieving widow. Tilly loves gardening and is a obvious choice of assistant, but after their very first meeting, she quickly becomes more than just a gardener.

During the garden-build, Tilly is forced to return to her homeland of England to attend to a family emergency. Whilst there, she is reunited with her first love who is now temptingly available. But is Tilly?

This book is full of romantic tension, loads of twists and intense characters as well as beautiful description that will conjure images of colourful gardens and old historic English estates.  Threads of plot will have you enthralled; Tilly’s long lost love, Sebastian, is back in her life; Rowena, Tilly’s lifelong best friend, is hiding a secret; and Tilly’s mother is plotting!

Despite his personal struggles, James’ attempts to walk away from Tilly are unsuccessful, it just isn’t an option and he follows her to childhood village. James discovers that alongside his journey to conquer his fear of dirt and all things gardens, Tilly is fast becoming his greatest obsession.

It’s a beautiful book, and if you are a gardener I think you may be able to appreciate the beauty in this novel a little more than I did. There are a lot of descriptions of the gardens, and being a novice in the world of plants, I’m afraid the images (and names) were a little lost on me at times.

This story is very full of conversation, and I’ll admit that this meant it took me a little while to get into this book as I personally like a little more movement in a novel. Despite this, a few chapters in, the characters really started to pulled me in, and I truly became invested in their journey. It is not a predictable story, the flaws in these characters are fascinating and real, and there are many secrets to discover along the way.


You can find out more about this novel here…

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