Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Victory Garden” as Want to Read:
The Victory Garden
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Victory Garden

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  37,634 ratings  ·  2,389 reviews
From the bestselling author of The Tuscan Child comes a beautiful and heart-rending novel of a woman’s love and sacrifice during the First World War.

As the Great War continues to take its toll, headstrong twenty-one-year-old Emily Bryce is determined to contribute to the war effort. She is convinced by a cheeky and handsome Australian pilot that she can do more, and it is
Kindle Edition, 347 pages
Published February 12th 2019 by Lake Union Publishing
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Victory Garden, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  37,634 ratings  ·  2,389 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Victory Garden
Feb 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley

Rhys Bowen specializes in historical fiction with a heavy side of romance. This time, she turns her attention to the last year of WWI. Emily is a young lady of means, at a loss of purpose when she meets a young Australian flyer recuperating at the hospital next to her home and they quickly fall in love. Once she turns 21, she signs up to be a land girl, much to the consternation of her parents. It doesn’t take long for her to end up engaged, pregnant and her fiancé dead.

This book is heavy on ro
The simple message of a garden is hope that sprouts from tiny seeds.

Rhys Bowen presents a story in the midst of The Great War. It's May of 1918 in Devonshire and Emily Bryce is about to celebrate her twenty-first birthday. Being the daughter of a judge and living on quite a sizable estate, Emily is removed from the hardships that have worked their way into the lives of most families in England. But that is all about to change.

Emily corresponds with her best friend, Clarissa, who has become a nur
✨ Gramy ✨
It did seem to take an awfully long time (nearly six chapters) to set the scene, develop the plot, and build the characters. But after all the groundwork was constructed, the story flourished into an intricately detailed drama, entertaining the reader by allowing them to visit another time and place with hours of pleasure.

This quote is a very minor influence of the book, but it rings so true"
Books are wonderful. You can get transported away by a good story. If we're living in a place like th
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Set in 1918, towards the end of "the war to end all wars" the story tells of the trials and tribulations of 21 year old Emily Bryce. She has been kept close at home by her parents who are still grieving the loss of their son, Emily's brother Freddie. The moment she comes of age Emily leaves her home, becomes engaged to an Australian fighter pilot and joins the Land Army. All very brave moves! Of course things do not turn out the way she hopes, but Emily ends up making life long friends and findi ...more
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2019
I love Rhys Bowen’s books, especially the recent stand alone historical fiction such as In Farleigh’s Field and the Tuscan Child. Therefore, it pains me to write this review. I found Victory Garden to be predictable, forced, and unrealistic. With few exceptions, I found the characters two dimensional, like they were playing a stereotyped role. I did enjoy the main character Emily, but even she fell into a predictable and disappointing pattern. I also think the title was misleading. Overall, I wa ...more
Garg Ankit
"The Victory Garden" by Rhys Bowen is apparently a historical fiction novel revolving around World War I. It is fiction alright, but historical only up to the extent that the events are scheduled around a war of the writer's choosing, WWI in this case. It could have been any other war in history, and the story would have still kept afloat with no to few changes. Meaning to say, I would have loved more details about the war itself for the tag to make sense.

Apart from that, the plot is predictable
Deacon Tom F
Oct 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Charming Story

I very much enjoyed this book. The Victory Garden was set during WWI. The main character Emily was an exceptionally strong character.

More review coming.........
Mary Ann
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Whew, this is the last of this author I had on my shelves! I know Ms. Bowen is a very popular and prolific writer, beloved of many, and I respect that. I think I've figured out why I'm not a fan myself. It's not the plotting; I've read other books with predictable plots which I nevertheless enjoyed. It's not the characters; they are pleasant enough, and many have potential, especially her older characters. The settings for the stories I've read are lovely-the English countryside, the southwest o ...more
Rachel McMillan
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first non-mystery book by Rhys Bowen I have read. I am a huge fan of her mysteries because I love the accessible style, her capable ability to render a historical setting and world to life and her characters. Such memorable characters.

The Victory Garden proves that Bowen can write with easy elasticity in any genre. While I found the book lacked a certain emotional depth; it was still a worthy snapshot of one woman's experience during a time when women were seen to have much more agen
The Lit Bitch
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I stopped reading the review pitch once I saw ‘WWI’ in the description, which was basically the first line in the summary. I have read a lot of stand alone novels by Bowen and have been impressed with her writing and historical research.

Her stand alone books have mostly been set in WWII, but WWI is truly my favorite period in historical fiction, so seeing that this book was set during that time earned this book and instant and enthusiastic, ‘yes’ from me.

I have consistently enjoyed reading Bowen
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
4.5 stars
Rhys Bowen is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, who has published a range of award winning historical fiction novels. The Victory Garden, published in 2019, is her latest a standalone historical fiction title. Set in the last year of World War I, it is the story of a young woman who experiences love, loss, duty, commitment and independence, during a time of great uncertainty. It is a compelling period piece that demanded my undivide
Maureen O'Connor
Feb 22, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
One always hesitates to be the lone negative review in a sea of five star reports but this book was no where near worth the time to read it.

The author took 2/3 of the book to get the plot to the same point the book flap had gotten with little added to justify the slog. The "atmospheric " touches were banal and the use of 17th century language in the retelling of "recipes" (a 20th century word) was laughable and unworthy of one who regularly writes historical fiction.

Stereotypical, one dimensio
The description on the back of this book was on point, nothing else to this story.

This follows the fictional life of the main character Emily during WWI. The story does include her life among the Women's Land Army, albeit not into much detail. Since the book covers the very end of the war, the land girls and Emily's life there were only given about one fourth time of this novel. I was disappointed. Next, the story tries to then focus on the main character using natural herbal remedies as the ne
Kate Carlisle
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read The Victory Garden last weekend, and it was the perfect book for a long, cozy weekend of reading. We ate leftovers because I didn't want to stop reading long enough to pull together dinner. Rhys Bowen is a masterful writer. She transported me to another time and place--England, toward the end of the Great War and then the time immediately afterward. Emily was a character to cheer for. When she found herself alone, unmarried and pregnant, she had the grit and determination to forge a life ...more
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I expected more from The Victory Garden. I heard a lot about this book before I read it. I tried several times, but unfortunately, I couldn't get interested in the story. It didn't hold my interest at all. I skimmed through. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review. ...more
Kylie H
Oct 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book is set during WWII, it centres on Emily Brice who is twenty and feeling imprisoned by her parents. Her mother is determined that Emily will marry well, preferable to a titled man. However, with the war on and so much loss, including her own brother Freddie, gentlemen are in very short supply.
When Emily turns twenty-one she decides to forge her own path and do something useful with her life, like her best friend Charissa who is a nurse in the battlefields of France. Unlucky with nursing
Joe Larson
Mar 24, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read a lot of books that I don’t particularly enjoy. It’s my preference to finish them nonetheless, so I power through and once I’m done I probably don’t ever think about the book again.

This one though… oh boy. I finished reading this book at 12:30 in the morning and it left such a horrible taste in my mouth that I got out of bed, grabbed my computer, and started hate typing this review.

TLDR Version: For me this novel has absolutely no roots. Nothing drew me in and nothing made me care about
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
An overly sweet bit of fluff chock full of anachronisms that must surely have taken place in an alternate reality because it was all too good to be true and everything was much too easy for our erstwhile heroine although, the author would certainly have us believe otherwise. I had expected something more along the lines of Mary Stewart's Thornyhold; how disappointing. ...more
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
While I have enjoyed her royal spyness series, I found this book to be insipid, predictable and boring.
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I love most about Rhys Bowen’s writing is her ability to sweep you away to another locale. She engages all of the senses and allows the reader to escape to a different time and place. While reading this I was no longer on my couch, in the midst of a Minnesota winter. I was completely wrapped up in this story, the distinct smell of a wood burning fire in my nose and the damp feel of a stone cottage in my bones. This sweeping saga is beautifully written and I adored the characters, the settin ...more
I've been on a bit of a kick when it comes to fiction set in WWI lately, so I was happy to pick this up at my local library. Unfortunately, it wasn't that good of a book.

My main problem with this book is that it just wasn't that compelling. The romance was tepid and the conflicts are generally solved within the same chapter in which they're introduced, only to have yet another "major conflict" to be introduced in another couple of chapters to be solved in the same manner. It was tedious.

Lizzy (Bent Bookworm)
~*Review first appeared on The Bent Bookworm!*

The Victory Garden is a poignant, sweet book that takes place at the end of WWI in England. Emily is just turning twenty-one as the book starts, and she at last has the legal standing to shake off her overprotective parents and really DO something for the war effort. Having already lost her brother, she feels the need to do something to honor him.

“I want to be useful. I want to do my bit, so that Freddie’s death was somehow not in vain.”

In the proces
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable if a bit predictable. But that didn’t detract from the emotion and the loveliness of the characters.
Yvonne (Fiction Books)
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
“The simple message of a garden is hope that sprouts from tiny seeds”

This is going to be quite a difficult review to put together – not because I didn’t love the book, because I did – but because on Rhys’s recent visit to Fiction Books, she answered questions so fully and in depth, that there seems to be little else I can add without repeating the interview, or giving away too many spoilers. You really do need to check out the lovely conversation we had – and of course, read this amazing novel f
Tanja ~ KT Book Reviews
The Victory Garden proves that beauty can grow and envelope the darkness. It also embodies the saying "Hope Springs Eternal". I truly feel that fans of Bowen are in for a real treat. It's an amazing tale of history, love, and the real struggle of being a woman in a time where perception is everything. I can't sing its praises enough. Another 5 star read from Rhys Bowen.

Follow us on
KT Book Reviews
Book Babblers
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The ending was a complete and utter surprise! Did not see this revelation coming and what a great way to conclude this lovely novel. Overall, its entirety was fascinating, as I not only learned much appreciated factual information, the character development was spectacular and I found the strong female friendships, bonds, and resilience which developed during this time of tremendous hardships and losses inspiring and empowering!
I received this book as a digital ARC from the publisher through Net Galley in return for an honest review.

This is the story of Emily Bryce, a twenty-one-year-old young lady, who tries to collaborate in the war effort in order to gain her own identity against her family. She then becomes a "land girl". While living in Devonshire state, she discovers a forgotten diary on herbal garden.

There are some parallel and secondary plots linked to the main one which makes the reader to anticipate the final
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
May 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Young woman finds her own path during WWI. It is a tender heart warmer.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Storyteller of Casablanca
  • The Skylark's Secret
  • These Tangled Vines
  • The Keeper of Happy Endings
  • Reluctantly Home
  • The Singing Trees
  • The Last Rose of Shanghai
  • Write My Name Across the Sky
  • The Last Green Valley
  • The Hope Chest
  • A New York Secret (Daughters of New York, #1)
  • An Unfinished Story
  • The Beekeeper's Promise
  • The Passing Storm
  • The French for Love
  • The Longest Echo
  • The Secrets We Left Behind
  • Seven Perfect Things
See similar books…
See top shelves…
I'm a New York Times bestselling mystery author, winner of both Agatha and Anthony awards for my Molly Murphy mysteries, set in 1902 New York City.

I have recently published four internationally bestselling WWII novels, one of them a #1 Kindle bestseller, and the Tuscan Child selling almost a million copies to date. In Farleigh Field won three major awards and was nominated for an Edgar. My other s

Articles featuring this book

Many of today's historical fiction novels are set during World War II. To help you broaden your reading list beyond those war years, we looked...
107 likes · 47 comments
“I’m teaching you how to survive in a difficult world. You can’t be under your parents’ thumb forever. You have to take charge of your own life now you’re going to be twenty-one.” 2 likes
“There is nothing to say except that life is unfair. You will get over it, … but only time will heal your wounds, and then not completely. We just have to made do with what we have left and treasure those around us who are still alive.” 1 likes
More quotes…