This is the story of a student, called Adam, that chooses to study a beautiful ornamental garden in Italy. He is drawn in by the garden and it seems to hold a magic over him and be trying to tell him something. He becomes slightly obsessed with understanding the clues to be read, and he and the reader discover along the way a very fascinating and clever story. At the same time as he is trying to solve the historical mysteries of the garden, he also becomes aware of a more modern mystery within the family home he is staying in – so there are 2 stories to intrigue the reader.

I was immediately attracted to this book by its description on the back about a mysterious garden with secrets in 1958 Tuscany, which sounded an unusual and exciting subject. The quote on the front describing the book as ‘full of mysteries and menace’, and the map of the garden in the front few pages of the book also made me keen to read it – there is something I always find exciting about a book with a map as it makes me feel I have to keep referring back to it to look for clues. It is also a ‘Richard and Judy’ read which I always take as a sign of a good book. So I was pretty certain that I’d enjoy this book – and I very much did! I read it very quickly as it was difficult to put down.

I love the themes of the book – a mysterious garden with a secret to tell. The garden can be enjoyed for what it is; a beautiful setting to relax in and a monument from a devoted husband to the memory of his adored wife, and yet everything in the garden is subtly placed to provide clues to a different message – what a fantastic story that tempts you to read on and on to discover the next clue. The whole idea is really clever and fascinating, and I also loved the references to the mythological Gods like Apollo and Adonis – their inclusion added to the romance and mystery of the story. I found this book a lovely refreshing change from others I had read, as it had very different and original ideas.

All the descriptions of Italy are also beautiful and I think this location adds to the mysterious and passionate nature of the garden. Italy always seems, in my mind, to be full of passionate people, and heartfelt dramatic events, and secrets, and beauty, and history, which is perfectly mirrored in the main story of the book.

I really enjoyed reading this book and have already recommended it to others, and I look forward to Mark Mills’ next novel.



The Savage Garden (Paperback)

By (author): Mark Mills

Title: Savage Garden <>Binding: Paperback <>Author: Mark Mills <>Publisher: Harper Collins Paperbacks
List Price: £9.99 GBP
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