Release Date: 2nd September 2021
Publisher: Del Rey
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.75/5 stars
Welcome to the Winter Garden. Open only at 13 o’clock.
You are invited to enter an unusual competition.
I am looking for the most magical, spectacular, remarkable pleasure garden this world has to offer.
On the night her mother dies, 8-year-old Beatrice receives an invitation to the mysterious Winter Garden. A place of wonder and magic, filled with all manner of strange and spectacular flora and fauna, the garden is her solace every night for seven days. But when the garden disappears, and no one believes her story, Beatrice is left to wonder if it were truly real.
Eighteen years later, on the eve of her wedding to a man her late father approved of but she does not love, Beatrice makes the decision to throw off the expectations of Victorian English society and search for the garden. But when both she and her closest friend, Rosa, receive invitations to compete to create spectacular pleasure gardens – with the prize being one wish from the last of the Winter Garden’s magic – she realises she may be closer to finding it than she ever imagined.
The Winter Garden is the magical new book from Alex Bell and the story follows Beatrice, who receives an invitation to a magical garden on the night her mother dies. She spends seven days exploring this strange and beautiful place, but when she returns no one believes it was real. When eighteen years later Beatrice is arranged to marry an English Duke, someone her father very much approved on. Beatrice cannot face the idea of being married to him and cancels the wedding, heading off in search of the mysterious garden. When Beatrice and her friend Rosa receive invitations to compete in a competition to create the most brilliant pleasure gardens, they discover the prize is a wish from the last of the Winter Garden’s magic.
The Winter Garden is my second time reading a book from Alex Bell. I read Music and Malice in Hurricane Town on a whim and completely loved it, so I have been really intrigued to pick up more from this author. I sat down to read The Winter Garden one night and ending up sitting there many hours later. Bell completely sucks you in with her beautiful writing style and I was completely captivated by the vivid descriptions of the gardens. The story was so easy to get swept up in and while it was on the chunkier side, I completely raced through this fast-paced story. I loved the Victorian setting of the book and the story is definitely one I still think about long after turning the last page.
The Winter Garden is a brilliant, engrossing read, one I think fans of The Night Circus will completely adore. If you love stories with that fairytale-like feel to them I think this is definitely a must-read. I really liked Beatrice as a main character and I loved the way she made the decision to follow her dreams rather than end up in an unhappy marriage. There is quite a lot of character growth within the story and it does focus quite a lot on the theme of regret. The Winter Garden is a captivating and moving tale and if you’re looking for a magical, wintery story to keep you entertained over the Autumn, this is definitely one to order now.