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The French Gardener

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  2,140 ratings  ·  357 reviews
A neglected garden. A cottage that holds a secret. A mysterious and handsome Frenchman.

It begins as Miranda and David Claybourne move into a country house with a once-beautiful garden. But reality turns out to be very different from their dream. Soon the latent unhappiness in the family begins to come to the surface, isolating each family member in a bubble of resentment
Paperback, 432 pages
Published June 2nd 2009 by Simon & Schuster (first published April 3rd 2008)
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Community Reviews

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I had to spend a bit of time thinking about my review of this book. The starring role for me and the novel's saving grace was the garden around which the story is set. Time jumps between two families living in the same English country estate one in the late 1970's, the other in 2005. The strong and vivid writing brings the story of a garden to life. I could practically smell the flowers and see the stages of its creation, collapse and recreation. What I found incredibly disturbing was the author ...more
Stacey Peters
While I don't normally read 'romance' novels, the description and reviews caused me to delve into this title anyway because of my love of anything french, gardening, family dramas and believe it or not, the rainbows. And there is plenty of all the above in this novel-- the author writes very well. I found myself drawn into the garden landscape of crushed gravel paths, old stone bridge, dovecote, hollowed Ash tree and pitched roof country cottage. I don't know if her writing foreshadowed events t ...more
OK, I finished it. The author states in her interview at the end - "I think infidelity is wrong only if it hurts other people". Enough said.

Why I am distressing myself trying to finish this book is beyond reason - I keep hoping to find redeeming value in it. May be because it was described as Rosamunde Pilcher-like and 20 odd years ago I loved "The Shell Seekers". Who knows, maybe today I would dislike that book too. Over romantification of characters, hit over the head foreshadowing/plotting, i
So I finished this book last week but I haven't quite known what to rate it. I actually did enjoy this book, the setting in the English countryside was magical, the romance and further relationships were lovely, the one big problem- the main romantic relationship came as a product of infidelity. It's just so hard for me to get past that. And not only that, but the marriage was great, happy, everyone treated each other nicely, etc. There were no faults, no cracks, no one was being a jerk. So from ...more
An eloquently written love story. I couldn't help being captiaved from the very first page. I was reminded of The Thorn Birds or The Bridges of Madison County. It was Santa Montefiore is now a favorite of author and I cannot wait to read more from her.
Ricki Jill Treleaven
This week I read The French Gardener by Santa Montefiore. My bloggy friend, Linda, posted about it here, and I wanted to read it based on her review. I will keep my review brief and refer you to Linda's post. Linda also has another blog, News from Italy, I enjoy reading, too.

Last week, I wrote about The Winter Sea, and I loved it because it was two stories in one book. I was a little surprised that The French Gardener also contained two separate stories. It has been a joy reading two very good b
Susan Ferguson
I enjoyed this book - of course, I cried through the last parts of it. It takes a look about what is important as a family.

Jean-Paul has been sent to work with ? who has the most beautiful gardens in the area. He comes across as an arrogant, shiftless playboy and she doesn't figure he'll last a week. But he works with her in her gardens, planting and weeding and watching her interact with her children and family. He sees how she teaches them and loves them and he begins to fall in love. She tell
2.5 Stars

My full review: http://www.coffeecookiesandchilipeppe...

Putting the infidelity to one side was not easy for me, but the portrayal of the magic of nature, and the garden in particular, was strong enough to keep me reading. The author obviously has a deep connection with the earth and countryside that shone through in her writing and resonated with my own love of the natural world. I liked how she understood the healing qualities of nature, especially with regards to Miranda’s children wh
This was yet another started-but-couldn't-get-into book for me, of which I've had my fair share lately.

I totally picked it up because of the cover (gorgeous), the title, and the comparison to Rosamunde Pilcher, one of my favorite authors. I just couldn't get more than a quarter of the way through, though, without admitting to defeat. One of the many things I love about Rosamunde Pilcher's books is that I'm immediately sucked in by her characters -- they're interesting, three-dimensional, human,
Paula Sealey
Miranda Claybourne and husband David make a move to the countryside and buy Hartington House, a property with large neglected gardens that Miranda discovers were once the toast of the community when previous owners the Lightlys lived there. When Jean-Paul, a French gardener arrives and says he is able to help restore the gardens, Miranda takes him up on the offer, and gradually discovers that his interest in the gardens has roots in the past.

I enjoyed the story, but I wouldn't say it gripped me.
I picked up The French Gardener at a local indie bookstore after browsing around, looking at covers, and reading back cover copy (and the first page!). I loved this cover with all the flowers and the woman sitting staring across her garden. It was too pretty to resist! Luckily, the book inside was equally pretty. I had never read anything by Santa Montefiore before (had never heard of her, I must confess), but I will definitely look for more of her books. THE FRENCH GARDENER is told from multipl ...more
It is only two months since I last read and reviewed a book by this author but this one from the blurb on the back cover sounded just perfect for spending a few lazy summer afternoons reading. It was perfect so Santa Montefiore gets to feature here again. These are the words that jumped out at me from the back cover ‘A neglected garden. A cottage that holds a secret. A mysterious Frenchman, (handsome naturally). A family in need of some love. These elements are entwined in this heart warming nov ...more
There are several things I liked about this book. The setting was lovely and I do like reading stories that take place in the 1970s (this one partially did). It examines the lives of a modern, troubled couple who create many of their own problems. They decide to find a house in the country to perhaps edify their lives. From there, we learn of an earlier love affair that took place in this beautiful countryside home. The story deals with serious issues of loyalty and life decisions. Even thought ...more
Jan 05, 2014 Cindy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Jo!!
Shelves: 2013-read, favorites
This is one of the books that has been lingering on my bookshelf for too long!! Why did I wait?
I truly enjoyed this story. The writing was so descriptive, I felt I was along for a walk in the garden.
I have read several reviews that include those with a problem concerning the infidelity that is portrayed in this book. Well, my feeling happens. It happens all the time. I felt the author handled this in a manner that gave each of the participants my sympathy and my understanding. A hard th
This Book did not disappoint me...LOVED IT. Beautifully captures you from the get go.Two intertwine love stories past and present set in the English Countryside Estate. The details and vivid settings the Author writes are exquisite. A beautiful book to read especially during the summer season since she centers the story around the four seasons of gardening. The vivid pictures she paints of the cottage garden, wildflower garden and vegetable garden are so real ....makes you want to ...more
Dawn Prickett
I loved the writing in this book. It was beautiful and lyrical, melancholy and inspiring. I want to be a better mom and a better wife after reading this. The love story was enthralling in an almost horrific kind of way. In the end, I couldn't hate Ava, although, I am generally not a fan of affair stories. The author seems to make the case that their love was epic and inevitable, but Jean-Paul says himself says that Love is a choice. In the end, though, even though I was determined to be upset at ...more
After reading this book, it felt like I just spend 10 hours viewing a Picasso in watercolor and on construction paper. The work was certainly there but the true art of developing a good story was missing. It was a book of many "other" books which gave it little originality. The French Gardener is filled with subterfuges and superficialities, especially when it comes to deep heart issues.

Pardon the brevity of my review but I'd rather be curled up near a warm fireplace, reading a really good book
Ruth Bradbury-Horton
I really loved this book. I picked it for a Christmas read and was well pleased. Typically the story was always going to have a happy ending, and while it did, it wasn't the sugar-wrapped one I was expecting. Ok, maybe a little, but the twist at the end was good, satisfying.

The characters were as one would expect stereotypes, but that's life isn't it. I mean who hasn't got a Cate in their life, somebody who puts them down under the guise of "helping". Then there's Etta, unsure of herself, yet be
Andrea Stoeckel
What do you do when what you want most in the world can't be had no matter how or why? This story takes on the what ifs and magically transforms it to tangibility defined as the spectacular gardens described throughout the story. When unavailable love is manifested, it becomes spectacular.

Ava and Philip Lightly left their lovely home after illness and age made it impossible to care for. Miranda and David Claybourne have purchased and retrofit/ redesigned and brought Harington House back up-to-da
I read this book a few days after it came out. I have to say I do follow Mrs Fletcher on twitter so heard a lot about it in the build up to release, making me want to give it a go. When I started reading I wasn't sure what I was going to make of it.... I read it in 2 days, even staying up late to finish it. It was a good book, the characters were relatable and it made you feel like you were there with them. I know the feeling of having close guy mates so I felt I could relate. Not only that but ...more
The descriptions of the English gardens was lovely. The story itself was an unrealistic love story. I guess I have no feel for them anymore. Jean-Paul was sent to the English countryside by his parents, hoping that would help him grow up so he could then run the family wine estate. He falls in love with the "lady" of the house but, though she loves him also, she stays with her husband and children in England while he goes back to his family estate. He never marries as he can never love again but ...more
This book frustrated me. At times the author's turn of phrase was fairly cliched and way too flowery. I was more compelled by the modern day story or Miranda and David than by the story of Ava & Jean-Paul. They just annoyed me - in the way that the Horse Whisperer (the movie) annoyed me. Overall, I ended the book annoyed at it and at myself for reading it.
Reading this book was like escaping into a warm British countryside novella on PBS. Yes it was a bit of an emotional love story but it was nice escapism and a fast summer read. Yes the characters were a bit stereotypical and the ending solution "too easy" for the contemporary couple, but I still enjoyed it for what it was.
I received this book as an advance copy and may never apply for another, pooh. There are too many wonderful books available to waste time on a ho hum book. The pretense of this magical woman was too much for me. Martha Stewart beware! Miranda was more real for me. Hardly Maeve Binchy.
The thing I hated most about this book was that I couldn't stop reading it even though I hated the storyline! About halfway through the book, the storyline about the woman 20 years in the past was literally making me ill. However, the book was written well enough that I wanted to discover some of the motivations behind the characters and to see what happened. There were at least two chapters that I had to really struggle through to get the pay-off, though. Unfortunately, I don't think the pay-of ...more
Really liked this book. I didn't think I was going to like it at first because it's about a self-involved Mom and Dad who have no interest in their kids but the story quickly evolves. If you enjoy gardening, you'll like this book too.
 Barb Bailey
This is a really lovely romance novel set in the English countryside. Two love stories parallel one another as a French gardener works his magic at a beautiful country estate.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heather Ormsby
I didn't really like or identify with any of the major characters. She also stole a line from Shirley Valentine about stretch marks.
Aunty Janet
''Married couple, Miranda and David, move out of London into a beautiful country house with an idyllic garden. But reality turns out to be very different from their bucolic dream. Soon the latent unhappiness in the family begins to come to the surface, isolating each family member in a bubble of resentment and loneliness.
Then a mysterious Frenchman arrives on their doorstep. With the wisdom of nature, he slowly begins to heal the past and the present. But who is he? When Miranda discovers his s
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Born in England in 1970 Santa Montefiore grew up on a farm in Hampshire and was educated at Sherborne School for Girls. She read Spanish and Italian at Exeter University and spent much of the 90s in Buenos Aires, where her mother grew up. She converted to Judaism in 1998 and married historian Simon Sebag Montefiore in the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in London. They live with their two children, Lily ...more
More about Santa Montefiore...
The Mermaid Garden Meet Me Under the Ombu Tree Last Voyage of the Valentina The Butterfly Box Secrets of the Lighthouse

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“You bite the bullet and get on with it. One can't expect to be happy all the time ... You expect to be happy, as if it's a right. It's not a right. It's a bonus. The cherry on the cake.” 6 likes
“She was an original ... She was an eccentric. She'd come alive like a fire, telling funny stories and entertaining everyone, then she'd suddenly run out of fuel, make her excuses and leave. You always knew when she'd had enough. Those that didn't would find themselves talk to the walls.” 3 likes
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