The Lavender Garden

June 11, 2013

The Lavender Garden
By: Lucinda Riley
399 Pages
La Côte d’Azur, 1998: In the sun-dappled south of France, Emilie de la Martinières, the last of her gilded line, inherits her childhood home, a magnificent château and vineyard. With the property comes a mountain of debt—and almost as many questions . . .
Paris, 1944: A bright, young British office clerk, Constance Carruthers, is sent undercover to Paris to be part of Churchill’s Special Operations Executive during the climax of the Nazi occupation. Separated from her contacts in the Resistance, she soon stumbles into the heart of a prominent family who regularly entertain elite members of the German military even as they plot to liberate France. But in a city rife with collaborators and rebels, Constance’s most difficult decision may be determining whom to trust with her heart.
As Emilie discovers what really happened to her family during the war and finds a connection to Constance much closer than she suspects, the château itself may provide the clues that unlock the mysteries of her past, present, and future.

Lucinda Riley is one of those writers who is able to create the most amazing novels.Long after you finish her stories, they stay with you. You may have finished the book, but the book  has finished with you.When I read one of her books, I am putty in her hands. I know she's going to tell me a story I won't want to put down.

The Lavender Garden tells numerous stories. All of them pull you in. All of them tell a different story. All of them are pieces of the overall puzzle. And each one of them will grab hold you and not let go.

Emilie is the last of de la Martinieres. Her Mother has just died and she has inherited the massive house her family has had for hundreds of years. A child who spent the vast majority of her life isolated from the world, Emilie is naive in the ways of the world, but she doesn't stay that way for long. Life is about to open her eyes to things she never thought of before.

While dining in town, a handsome stranger stops by to offer his condolences. Turns out Sebastian Carruthers' Grandmother knew Emilie's Father. When Emilie gives Sebastian a tour of the chateau he's heard much of, she learns he can help her. Together, they find an old abandoned room hidden in the cellar. Both wonder what it was used for. Only one of them will find out they have a connection to it. Sebastian becomes a shoulder she can rely on and they marry after a brief courtship.

It isn't long before Emilie realizes there is more to her husband than she thought. In fact, reality will soon show her that nothing is what it appeared to be when it comes to her husband. When Sebastian takes her to the home he shares with his disabled brother, he issues a warning: do not believe anything he says. While Sebastian is gone on business trips, Emilie gets to know Adam. She quickly learns it isn't Adam who is the liar, or the brother she should be leery of. 

While she's having her family home repaired and modernized, Emilie is told of her how her Father and Sebastian's Grandmother knew one another. They both did their part to help the Allies during World War II. After going through extensive training in order to best help sabotage the Fuhrer's efforts, Constance must pretend to be Edouard's cousin so as not to blow their covers. From then on, Constance and Edouard are a team. A team that go to great lengths to help ruin Nazi plans. But when their cover is blown, a hasty exit is made for some. 

Constance, and Edouard's blind sister, Sophia, hide out in Edoaurd's other house. Sophia brings her own complications when it's learned she is pregnant. 

From beginning to end, The Lavender Garden, keeps you gripped. I couldn't put the book down. Every page had something happening and I was anxious to see what would happen to the characters I grew to love. Lucinda Riley is a master at writing compelling, engrossing books. If you love historical fiction, you will love The Lavender Garden.


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