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The Garden Party

3.21  ·  Rating details ·  125 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
The perfect family celebration requires the perfect family...

Alice Dunlop knows the best things in life are free. But the approach of her 40th wedding anniversary and 60th birthday surely warrants a proper celebration. With visions of a glorious family gathering complete with a marquee, champagne and beautiful sunshine, Alice has big plans for the big day. Her husband Davi
Paperback, 448 pages
Published May 12th 2011 by Headline Review (first published January 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Pauline Chamberlain
May 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Jul 23, 2011 rated it liked it
This book changes between a lot of characters: Alice and David and also some of their children, in-laws, grandchildren and friends. But with exception of Alice and Anne it wasn't very confusing, and it was mostly only confusing with Alice and Anne because of their similar names (I can be rubbish with names).

The book is about the life of all these characters, the tension and dilemma of family life, and the search of true happiness. Often in books you only know what the main character is thinking
Een roman over een vrouw die graag het perfecte gezin heeft. Ze is 40 jaar getrouwd, heeft 4 kinderen en die zijn allemaal uitgevlogen. Natuurlijk loopt het niet zoals ze het allemaal heeft bedacht. Iedereen bouwt tenslotte zijn eigen leven en maakt zijn eigen keuzes. Alice wil een feest geven. Ter gelegenheid van hun 40 jarig trouwen, de pensionering van haar man en hun beider verjaardagen. Nu geven ze nooit een feest en hiermee pakt Alice aardig uit. En hoe verlopen de levens van hun 4 kindere ...more
Aug 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
I listened to this audio book in the car and it was just right for that. Nice and easy dramatic entertainment. It tells the story of Alice and David, married for 40 years, and their children and their families. David and Alice had a traditional life - 4 kids, Alice stayed at home to look after them. Their kids live in a different world now, dealing with various challenges of step-families, new babies, exes, single parenting, and how women deal with the pressure to stay at home with children or g ...more
Nov 06, 2011 rated it did not like it
I was given this book to read by a friend, so let me start by saying that looking at the cover, I could tell that it was something I wouldn't normally have picked up on my own. Still, I decided to give it a chance. It's one of those books that your mom/mother-in-law would love to read during the summer. Like "Eat, Pray, Love" or something. Incredibly boring narrative about a retired couple's upcoming anniversary celebration. I was never so glad to get out of that hospital bed and walk into freed ...more
Maaike Boersma
Was best aardig om te lezen, maar neigt soms wel naar wat tuttig. Denk ook dat de vertaling wat humor heeft laten verdwijnen door soms te letterlijk te vertalen. Er worden verschillende hedendaagse relatieperikelen aangestipt, maar nergens wordt de tijd of de ruimte genomen om de verhaallijnen goed uit te werken. De huwelijksproblemen tussen David en Alice zijn bijvoorbeeld in theorie interessant, maar worden niet uitgediept, waardoor het geheel wat oppervlakkig blijft.
Oct 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-glass-room
I really enjoyed this gentle read. The characters were so convincing & well fleshed out. I really wanted to find out what happened to them & the way it was all weaved together worked really well.
Ok it's not great literature, but it is well written with some good descriptive sections. Excellent for stepping out of reality & becoming engrossed in convincing descriptions of a cross section of lives.
Want to read more by this author.
Aug 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Someone wanting an easy-read, family-orientated people
Recommended to Misssharice by: The Library
This was a warm tale of family life. I did find that the book took forever to get to the crux of the story and then was finished in about two chapters, it did feel a bit hurried towards the end. However, it made me think about my own relationships, both with my partner and with my family and that is what I got most from reading this, some insight into how some of the relationships I am a part of need some care and attention.
Megan Taylor
May 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
I have to say I enjoyed it. A bit on the slow side and it jumps around quite a bit but I stuck with it and I was glad I did. No family is perfect and although Alice thinks she has that perfect family its falling down around her. Will they all find happiness? it to find out! If you want an easy going read - perfect for a holiday read, train journey or just to take your mind off eveything else but won't tax the brain then this is the book.
Lisa Bergin
Oct 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, ebooks-library
I would have given this 3.5 if possible as although well written, I did not like it as much as some of the authors previous books. I found several of the characters either unlikeable or just annoying, so this spoilt my enjoyment of the book a little.
Annika Steen
Nov 16, 2015 rated it it was ok

Not bad writing, but quite slow to begin with. The story tells views from a lot of different characters that change even within chapters. Some of their problems seem to be a bit of the same and are suddenly solved getting to the end, which concluded it somewhat hastily.
Sophie Fransen
Nov 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Een perfect tuinfeest kan alleen met een perfecte familie is het motto van dit boek. Maar de familie is verre van perfect en dat maakt ze zeer menselijk. Het duurt even voor je alle relaties doorhebt, maar gaandeweg hou je ze goed uit elkaar. Een lekker leesboek!
Mar 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
A pleasant read I can only describe as "quiet." A soft plot with various family dramas, that ultimately lands with a strong message of the importance of family. Not a thrilling book, but just the kind of book you want to cuddle with on a sick day in front of a roaring fireplace.
Jun 23, 2013 rated it liked it
An easy read and likeable characters, the trials and tribulation of organising a family party and then secrets coming out all over the place and easy, comfortable read - nothing challenging about it but quite like it.
Linda Jamieson
Although I felt rather let down by the ending of lonely desert I decided to give Sarah challis another chance and this time her story was amazing from start to finish. Everyone deserves a second chance in more ways than one.
Sep 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: light-fiction
An easy light read but the characters in the plot are constantly jumping from one to another in a rather confused manner.
Mar 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
I registered a book at!
Sep 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
Jag kände att jag var lite fel målgupp här, sen tog den sig efter att tag. Den skildrar en massa olika karaktärer och vi kan väl säga att vissa är mer intressanta än andra.
Christine Barnacle
Jul 21, 2016 rated it it was ok

It was ok but a typical family saga story that had the typical happy ending'
Easy to read on the bus and pick up the story again
Jun 12, 2011 rated it did not like it
Couldn't get into into....maybe just my frame of mind - not ruling out I'd give it another go?!?
Jul 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
enjoyed this book
A very Joanna Trollope type of book. While Alice is planning a big party to celebrate her anniversary, it appears that her marriage and family is falling apart. I really enjoyed it.
Jun 19, 2012 rated it did not like it
What a dull book. The first book was much better.
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
Could have written that story in less pages no substance to it
Christina Rochester
Jan 07, 2015 rated it liked it
This book was kind of interesting but it felt like all the stories were too similar.
Jul 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Not a bad read. Interesting look at the interrelationships between family members and in particular between spouses.
May 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Easy pleasant read about family problems.
rated it really liked it
Feb 28, 2012
Hesterly Black Buckley
rated it really liked it
Feb 03, 2014
rated it really liked it
Apr 19, 2013
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Sarah Challis, whose father is the distinguished cinematographer, Christopher Challis, travelled widely with film units as a child. She has since lived in Scotland and California but is now happily settled in a Dorset village with three rescued dogs and three chickens. She is married with four sons.
More about Sarah Challis...

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