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The Forbidden Garden

(The Sparrow Sisters #2)

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  1,435 ratings  ·  241 reviews
Every garden is a story, waiting to be told…

At the nursery she runs with her sisters on the New England coast, Sorrel Sparrow has honed her rare gift for nurturing plants and flowers. Now that reputation, and a stroke of good timing, lands Sorrel an unexpected opportunity: reviving a long-dormant Shakespearean garden on an English country estate.

Arriving at Kirkwood Hall
Paperback, 400 pages
Published April 4th 2017 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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Pdrobs You will be able to read through it without needing to read the first book. I, too, picked this book up and realized that it was a sequel. There is…moreYou will be able to read through it without needing to read the first book. I, too, picked this book up and realized that it was a sequel. There is enough background information scattered throughout that you can definitely get the gist of the first book.

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3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,435 ratings  ·  241 reviews

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Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the second book from the author featuring her mystical, gardening sisters. In the first book, The Sparrow Sisters, the women were introduced and with this book the eldest surviving sister, Sorrel is featured. There was much trauma in the first book that leads to the actions in The Forbidden Garden. You can easily read this book without having read the first but as is usual with a continuing series, having done so will enhance the experience.

Sorrel Sparrow has an uncanny ability with flow
Dale Harcombe
When Sorrel Sparrow is hired, through a friend’s recommendation, to restore the Shakespeare Garden at Kirkwood Hall, she is unsure about taking it one at first. But her sisters Patience and Nettie and friends convince her to travel to England and give it a go. After the hurt and drama the three sisters experience in Granite Point, covered in the previous book about the Sparrow sisters. A change might be just what is needed. But Sorrel finds more than she ever expected, not only with the desolate ...more
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 I love an English garden and I was totally smitten in the Shakespearean garden recreation. First I must say I have two homes, one by the sea, and one in the inland heat with a bountiful but completely neglected garden. For twenty years all I did was toil in my garden from sun up until sunset, the last 7 years I have lived in a cold wet foggy coast where nothing can survive the ceaseless winds, cold and deer. I happened to be inland while reading and listening to this, which made it almost a ...more
"Hiraeth: a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was: the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past."

The Forbidden Garden had me with the above epigraph. I have always believed the old adage, "you can't go home again"--at least not expecting it to be the same home that you left. Sorrell Sparrow hasn't left home quite yet when we meet her at the beginning of the book, but with some traumatic events that have occurred at the Sparrow
Mar 02, 2017 rated it liked it

What I liked about this book:

1. It’s set in England.  The descriptions of the country estate and the London museums were interesting to me.

2.  There is a mystery about the failing garden, something about a Kirkwood family curse. The idea if a mystery intrigued me.

3.  The descriptions of gardening and the ability to grow so many herbs, flowers and vegetables – how I wish I had that talent.

4.  The cover is colorful and invites you pick the book up for a quick look, especially if you are a sucker
Christine Zibas
What worked was brilliant (gardening and characterization), but there were large bits of this novel that just failed for me.

Complete review to come.
Laura Valentine
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
Slow, predictable and far too many references to the previous book (it really could have been a standalone). But overall a good semi-Gothic beach read.
The Forbidden Garden was a delight to read. I felt immersed in life at Kirkwood. Herrick beautifully captures the imagination with descriptions of the grounds, the well-developed characters, endless, mouthwatering details about the food, and, of course, the planting knowledge of a true master gardener. The magical touches of the Sparrow sisters are woven throughout this rich novel. While the reveal of the mystery isn't much of a surprise, the journey to the book's climax is well worth it.

Suze Lavender
Apr 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sorrel and her two sisters are famous in New England for their gifts with plants. When someone overseas asks for their help with a problematic garden Sorrel takes the opportunity and travels to England. She will stay at Kirkwood Hall together with the people who hired her. To find out what's wrong with their garden Sorrel needs to learn all there is to know about the family's history, so she has an idea of what she's getting herself into. She has to unravel secrets and she'll have to restore the ...more
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thanks to LibraryThing for a copy of this book to review. I found this a very interesting book to read but I wish I had read Sparrow Sisters before I read this because there were so many references to what occurred in that book. I have just ordered Sparrow Sisters and that should fill in the gaps for me.

"Every garden is a story, waiting to be told..."
This is the belief of the main character, Sorrel Sparrow, who runs a nursery with her sisters. Sorrel has a remarkable reputation in Granite Point
Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
The second story featuring the Sparrow Sisters, this one focuses on Sorrel's story.

If you haven't read The Sparrow Sisters, you should. It's one of the best books I've read recently.

Each of the sisters is known for her possibly magical abilities in the garden.
After the rough year they faced in the first story, Sorrel accepts an offer to restore a Shakespeare Garden in England.

When she arrives, she is warmly greeted by the Kirkwood family. Graham and Stella are the married couple that hired her,
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sorrel is one of the Sparrow sisters, a trio (once a quartet) of preternaturally gifted women who have a connection with plants. Their nursery in New England overflows with gorgeous plants that grow and bloom fast- that’s Sorrel’s realm. Another sister works with herbs and healing; the third can make any food related plant bear lushly. For this reason, Sorrel has come to the attention of a wealthy British manor owner. Kirkwood Hall has been renovated and made open to the public part time. All is ...more
I won this book from the Goodreads Giveaways.
3.5 stars.

This is an enjoyable magical realism/paranormal story about the restoration of a Shakespeare garden on an English country estate.

The Kirkwood family have owned Kirkwood Hall for hundreds of years and within the extensive grounds is a walled garden that refuses to thrive. Everything that's planted in it dies and the garden is said to be cursed. Lord and Lady Kirkwood hire Sorrel Sparrow, an American gardener with a special gift, to restore t
Apr 18, 2017 rated it liked it
First off, let me say that The Forbidden Garden is both an absolutely enchanting and effortless read. It's the type of story that a reader can easily sink into, and wile away the hours with. To me, it would be the perfect outdoor read. Something to spend those beach days, hammock days, or even camping days with. Ellen Herrick has made something beautiful here, and it's honestly rather intoxicating.

As a reader, I tend to gravitate towards character who feel genuine. If the people I'm reading abou
Carolyn Russett
May 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
At the nursery she runs with her sisters on the New England coast, Sorrel Sparrow has honed her rare gift for nurturing plants and flowers. Now that reputation, and a stroke of good timing, lands Sorrel an unexpected opportunity: reviving a long-dormant Shakespearean garden on an English country estate.

Arriving at Kirkwood Hall, ancestral home of Sir Graham Kirkwood and his wife Stella, Sorrel is shocked by the desolate state of the walled garden. Generations have tried—and failed—to bring it ba
Cheryl (Collier)
Apr 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
A solid 4 1/2 stars with a 5 if I hadn't felt the ending was pat and abrupt and if one of the main male characters hadn't been such a sniveling oh woe is me person. The language, characters and sense of place and time entranced me. I was hearing a British accent even as I read; seeing the characters as real individuals; feeling a foreboding even as I celebrated triumphs with the family; and growing to believe that this was a place and a family I would choose to visit. I look forward to reading m ...more
Marne Wilson
I actually liked this book much more than The Sparrow Sisters, the first one in the series. The writing in this one was much more lyrical and descriptive. I also think I liked the rural English setting much better than the seaside New England village of the first one. However, this book was still far from perfect. A lot of the conflict felt manufactured to me, and I sometimes had trouble believing that any reasonable person would make certain decisions presented here as obvious. Still, if you l ...more
After a strong start, this book turned into a "meh" for me. I liked the idea of it but I didn't connect to the characters. The romance was undeveloped, it just kind of happens, and I really didn't care if they fixed the garden or not. I did like the end, when things started going wrong, but overall it was just a so-so read for me.

Content warning: strong language and sex

2018 challenge: a book by an author with the same fist or last name as you
Jun 06, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I chose this book as a book club selection because someone compared Herrick to Kate Morton and Alice Hoffman, two of my favorite writers. She doesn't even come close. Her writing was flowery and amateurish, her plot predictable, and her characters were flat. A waste of time and money.
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: upbeat-goodness
I enjoyed this SO much. The Sparrow Sisters was really lovely, and I enjoyed it thoroughly, but I admit I did not warm up to the characters nearly as much as in this sequel (of sorts) that centers on Sorrel.

All of the characters seemed more approachable and sympathetic to me, yet never boring or clichéd, especially maybe my favorite character, the garden itself.

Perfect cozy reading for anyone with a love for herbs, gardens, England, and family mysteries. Thank you for this magical, evocative n
Chris Conley
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh wow, a fabulous garden book featuring Sorrell Sparrow! This one has everything.
Angelique Simonsen
Feb 19, 2018 rated it liked it
easy fluffy feel good read.
C.J. Hill
An easy read - a straightforward account of a stereotypical relationship, a forgotten garden, and an attempt at magical realism in the form of some characters having magical powers. It needed much more development of character and situation to really immerse the reader in the world the author wanted to create. However, there were some areas of interesting writing and the premise was good, just not well-executed, IMO.
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: contemporary
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I requested an advance copy of The Forbidden Garden from LibraryThing because it looked like the perfect book for a fan of The Secret Garden and The Forgotten Garden like me. And it was. This one mixes a little magical realism into the closed garden theme and just a touch of witchcraft. It picks up where The Sparrow Sisters left off, with only Sorrell out of the three sisters not in love and settled down. In this sequel, Sorrell finds herself leaving Granite Point on the New England seacoast ...more
Jan 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Herrick (The Sparrow Sisters) moves the story of the Sparrow Sisters out of the small New England town of Granite Point to the English countryside when Sorrel Sparrow accepts an invitation to revive a long deserted Shakespeare Garden. Sorrell immediately feels like part of the family at Kirkwood Hall and begins to develop a special relationship with Lady Kirkwood’s brother, Andrew. Her ability to connect with plants and flowers appears almost magical, and everyone is sure she is just the person ...more
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really liked The Sparrow Sisters when I read it awhile back, and this second book was a hit with me too. Sort of a modern gothic in a way, but still haunting and keeps you reading. I'm pretty sure there will be a third book, and I'm hoping so because the ending was good, but short.

From Amazon:
Perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Sarah Jio, comes a lush imaginative novel that takes readers into the heart of a mysterious English country garden, waiting to spring to life.

Every garden is a story
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
I almost didn't get past the second chapter - I thought the beginning was so boring. I kept going and did finish the entire book but it didn't live up to my expectations based on the reviews. I was planning on reading the first book in the series but think I may have to wait awhile.
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book. First book was so good I bought it so I can re-read. Waited patiently for the author to publish book two. One can be hope there may be more in this series, and/or others of equal enjoyment by this author!!!
East Gwillimbury
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wonderful book about love, secrets and a terrible curse that kills everything in this wonderful Shakespeare Garden. It is only through terrible trials, that a horrible secret is revealed and through that discovery, the garden is able to regenerate itself to its once former glory.
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Ellen Herrick lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts and a small seaside town very much like Granite Point. She spent nearly ten years in the book publishing business as a publicist before moving to to England where she raised three children and traveled like crazy. After sixteen years in London, it was the ocean that called her home.

Other books in the series

The Sparrow Sisters (2 books)
  • The Sparrow Sisters
“Nettie set out a loaf of sourdough bread from Baker's Way Bakers, a wodge of runny Camembert, and a container of leftover lamb, rich with garlic and rosemary, nestled on a bed of spicy arugula from the home garden. She'd plucked two sharp green apples from one of the trees in their tiny orchard, and she placed a waxed bag of caramel shortbread beside them.” 2 likes
“The sisters were all gifted gardeners so Sorrel wasn't terribly worried about her beloved flowers. Patience's herbs were in fine form, Nettie's fruits and vegetables were well on their way, and now Sorrel's blooms would have the best start they could without her capable hands to see them into June.” 0 likes
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