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The Last Garden in England

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  363 ratings  ·  267 reviews
Present day: Emma Lovett, who has dedicated her career to breathing new life into long-neglected gardens, has just been given the opportunity of a lifetime: to restore the gardens of the famed Highbury House estate, designed in 1907 by her hero Venetia Smith. But as Emma dives deeper into the gardens’ past, she begins to uncover secrets that have long lain hidden.

1907: A t
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published January 12th 2021 by Gallery Books
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Nov 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

Scotland, 2021. Emma is commissioned to restore a historic garden at Highbury House. She strives for historical accuracy in re-creating a garden. And that’s the part I enjoyed the most in this story. The process of finding any kind of trace, a drawing or a picture, that would lead her in the right direction. The story is also consumed by her relationship with her parents. And her mom’s regret that Emma didn’t go to college. Instead, she took a course in garden design and opened her own
Dec 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was totally and delightfully transported to the country estate created by author Julia Kelly in The Last Garden in England. Many of the historical fiction books I’ve read and enjoyed take place in dual timelines. This book immerses us in three periods of time where we meet five fascinating women all connected by the massive garden of Highbury House.

In present day, Emma Lovett is hired to restore the once magnificent garden of the large home, which is undergoing a major renovation. Emma’s resea
ʚϊɞ Shelley's ʚϊɞ Book Nook

I am in awe of this book. First the all honesty I saw historical fiction and the cover and fell in love. Second, I cannot find the words to successfully articulate the impact the book had on me. I loved the three timelines and the different points of view from three very strong women. I really cared about all the characters that Julia Kelly created and that is truly a sign of a brilliant read.

The vivid descriptions in this book had my imagination on overdrive as I thoug
Sep 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Last Garden in England by Julia Kelly is an excellent historical fiction novel that is a triple timeline story that weaves together to create a beautiful and amazing book that kept me riveted from beginning to end.

I have been a huge fan of Ms. Kelly for quite a while now. I loved her previous two books: The Light Over London and The Whispers of War. When I saw that she had a new book coming out, I knew I had to read it. And it most certainly did not disappoint.

There were so many things I l
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
The Last Garden in England was my first book by Julia Kelly, and it won't be my last. In this latest book, her story is set around the lives of five women who are connected by the stunning gardens of Highbury, a remote country estate in England. I enjoyed Kelly's writing style, vivid descriptions and how she incorporates a variety of female lead characters, illustrating how their circumstances, professions, and social standing impact their lives.

The story is told in three eras - modern day, 194
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

One thing that draws me to a book is an old house, and Highbury House sounded amazing.

With the mention of many gardens, I was pulled in from the start.

We meet Emma who is restoring the famous gardens and two women from the past who had seen the original gardens.

No one knew why it was kept locked or where the key was, but you will find out when you read this lovely book.

If you enjoy Julia Kelly's books, you won't want to miss this one. 5/5

This book was given to m
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It happened again. I am on my elliptical multi-tasking cardio with reading. At about 83% I was weeping. Julia Kelly, you have a winner. Why have I waited so long to pick up one of your books? There are two others on my TBR list. I have been missing out. This is such a wonderful tapestry with threads from three timelines and all based on a garden. Not just any garden, though. This grand garden is a masterpiece conceived in 1907 by Venetia Smith -- don't you just love that name? The plans included ...more
Camille Maio
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another engrossing book by author Julia Kelly, who has come to be quite reliable for escapist historical fiction. Once again, I was drawn into the lives of the characters (there are quite a lot in this book!) in such a way that it startled me when I came to the end of a chapter and forgot that I was reading rather than witnessing. A compelling story about women, war, mothering, and gardening, put this on your list of 2021 reads!
Dec 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was such a good book! It centered on a British garden in three different time periods and I loved all three stories. I don’t know much (anything) about gardening but I could picture this one quite well.

I’m curious about the author’s choice to set the present day story line in 2021. Is that how authors are going to handle 2020? Just skip over it as if it didn’t happen? Fine with me!

This is the second book I’ve read by Julia Kelly and I’m adding her to my list of must read authors.

Thank you
Sydney Long
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-reads
When I saw Julia Kelly’s name pop up on NetGalley, I immediately requested the book without even reading the description. I’m a huge fan of Kelly and the cast of characters she creates. She effortlessly laced multigenerational characters with a common theme, place or object. And my instincts were 100% dead on...The Last Garden of England is FANTASTIC!

Last Garden weaves together the lives of several strong, independent women from present day and all the way back to the early 1900’s. The common de
Genevieve Graham
Bestselling author Julia Kelly plants the seed of an idea, nurtures it into a vivid, intriguing seedling, then fertilizes, prunes, and shapes its various twisting branches into a stunning garden. Connected across the decades by a garden in desperate need of their care, three fascinating women grow alongside one another, shedding secrets and insecurities, eventually blooming with self-realization, hope, and love.
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing

"Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee." --Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

OH WOW! How I loved this wonderful, wholesome gem of a novel. It was so bright written with Julia Kelly's love of her character's. I would give it 100 stars if I could. I also loved every single one of the character's. They were deep and thoughtful to each other. It is an intricately told tale about our humanity coming together for the greater good of working together to make oursel
I received this from

Set in three timelines. 1907: Venetia Smith, 1944: Beth Pedley, Present day: Emma Lovett are all involved with Highbury House Gardens.

I enjoyed all the gardening stuff, the designing/planning and how different flowers/shrubbery would mature and create the garden rooms. I spent much time looking at pictures of the flowers that were mentioned. But, there were very familiar storylines making this an uncomplicated (boring?) predictable read.

Annissa Joy Armstrong
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book by Julia Kelly is stellar!!! There are 3 timelines...1907/1944/2021. The story revolves around the gardens at Highbury House.

Venetia is the first one to begin work on the gardens but is forced to leave before her work is done and leaves for America to start a new life after some scandal/tragedy.

In the 1944 timeline, Diana is the new the owner of Highbury and it has been taken over by the government as a hospital during the war. Stella works in the kitchen and Beth works on the land at
Dec 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wwii
A lovely story reminding us that it can be a small world, joined by many coincidences. I love the descriptions of the gardens, and like the descriptions of running the convalescence hospital. I was not terribly familiar with all of the "girls" activities either. Knew about the WAAF but not the Land girls, how interesting! I am reminded of a response I saw an author give about what time period she would like to live in if she could be sent there, and she said not before 1960, as much because of b ...more
Aug 30, 2020 rated it liked it
I loved the concept of this book far more than the execution. I have always been curious about the concept and execution of a majestic, monumental British garden and the idea of following the history of a significant (if fictional) one for 100 years was really enticing.

But, somehow I didn't find the magic I was looking for in this book. The concept of a garden as a statement of wealth and "taste" was not new to me, but the lack of heart and emotion in the couple who commissioned "The Last Garden
Aug 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Netgalley ♥️ it's January 1908. She walks in the winter garden surrounded by Christmas Roses. I loved the opening descriptions.bthen it's February 2021 and Emma is meeting with clients. I liked reading about Emma's work in the winter garden. I loved going back and time and reading about the past. I loved reading about the beginnings of the garden. I loved the characters and seeing how they would connect to the present. ...more
Books, Brews & Booze
Dec 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
This is a book I can see myself rereading every year or two. It’s a beautiful travel through several women’s lives, who all have the same garden in common, throughout the ages.

Each woman goes through a breakthrough, a revelation, a coming-into-her-own, and I cheered for them each time.

It was heartbreaking in parts. There were a few scenes where the weight of them came though the pages and I felt it in my heart. That’s a skill that isn’t super common, in my humble opinion, and very appreciated.

Jan 01, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, fiction
I found the pace of this book very enjoyable and loved reading about the garden from different points of view. I would recommend this to readers that enjoy romance.
Lyndi Trowbridge
Oct 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-2020
This story is told in three different timelines but centered around one very special garden at Highbury House in England.
1907: Venetia Smith is hired to design a garden for this beautiful home. She fashions several small garden "rooms" such as the tea garden, children's garden, and the winter garden. When her client requests that she use her brother's roses instead of the variety she had planned, Venetia is initially frustrated but becomes pleasantly surprised by the roses and by Matthew himsel
Kimberly Mussell
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Julia Kelly has a way with words. The Last Garden in England was so captivating and fresh. This is historical fiction with not two eras, but three! I love the travel through the ages and learning about each stage and life of the gardens.
It was like three stories for the price of one. Even though there are numerous characters, Julia has them so well developed that the story just flows. This is one novel that I didn’t want to end. Thank you NetGalley and Julia Kelly!
*This book was received as an Advanced Reviewer's Copy from NetGalley.

The Last Garden in England is the first book I've read of Kelly's . Choosing to situate her book in three different time periods, they all revolve around the same garden, and the lives of the women who touched that garden.

Venetia is a garden designer in the first decade of the 20th century. Known for her designs and use of non-traditional styles, she's made a name for herself. Now, working on a new garden, she finds distractio
Gwen Larson
Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Julia Kelly has taken three “okay” stories about women finding themselves within the constraints of the times in which they live and woven them into a rich tapestry spanning a century within THE LAST GARDEN IN ENGLAND.

If you’ve ever toured a sweeping historical home and wondered about the lives of those who lived there in earlier eras, you will love this book. The author’s descriptions and details are so well-done that you need know nothing about gardening to immerse yourself in the Highbury Hou
Shirley McAllister
The Winter Garden

This is a story that crosses three different time periods. It is a story of strong women.

In 1907 Venitia Smith created the first beautiful garden at Highbury House setting a standard for women in the garden design business. She left London never to return because of a secret forging a new life in America.

In 1944 Highbury house was turned into a convalescent home for wounded soldiers. Three strong women had close ties to Highbury House and the gardens. Beth(a land girl), Stella
Kayleigh 2babesandabookshelf
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Actual star review 4.5 - full review coming

My thoughts:

-If you have any interest in horticulture or gardening, YOU MUST READ THIS. If you're a historical fiction lover, that will be the icing on the cake for you! The way that Julia was able to mesh these 2 very opposite concepts together in such a gorgeous manner is something to cherish. I loved learning more about different plants and flowers - especially through the eyes of Venetia (she was my favorite character).

-This one gave me some Downton
Sep 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was was immediately drawn to this book when I saw the cover on Instagram. I mean who does not love an English garden? The book, which is set in England, specifically the village of Highbury, was told during three different time frames, by Venetia Smith, a garden designer in 1907, in 1844 by Land Girl, Beth Pedley, cook at Highbury House, Stella Adderton, the mistress of Highbury House, Diana Symonds and present day by garden designer, Emma Lovett. Venetia’s story is of particular interest as s ...more
Rachel Page
Dec 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2020
This was my first giveaway win! I was excited to read this advance copy.

I really enjoyed this book, but it gets 3 stars instead of 4 for a few reasons:

1) There are too many women in the book (that sounded horrible, but hear me out...). This novel follows five women, but three of them are directly tied to each other in the same time period. It seemed so unbalanced. The perspective of only one of these women was written in first person. I understand why this decision was made, but sometimes I woul
Dec 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sandy Kershner
This book is centered around one magnificent garden, and three timelines. The author expertly blends the three timelines as she follows the story of the garden's creation, maintenance throughout the years of World War II, and the 2021 plans to restore the garden to its former glory. I love gardens and gardening, so I enjoyed reading of the design and creation of the gardens. The concept of garden rooms was not one I was familiar with, but it was fascinating. The research for the restoration of t ...more
Dec 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This story happens on 3 alternating timelines with a garden connecting three women over time. In the first timeline, we meet Venetia Smith in 1907/1908 as she's planning and planting a garden for the Melcourt family at Highbury. In 1944, Diane Symonds is now the lady of the house and finds solace in her garden as her home is requisitioned for the war effort. In present day, Emma is hired on by the new owners of Highbury to restore the gardens to their original glory, which is a huge honor due to ...more
Lauren Rosano
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. This is absolutely something I would pay money to read, and will likely do so (I plan on buying it for myself, and my mom)! Kelly's writing is beautiful, and despite the 5 competing storylines, I felt drawn to each of the women and all the stories were woven together beautifully. I adored the concept that all their storylines (and lives) were connected by a garden; and what a quaint backdrop for this exquisite piece of historical fiction. Each of the women was a complete indiv ...more
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Julia Kelly is the international bestselling author of sweeping WWII novels about ordinary women and their extraordinary stories told from the British Home Front. In addition to writing, she’s been an Emmy-nominated producer, journalist, marketing professional, and (for one summer) a tea waitress. Julia called Los Angeles, Iowa, and New York City home before settling in London. Readers can visit J ...more

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