The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell

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In a quiet, family friendly neighborhood in London, children play outside together, and neighbors are friendly. That is, until a thirteen year old girl is found unconscious in the garden and no one knows what happened.

Told through multiple points of view in alternating timelines, we learn about the secrets families keep and how they can come back to haunt you…and how they relate to the mystery of the unconscious girl…

I think I went into this one with the wrong expectations. For some reason, I had it in my head that this was a thriller, when in actuality it was more of a domestic mystery. It was not fast paced and there was no action in this book. I think because of that, I found it very slow moving to the point where I was often bored. I found myself wanting to skip pages so I could get to the action!

The book opens up with twelve year old Pip finding her sister Grace unconscious in their neighborhood garden. Immediately, we jump back in time and learn about the events that lead up to finding the body, and I found the middle piece very slow. I was initially really engaged in the book, however it didn’t jump back to the actual mystery aspect until near the end of the book, so it lost my interest in the middle.

What I did like was the writing – it felt poetic at times, and I enjoyed the flowery aspect of the writing, despite not loving the storyline. I especially enjoyed the drawings Pip drew for her dad. I thought that was a nice touch, and the drawings were exactly what I’d imagine from a child.

Overall, this was definitely not what I was expecting, and wasn’t something I would have otherwise picked up if I had paid more attention and realized it wasn’t a thriller. I couldn’t help myself – the cover was so beautiful I couldn’t help but pick it up! It was just too slow moving for my taste. That said, for fans of slow burning mysteries that focus a lot on relationships and character development, this will be a great choice for you! I did enjoy Lisa Jewell’s writing, so I look forward to seeing what she puts out in the future.

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