cover image The Garden House

The Garden House

Marcia Willett. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-250-76026-5

Willett (Starry, Starry Night) highlights how a new relationship can provide solace through grief in this enjoyable contemporary. When El’s father, Martin, dies, El inherits the Pig Pen, his country home near Tavistock, England. Though El’s mother, who divorced Martin five years ago, discourages El from moving, El, a recent university graduate, seizes the opportunity. She relocates to Tavistock, gets a job at a local bookstore, and contemplates writing a novel. When El finds her father’s phone and discovers texts still coming in from an apparent love interest she knew nothing about, she and her stepbrother and semi-friend, Will, team up to locate the mystery woman. Though El’s hurt that her father didn’t confide in her, she’s comforted by the friendships she finds with her father’s community in Tavistock—and by her growing closeness with Will. Willett’s atmospheric writing successfully conjures the idyllic English countryside while delivering multifaceted relationship dynamics and well-shaded characters. Readers will want to devour this fast-paced outing in one sitting.[em] (Aug) [/em]