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

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  1,423 ratings  ·  175 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
Paperback, 368 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.

Be the first to ask a question about The Victory Garden

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.30  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,423 ratings  ·  175 reviews

Sort order
Feb 04, 2019 rated it liked it
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
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-2019
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
Rachel McMillan
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Mark Baker
Feb 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
Emily Bryce is about to turn twenty-one, and she is ready to start doing something to help with the war effort. Her parents have kept her at home with her mom hoping to find someone from the aristocracy to marry her off to, but Emily is determined to find her own path. Then Emily meets Robbie, an Australian pilot recovering from an injury at a hospital in the area. Even though her parents forbid it, she keeps seeing him behind their back. She also soon joins up with the Women’s Land Army, helpin ...more
Kate Carlisle
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
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.
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thanks to netgalley, I was able to read Rhys Bowen's latest a couple of months before its release. Bowen's last two standalone books took place in World War II. For "The Victory Garden," she tells the story of Emily Bryce during the last two years of World War I. Combining history, feminism, romance, and a good story, I was drawn into Emily's story, especially her relationship with the garrulous Robbie. She eventually finds her place in a small town, where most people accept her for who she is. ...more
Karen Kay
I received this from in exchange for a review.

As the Great War continues to take its toll, headstrong twenty-one-year-old Emily Bryce is determined to contribute to the war effort. Emily’s lover has not only died a hero but has left her terrified—and with child. Since no one knows that Emily was never married, she adopts the charade of a war widow.

A quick and easy read, rather predictable.

Feb 12, 2019 rated it liked it
I’ve read and enjoyed a few Rhys Bowen books, which left me eager to dive into The Victory Garden. I was eager for another read that was addictive in the ways of In Farleigh Field and The Tuscan Child, and happily devoured this one.

Although The Victory Garden was an addictive read, one I was able to complete in no time at all due to my addiction, I found I did not enjoy it to the same degree as my other Rhys Bowen books. It was enjoyable, it kept me hooked, but I wasn’t quite sucked into it in t
Cathy Daniel
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a lovely book! I cried sad tears, I cried happy tears, I was surprised by a couple of plot twists. Alllllll the happy feels and goosebumps!
Tanja ~ T's Book ~ 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
WWI had a devastating effect on England’s population of young men, and with the flu epidemic right on its heels, fewer and fewer men were available to work the farms, run businesses, and follow in their father’s footsteps. It was an unprecedented time of loss and change for all, during the war and after. Young women who had previously been in well-defined roles according to their class in society found themselves coming together to fill the void on farms, in industry, in family-owned businesses, ...more
3.5 stars. This is my second book by Rhys Bowen that's not part of the Royal Spyness series, and I've both so engrossing. I felt completely transported into the world of this story.

This book takes place near the end of WW1, and charts a young woman's journey from a sheltered daughter to a mother who is charting her own course in life. Emily's romance with Robbie is almost painfully naive, but realistic given her inexperience with men and the heightened intensity of wartime. She shows remarkable
My first novel by Rhys Bowen and I loved it! Set during the Great War in 1918, Bowen gives a fictional account of what hardships and sacrifice many went through during the war.

Emily, the main character is portrayed as a strong, independent woman who is not afraid to follow her own path in life. Emily cultivates the friendship of many diverse women and makes somewhat of a family out of those who have no one else.

Although many in the story have suffered loss, this is not a sad, depressing tale, bu
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another fabulous book from author Rhys Bowen. Her books are always favorites and this one did not disappoint. Characters that you learn to care about. I did not know much about the farm girls that helped keep farms going during the war when so many men were gone. Truly a great book. 5 stars for this one.
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
Cathy Cole
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rhys Bowen has written a lovely standalone piece of historical fiction set during the last months of World War I. I spent a wonderful afternoon immersed in her story and living with her characters. My favorite wasn't Emily, as might be expected, but the octogenarian Lady Charlton, who is a mass of contradictions and more than capable of surprising all those around her. However, there are enough characters in the book for readers to each have their favorite.

Over many years of reading, I have foun
Eager Reader
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Emily Bryce, WW1,is eager to join the war effort but as the last living child her parents are keeping her at home. Meeting an “unsuitable” recuperating Australian pilot from the hospital on the estate next door she falls in love. After her twenty-first birthday she joins the land girl army and leaves home continuing the relationship until he leaves for France. She is engaged and pregnant when she learns of his death. A good depiction of the British class system on the brink of change, the bondin ...more
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the story line but I did feel like something was missing. I couldn't put my finger on it though. Maybe some writing development? Deeper character development?
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review to follow
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Rhys Bowen is one of my favorite authors. Even her pen name is interesting! I thought there was perhaps a little too much time spent on setting up the main story which made the ending feel a little rushed and less significant. Still a good read for sure!
Review to follow.
Sarah Shoo
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this non-mystery by Rhys Bowen. The theme of families we choose really resonated, and the female friendships were so well-written.
Highly recommend this new novel.
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A “Can’t Put It Down” book by Rhys Bowen. It’s worth reading - every page had substance, no fluff required. It’s one of those books where you just have to know what happens next. I finished it in one day!

The Victory Garden takes you through a young woman’s journey in discovering herself and what she’s truly capable of when faced with life’s adversities.

Living a life of privilege, you could say that Miss Emily Bryce was one of the lucky ones during the Great War. Coming from a well-off family, sh
Laura Carter
Oct 19, 2018 rated it liked it
The story of the book and the premise was great. But there was an emotional lack that just made the book okay, especially when you consider the subject matter. The main character went through highly emotional circumstances but she doesn’t show much emotion other than what were told she feeling: “She felt sad.” I would rather be shown what someone is feeling than told.

I love Bowen’s series’s and her writing style does well with amateur sleuthing and mysteries, but it falls flat with this differe
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Originally published at Reading Reality

Unlike this author’s previous standalone books, The Victory Garden is set in 1918 as World War I is drawing to its close.

However, just as In Farleigh Field, this is a book about the homefront of the war and not about the ugliness of the war itself. Not that there isn’t plenty of ugly at home.

As the story begins our heroine is immured at home in Devon. Her upper-middle-class parents are determined that the ugliness of the war will completely pass her by – wh
Theresa Smith Writes
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This novel turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable read, far exceeding my initial expectations. It’s a very feminist story about the contributions of women at home in England during the WWI years. I’ve heard it said before that WWI fractured the class distinctions historically prevalent throughout England, and while I’m sure it didn’t eradicate them entirely, I can see how the war enabled the breaking down of these barriers. WWI had such a devastating effect on the population of men, both during ...more
« 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 »
Rhys Bowen is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty mystery novels, including The Tuscan Child. Bowen’s work has won sixteen honors to date, including multiple Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards.
  • The Beantown Girls
  • Loving Liberty Levine
  • The Spitfire Girls
  • One Last Summer
  • Murder on Trinity Place (Gaslight Mystery #22)
  • Past Due for Murder (Blue Ridge Library Mysteries #3)
  • The American Agent (Maisie Dobbs, #15)
  • The Promise
  • The Parisians
  • The Vanishing Man: A Prequel to the Charles Lenox Series (Charles Lenox Mysteries prequel 2)
  • The Most Fun We Ever Had
  • The Stone Circle (Ruth Galloway, #11)
  • The Black Ascot (Inspector Ian Rutledge #21)
  • Margot at War: Love and Betrayal in Downing Street, 1912-1916
  • The Beautiful Strangers
  • A Rather Remarkable Homecoming (Penny Nichols, #4)
  • Lies Told in Silence
  • Mistress of the Ritz
"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 two internationally bestselling WWII novels, one of them a #1 Kindle bestseller, the other selling almost half a million copies to date.

I also write the Agatha-winning Royal Spyness series, about the British royal family in th
“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.” 0 likes
“War’s a bugger, isn’t it?” he said. “All the mates I started out with are gone. And now most of the boys I flew with.” He said it in the most matter-of-fact way, as if it were something quite expected.” 0 likes
More quotes…