Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Night Garden - Review


The Night Garden by Lisa Van Allen

Rating: 3.5 Stars
Source: NetGalley

Description:  
The Pennywort gardens are famous for being wild and lush with rambling mazes a visitor could get lost in.  Olivia Pennywort is the custodian of the garden and has lived her whole life in Green Valley.  As she grew up she became more and more unreachable in every sense of the world.
Sam Van Winkle is as much of a part of Green Valley as Olivia but the Van Winkles are famous for being heroes.  Afraid he was the only Van Winkle who couldn't live up to the name and heart broken over the loss of love he fled Green Valley as a young man only to come back looking to heal.


Genre: Fiction

Why I Picked This Book: I loved the cover at first glance and was intrigued by the magical garden.

My Impression:
Pros: The writing was beautiful.  The descriptions of the garden were lyrical and you could all but smell the flowers and feel the textures of all the plants.  The entire town of Green Valley is well fleshed out and the magical elements really work.  The characters have a lot of back story and a history together which adds a lot of depth to the developing relationship.

Cons; I never really felt like I connected with Olivia.  I understand why she is standoffish to those around her but it felt like she was so detached that I never quite connected with her.  I'm new to the magical realism aspect and I think I expected a warmer and overall happier book while this has a darker tone.

Overall:  This was a well written very descriptive book with fleshed out characters.  I didn't connect to it as well as I would've liked but I think some of the problem was due to my preconceptions going in.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Yes, definitely!

Would I Recommend this Book?:  I hesitate on this a bit.  While I didn't love it I think a lot of my issues were personal and due to expectations going in.  Maybe start with her first book?  I've heard wonderful things about it.

26 comments:

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    1. There was no way I could pass up that cover!

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  2. I read The Wishing Thread by this author and really enjoyed it. I'm on the fence about this one, though...might try it on audio.

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    1. I really want to read The Wishing Thread. I think audio would be great for this one. I might give it another try if I find it I'm audio.

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  3. The cover is gorgeous. I didn't realize the book was magical realism. I have to be in the right mood for those and if Olivia is hard to connect to, I may not bother with it.

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    1. I'm the same way about magical realism and I think I needed a warmer main. I do want to read her previous book though.

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  4. I don't read a lot of magical realism, but I've really liked the ones I have. This sounds interesting. Maybe the next book will be even better, if there is one.

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    1. I will definitely be reading her first book. I'm not a huge reader of magical realism but when it's good I love it!

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  5. I don't think this would be my type of book, but I like the sound of how descriptive the writing is. I like how you say you could imagine smelling the flowers. That's lovely.
    Magical realism books are hit and miss with me. They're either done really well or not done well at all. No in between, I've found anyhow.
    Happy reading!
    Brittany @ This is the Story of My(Reading) Life

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    1. This actually might be one of the in betweens! The world was great but I wish the characters were easier for me to connect to.

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  6. Sounds like an interesting one. Hard when you don't quite connect with a character but still sounds good! And gah what a cover!

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  7. So glad it wasn't just me! I was not a fan of Olivia-much as I wanted to see the garden maze!

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    1. You have made so happy! Glad to know it wasn't just me as well!!

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  8. It's hard to connect with a book when you haven't connected with its main character. Hope the next one is better for you. I agree that the cover is very pretty! :)

    One Curvy Blogger

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    1. I do love this cover! I haven't given up on this author though. Looking to try another by thief author!

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  9. I've read her first book and gave it 3.5 stars I believe, it was last year. I enjoy magical realism to a certain point, such as Alice Hoffman books, but not a steady diet of them. I like to be able to connect and feel something intense, whether good or bad, about the MC. Not sure about this one.

    I'd like to point out that this happens to me sometimes, and probably all of us, where the book itself is really well-written and wonderful for the right audience, but you the blogger didn't enjoy it that much. Case in point, back with my old blog: Warm Bodies. Not for me-- I don't do zombies, but heard much great buzz about it. The book was so well-written but I personally had made a bad decision to take it on. I therefore rated it twice, once for my opinion and the other for what I believed it deserved from the average reader.

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    1. I don't disagree about mood and genre playing a part in enjoyment. I do wish I could've connected more with Olivia.

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  10. I really like the sound of this one. Magic realism and I do not always get along, and so I'm picky about what books I will read that include it.

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    1. I definitely love the idea of one but just couldn't connect to the characters. This is definitely an author try.

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  11. I enjoy magical realism, but it is a shame you didn't connect.Usually I at least connect even if other characters find the protagonist aloof. I do love the cover.

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    1. Yes. I think that was my main problem. I could see why Olivia was closed off to those around her but it felt like she blocked the reader out as well.

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  12. I haven't yet read this author, but I might just give it a go, since the writing was beautiful and lyrical. Sometimes I don't connect with characters because of what else I have going on in my reading life.

    Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Her descriptions were really lovely so if you're curious I'd definitely give the book a try!

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  13. I loved her first book but partway into book two I still haven't really connected with Olivia, either. But I'll give it time; it took me a bit to connect with the characters in The Wishing Thread, and it ended up being one of last year's few 5-star books for me.

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    1. I'm going to try the first book. I'm hoping I will enjoy it more. Olivia is definitely a challenging character to love!

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