In literature, there’s something both magical and symbolic about gardens. They can be unkempt and wild, harboring secrets and failures, or brimming with well-maintained life, the beauty of the plants as radiant as the hearts of their caretakers. We’ve collected a colorful and varied bouquet of fifteen books set amidst gardens both real and imagined.
The bond between a mother and her daughters is put on an emotional display in this enduring novel. Two sisters come together at the request of their dying father to hear their distant mother's whole story, and they learn the haunting truth of her life.
Berlin in 1933 captivates a young woman whose father is America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany. As Martha gets swept up in the parties and society lifestyle, Hitler’s reign is starting to expand its reach, culminating in a violent reveal of his true nature.
For Yun Ling Teoh, gardening is a way to rediscover her sense of self and try to atone for the survivor’s guilt she feels after losing her sister during their time in a Japanese internment camp. Brimming with intrigue, Tan Twan Eng’s second novel delves into the history, cultures, and injustices of World War II, and how life goes on for some in the aftermath.
Unknown bones, untold stories, and unsolved crimes from the distant past cast ominous shadows in this suspenseful thriller. From a 1830s medical student pilfering graves to harvest the dead for sale, to the present-day discovery of a human skull in a rural Massachusetts garden; a dark mystery is traced through centuries and culminates in an ingenious and shocking finale.
Ian McEwan’s first novel of psychological suspense details what happens to four siblings who are left alone after both their parents die. With the absence of adults and structure, the children attempt to govern themselves, but their path of self-preservation is as complex and wrought as the garden their father obsessively built.
A historically well-tended garden of roses acts as an anchor for time-traveling heroine Eva Ward, who has returned home to Cornwall to spread the ashes of her recently deceased sister. While there, she finds she can easily slip into the estate’s past, where she has a hard time deciding which century she would like to live in.
Generations of women in the Waverley family have been responsible for an enchanted garden behind their North Carolina home. It's now Claire’s turn to tend to the magical fruits and flowers that enhance the lives of all around her. But upon the return of her sister, Sydney, with a young daughter in tow, Claire must reevaluate her powers and what she wants from her life.
This clever and sweet World War II novel set in Italy follows a young cellist who worked as a spy for the Resistance movement. When she flees to Portofino, she is taken in by a doctor reeling from the loss of his family. Their stories are a beautiful portrayal of the emotion, heroism, and romance that flourish despite the consequences of war.
An inherited chateau with vineyards and intrigue abound takes center stage in this captivating novel chronicling a woman’s attempts to understand the deeply embedded history of her old estate. Jumping from World War II to present day in the south of France, the secrets of the old house help bring a family’s history to light.
A change of scenery from most other books on this list, Corban Addison’s thrilling novel takes place throughout Africa. An American lawyer working to end child sexual assault in Zambia embarks on a tense journey to solve the case of a victim whose identity remains a mystery. Aided by a Zambian police officer, her investigation culminates in a striking realization.
A young mother’s decision to bring her child to the strip club where she works is the catalyst for a series of sharp turns and gripping intrigue. The supporting characters in this thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat and anxiously turning pages until the last reveal.