Wednesday 2 October 2019

Guest Review: The Garden on Sparrow Street by Tilly Tennant

As the cold winter nights draw in, escape to the sleepy town of Wrenwick, where the streets sparkle with snow and a lonely young widow is about to find that true love really can strike twice…
As Christmas cheer fills Sparrow Street with excitement, grieving widow Nina is having a hard time. It’s her first December without her beloved husband Gray, the days feel long and bleak, and to cap it all, she’s just lost her job.
So when Nina hears that Sparrow Street’s Community Garden, one of Gray’s favourite places, is to be put up for sale she knows she must do something. Filled with purpose, she gathers the residents of Sparrow Street around her to turn the neglected patch of land into a Garden of Memories.
Working with her neighbours, single mum Kelly and eighty-year-old Ada, Nina soon finds that she’s not the only lonely soul on Sparrow Street. And as the community comes together and the garden flourishes, Nina can’t help but be drawn to Irish gardener Colm with his sparkling blue eyes and musical accent, finding herself confiding in him about all her recent troubles.
But just as Colm and Nina grow closer and he opens up to her about his own secret loss, Colm’s estranged wife returns from Scotland, wanting to try again. Nina knows she should let the man she’s falling for go – it’s the right thing to do. But what if fate has other plans in store? Will the beautiful garden on Sparrow Street have brought two people together only for Nina’s cautious heart to push them apart?

Review: I always look forward to a Tilly Tennant book, and even more so to her Christmas stories. For me, they never disappoint. This one has the most marvellous snowy cover that echoes the story within perfectly. Once I started reading the pages inside that gorgeous cover, I found it difficult to put this book down; it kept me coming back for more right to the last word.

As the title suggests, this story is set predominantly in Sparrow Street in the town of Wrenwick, where Nina and friend Robyn become involved in the renovation of the community garden. Both ladies have been widowed at a young age and come up with the idea of using the space to establish a garden of memories where local people can hang a lantern in remembrance of a loved one. Sounds simple, but there are a few hurdles they have to surmount along the way, such as vandals who delight in destroying all their hard work. When soft spoken Irish gardener Colm appears on the scene to help in the residents’ endeavours, Nina finds herself attracted to a man for the first time since her husband died. She must decide whether she can overcome the feeling of guilt and betrayal of her late spouse and give in to her heart. Then the situation becomes further complicated when Colm’s long-estranged wife suddenly returns home. Struggling to get the garden completed in time for its Christmas opening ceremony and at the same time trying to work through her personal problems seem all too much for Nina.

What a wonderful book this is, with its engaging storyline and believable characters with everyday problems that we can all identify with. Instead of just tutting at the council for wanting to sell off their garden, these residents have pulled together to save their piece of green space and make it into something meaningful. I loved the community spirit in the story, with even the grumpy neighbours continuing in the face of adversity. Of course, who couldn’t understand Nina’s attraction to the handsome Irish gardener whose wife had abandoned him and his daughter. At the same time, we can also understand her inner turmoil. This is undoubtedly a love story, but with so much more. Being set in the run up to Christmas adds an extra sparkle to proceedings. This would be a lovely read for a cold autumn day and a perfect addition to someone’s Christmas stocking.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

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