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The French Gardener

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  3,609 Ratings  ·  483 Reviews
Paperback, 406 pages
Published June 2nd 2009 by Touchstone (first published April 3rd 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jun 17, 2012 Rebecca rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio-books
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
Nov 19, 2009 Julie rated it did not like it
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
Stacey Peters
Apr 23, 2010 Stacey Peters rated it really liked it
Shelves: love-romance
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
Jul 20, 2010 Brandi rated it liked it
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
Amra Alihodzic
Oct 07, 2016 Amra Alihodzic rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amra Isović
Oct 05, 2016 Amra Isović rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, za-curke
Ovo je knjiga koja se "pije" kao najljepša izvorska voda , priča tako fino teče,žubori, likovi detaljno opisani i jako realistični, životni, a onda sve to oživi i razbukta nevjerovatna ljubavna priča, i završi na moju žalost sa gorko slatkim okusom u ustima, kraj koji vas u isto vrijeme rastuži i razveseli, ova knjiga je u meni budila razne osjećaje i definitivno je jedna od lijepše napisanih koje sam čitala u zadnje vrijeme...Tko voli osebujne likove, sadržajnu priču i finu razmjenu monologa i ...more
Apr 18, 2012 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013, favorites
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.
Jan 14, 2017 Apatricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
O meu coração ficou totalmente rendido a este livro, foi magnifico numa maneira super diferente, adoro aqueles romances super frescos que se lê numa noite, mas este estava carregado de uma historia profunda, adorei, não esperava gostar assim tanto
Ricki Treleaven
Mar 09, 2013 Ricki Treleaven rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 14, 2011 Susan Ferguson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club-reads
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
Apr 26, 2012 Sue CCCP rated it liked it
Shelves: review-written, nyobg
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
Dec 12, 2016 Dark-Draco rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
We found this on a charity stall at the local County Fayre. Mum enjoyed the last book by this author, so we picked it up. Now she's read it, it's been passed on to me.

This was the first book I'd read by this author and I did find it quite enjoyable. It's quite a 'gentle' romance, telling the dual stories of two women who live in the same house decades apart. One, Ava, has a happy marriage, a beautiful garden and wonderful kids, but still falls for the young French gardener. The other, Miranda, f
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,
Karen Mace
Aug 13, 2015 Karen Mace rated it liked it
Shelves: paperbacks
this book covers the gardens at Hartington House over 2 different times - from 2004 and the 1970's. Miranda and David move to the country after their son Gus is expelled and its a big change for them all, especially Miranda as her husband works mainly in London leaving her and the children in Dorset. She sets about rediscovering the gardens that Harrington House was once famous for and with the help of the mysterious French gardener who shows up out of the blue they all begin to discover the hid ...more
Oct 15, 2012 Andie rated it did not like it
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
Sep 29, 2016 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this. The 'past' storyline was so absorbing that it was a jolt when the author switched back to the present. The characters felt very real. A great read!
Andrea Osborn-Evans
I loved this love story from Santa, it was full of mystery and romance, and the settings were idyllic. I'm going to read more of these.
May 07, 2011 LindyLouMac rated it it was amazing
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
Santa Montefiore has been slowly winning me over. This is the third book I read by her and she has been proving me that she has it in her to write great and delightful stories. Of the three books I've read, this is the second one that I'll be rating 5 stars and that's good news both for me and for the author as I'll definitely keep reading her words. She is really good in writing about love, about people, about lives and also about magic.
This French Gardener is adorable. The start wasn't really
Feb 05, 2010 Susan rated it really liked it
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
Nov 03, 2010 SarahC rated it it was ok
Shelves: modern-fiction
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
Paula Sealey
Jan 21, 2014 Paula Sealey rated it liked it
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.
Oct 07, 2009 Cindy rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 15, 2016 Mariazita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Adoro os livros desta autora, Santa Montfiore escreve romances delicados e dolorosos, e este é mais um livro lindo .
Miranda o marido e os filhos mudam-se para uma casa no campo, tendo vivido sempre na cidade com vidas supérfluas e agitadas agora irão sofrer uma mudança radical.Miranda e os filhos no principio não conseguem ambientar-se a esta mudança até que aparece um misterioso jardineiro francês que vai trazer magia á vida de Miranda e dos seus filhos com a recriação do antigo jardim da casa
Jul 31, 2010 Lorma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 01, 2013 Dawn Prickett rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2012
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
Mar 27, 2015 Ann rated it it was ok
This is an easy 'holiday' read. For me it was a bit of a fairy tale! I think that the author can write quite well, perhaps she should try for a story that is more realistic. This sort of story is just a fantasy - it would never happen. I am also very irritated by the designer references - it just is very shallow and meaningless. Going on about a pair of shoes which cost more than most people can earn in a week!
Yvonne Morgan
Jan 12, 2014 Yvonne Morgan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: not-put-downable
Just the way this author writes beautifully descriptive writing.

knew i was going to like this book but did not appreciate how much and how it drew me in every word and phrase just transported me to this beautiful place and its magic...

love the characters and how they all weave there own special magic through the pages of this book...

Totally recommend and top prize for a really amazing read..x
Nov 24, 2009 Alicia rated it it was ok
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.
Aug 22, 2013 Laurie rated it really liked 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.
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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
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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.” 11 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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