Jennifer's Reviews > The Savage Garden

The Savage Garden by Mark Mills
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Aug 12, 2010

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Read in August, 2010

Another fun historical novel with a slightly far-fetched plot but a good pace of events. Is this a cozy? I can't decide. Great art, pretty buildings, a dark-eyes stranger, but it resists the formula of a cozy mystery. It's more subtle.

There were several times in the story where the author, I think, just forgot that he was writing about an English student and the Italians he meets in 1958. A man confronts drunk, armed German soldiers because they are breaking up his antiques. The sexual mores are startlingly contemporary. The dialogue veers between "translated English" and American English circa 2000.

These flaws aside, the author built the mystery very well, and I read the book FAST, wanting to see what happened next. This would be a great vacation read.

I do kind of wish the author had more faith in readers to either get or look up his literary references. I didn't need to be beaten over the head with the Giant Rat of Sumatra. But I didn't really know the references to The Divine Comedy either, so maybe I'm just giving myself more credit than I deserve. :)
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