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The Night Garden

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  2,049 ratings  ·  311 reviews
Nestled in the bucolic town of Green Valley in upstate New York, the Pennywort farm appears ordinary, yet at its center lies something remarkable: a wild maze of colorful gardens that reaches beyond the imagination. Local legend says that a visitor can gain answers to life’s most difficult problems simply by walking through its lush corridors.
Yet the labyrinth has never
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 7th 2014 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2014)
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3.40  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,049 ratings  ·  311 reviews

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Claire Robinson
Aug 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Think of your favourite fairy-tale characters, smoosh them all together and add all the colours of the rainbow, as well as all the others you know of, and quite a few you haven’t heard of yet, and write it for grown-ups. That pretty much sums up the Technicolor ride you go on with this book, sprinkle in a little bit of magic, a little bit of mystery, and a whole lot of weird and wonderful and you will happily find yourself ensconced in Green Valle
1.5 stars

Review to come closer to the release date, as required...

Release Date: October, 7th

Arc provided by Ballantine Books through Netgalley

It appears that I have been lucky.

Up until this book I had never considered the fine line in which magical realism authors have to stay in in order for things to work. The phrases used that should be magical, instead of cheesy:

Part of Olivia's particular allure was how mysterious she seemed, how kind hearted yet distant, how nurturing but withhold
I wish I had something better to say, or at least something more to comment on. Truth be told, nothing about The Night Garden grabbed me. I didn't care about the setting, I didn't care about the characters. I didn't care that instead of a bed, Olivia's sleeps outside in a garden full of poisonous plants. The magical aspect did nothing for me. If you're new to Magical Realism, please don't start with this novel. If you're a fan of the genre, I'd still say give this one a pass. Maybe if I was stuc ...more
Debbie Robson
Dec 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really believe that we are drawn to certain books at certain times in our lives. Sometimes we don’t even know that we have chosen the “right” book. For me 2015 was a terrible year health-wise. My eczema flared up to the point that I couldn’t function at work or at home. I reached for this book because I loved the blurb and the location of the novel -upstate New York:
“Nestled in the bucolic town of Green Valley in upstate New York, the Pennywort farm appears ordinary, yet at its centre lies som
Brittain *Needs a Nap and a Drink*
This book had such potential but it just fell flat. There. I said it.

Olivia is poisonous to people and has distanced herself purposefully and absolutely. That is, until her old flame Sam comes back into the picture and is determined to figure out a cure for her touch issues. All of that being said, she also keeps a barn full of lost and misunderstood women who look for answers but provides little to no comfort to them. Her father is a hermit living in a ravine by himself and the entire thing is
My Review:

I received an eARC of The Night Garden from Random House via edelweiss in exchange with an honest review.

This book is a great collision of Shatter Me's Juliette and the beauty of The Secret Garden , two of my favorite reads.

Lisa Van Allen has such an exquisite way of painting such a creative magical realem, then bringing it to life with her amazing description. Her writing is not only limited to this, but also the beauty of portraying a person's state of mind and the credibility of sto
I really wanted to like and enjoy The Night Garden by Lisa Van Allen. I enjoy magical realism but unfortunately, this book did not live up to the expectation.

Olivia Pennywort is not a character that I could believe in...everyone is allergic to her and she sleeps in poison ivy every night. Arthur Pennywort, her father, was selfish - leaving a 16-year-old Olivia to run the family farm so he could go live in the ravine. Sam Van Winkle was a relatively flat character as well.

There was some promise i
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
I never before realized what a subtle balance is required in a good magic realism story. Since it is my favorite book genre, I figured the more fantastical elements the better. Van Allen proved me wrong with this story.

The garden itself is beautifully described, a wondrous creation of hedge-bordered maze-like spaces with differing themes. The garden maze can help the wanderer realize the answer to his or her questions, and it grows magically. But even elements of the garden itself seem unbeliev
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

“To visit the Pennywort farm was to be reminded of everything in the world that was beautiful and bountiful…luxurious and endlessly good.”

In upstate New York, Olivia Pennywort tends the family farm and the remarkable garden maze that she has created as a haven at its heart. It is said that the maze offers its visitors the answers to their most difficult questions, but it affords no such benefit to its caretaker who harbours a secret that forces her to keep everyone at arm's length. Over the year
Sep 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars! Lyrical, whimsical and utterly charming! Although one cannot help comparing it to the likes of Sarah Addison Allen, this tale is really quite original, crafted in such a beautiful way and truly magical from so many points of view - literally and figuratively. For you see the author strikes just the right balance of friendship and warmth, longing and love, all wrapped up in nature, providing a holistic escape to another somewhat magical place. I found this to be an entirely captivating ...more
Dec 22, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: never-again
Spoiler !!!!

Why did her father keep trying to get her involved with a man who was allergic to her? What kind of relationship did he think they could possibly have? "If he really loves you, he won't care"????? He practically went in anaphylactic shock when he touched her.

I think the father was selfish and a coward. He left her alone to run the farm when she was sixteen because he couldn't face what he had done to her? How much love is this?

And she is a martyr. Not a enjoyable book.

Jul 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
I liked this book more than I thought I would! Magical, mystical, mysterious love story!
Pauline Aguayo
May 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Have you ever been mesmerized by a flower? The way it gently sways against the currents of a summer breeze. How regally it blooms in hues of blue and green. Its heady scent of citrus and soil.
Well, don't expect to be mesmerized by Allen's book because it makes no room for such things.

Allen's book promised to be enchanting, and this was its biggest mistake. When you hear a word like "enchanting" you expect a little romantic flourishes here, a few hints of magic there--but unfortunately that did
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, small-towns
Meh.... It was pure literary fluff. I needed a change of pace of all the horror I've got stacked up on my bedside table, so I thought I'd go with a fun story about a small town and a magical garden. The story line was kind of unsatisfying, the characters were a little flat, the descriptions and narration weren't quite as mesmerizing as I had hoped. Overall, my reaction was "meh." It kind of got me into a summer frame of mind, made me want to drink lemonade while sitting in the shade, but honestl ...more
Jun 01, 2018 rated it liked it
The Night Garden was an interesting book. I really didn’t bond with the characters, but I still enjoyed reading it.
Judy Collins
A special thank you to Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

THE NIGHT GARDEN by Lisa Van Allen, is a magical fairy tale; whimsical journey of hope, love, forgiveness and courage.

Outside the windows of northwestern Catskills, the Pennyworts each year have expanded the beautiful garden maze to be one or two rooms bigger. Flowers grow out of season and plants that should not have bloomed in western Catskills soil were hardy and flamboy
Aug 14, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
Original review can be found at

I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Ballantine Books via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

I was intrigued when I read the synopsis for this book but it did not fully describe what this book is about. When I discovered what Olivia's secret was I became excited and prepared myself for a truly great read.

Although the premise of the book was outstanding, the story fell a little flat making
Tara - Running 'n' Reading
Aug 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
In my experience, there are times in life when a particular book resonates with me more than it might if I'd picked it up at any other time; The Night Garden really was what I needed during the time I read it and I'm so happy to have found it. The language of this novel is so appropriate to its theme; flowery, smooth, yet prickly, and often very beautiful. I found myself reading several passages over and over, just to fully absorb the depth of the message.

Lisa Van Allen shares an enchanting tale
Hauntingly beautiful, heartbreakingly poignant The Night Garden is truly a pleasurable reading experience. It has the making of an epic fairy tale, complete with an enchanted princess, isolated in her tower surrounded by her magical gardens, unknowingly a prisoner of her wizard father's love. Rescue comes at the hand of her Prince Charming, wearing a tarnished armor, fallible yet willing to fight for the love he lost once. Both Olivia and Sam, the main characters, are truly wonderful, multilayer ...more
Jul 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
Ohhh, this book could've been SO much better than it was! I got a very different idea of what it was supposed to be from the description I read of it. But it was at it's base just a fluff romance. The whole concept of the garden and what it did to Olivia were pretty intriguing, and some of the descriptions were wondrous. I think the author would have been better off fully developing those points and making the love story secondary. All of the "oh, I think I want to be with him - but I have this ...more
Dec 14, 2014 rated it did not like it
I couldn't finish. I LOVE magical realism but this I haven't had any desire to pick up again after getting a quarter of a way through it. Too bad. The premise is there but it just doesn't add up. I haven't read any spoilers and I can see where this is going. (Maybe I will read the last chapter.)

I usually also love anything with a garden but she lost me with the the poison ivy bit...and having to sleep naked in it just goes too far.

Here's to looking for the next great magical garden book! Cheers
Nancy Brady
Sep 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-book
A magical garden full of mazes is the setting for this novel that features Olivia, the woman who is in charge of it, her father, and Sam, the man she loves. She has a secret, which causes her to be aloof, alone, and untouchable. When Sam returns to the Green Valley area, she must confront her feelings once again. Can she make those changes and take a chance on love, or will she grow into a lonely, bitter old woman?
I've shouted my love for magical realism from the rooftops many, many times and you know I'm absolutely giddy every time I get my greedy little hands on a book that is chock full of it, but sometimes, every once in awhile, I read a book like this and fall right off that rooftop, flat on my face. This, unfortunately, was one of those times... You have no idea how much I wanted to love this book. 😭 For much of the book, I wasn't even entirely sure what the problem was... the characters were just s ...more
Josie Cook M.A.
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Transported into a garden maze of beauty and surprise inside the pages of Van Allen's story! A mesmerizing journey to the end as the characters become unforgettable and running out of pages becomes sadness, I will remember these characters for quite awhile and miss them.

The Night Garden is captivating and a must read for all dreamers, inspired writers, and those wanting to escape their everyday routine. I loved and cherished this one as I read it. My first read by this author.

Olivia is she rea
Stacy Wendt
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I ordered this book because it was touted by goodreads as a read-alike to Sarah Addison Allen. I'm a HUGE Sarah Addison Allen fan! HUGE! So needless to say I was super excited to read this story. Goodreads knocked this recommendation outta the park. I really enjoyed it. It is a good read for anyone who enjoys magical realism or gardening! I have already had her first book, "The Wishing Thread", ordered for our library collection. It is incredibly similar to "Garden Spells" with a poisonous twist ...more
I loved the Wishing Thread so much I went on to The to the Night Garden which was really good too . I was glad it
Had the same narrator Amy Rubinate she is nice to listen to . It was an enchanting story and similar to the wishing thread only with a garden theme more like the sparrow sisters .
May 20, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was weird and a bit ridiculous. The some of the magic was interesting, but most of it was weird. It just didn't feel like magical realism. The characters were over the top, too. It made them unlikable. I like aspects of the garden, but that too was a bit much. There is a happy ending. Although, it too is unrealistic.
Jul 25, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a very middle of the road book. Not great, but not terrible. Glad I didn't pay full price for it. I may read it again later, to see if my perspective changes.
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
Oct 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: romance
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Bookworm Bitches : September 2015: The Night Garden 5 89 Jun 24, 2019 06:50AM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 19, 2015 07:01AM  

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Lisa Van Allen is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of THE WISHING THREAD and THE NIGHT GARDEN. Her work has been translated in six languages and printed in seven countries to date, and her work has appeared multiple times on bestseller lists. When not writing, she can usually be found cleaning up the endless piles of books left around the house by her toddling daughter, trying t
“Lilies of the field did not threaten to uproot themselves if they didn't like where they were planted. On the slopes of the mountains, saplings struggled to grow in the shallowest puddles of soil that collected on bald rocks. Along the side of the valley's single road, chicory and yellow trefoil had learned to thrive in waste spaces, where passing cars blew exhaust against them all day long. Like Olivia, they had no say over where their seeds took hold: When they could not change their surroundings, they themselves had to change.” 4 likes
“The good thing about problems is that it seems like there's only one way to get into them, but there's usually lots of ways out.” 4 likes
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