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The Last Garden in England

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  2,211 ratings  ·  630 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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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  2,211 ratings  ·  630 reviews

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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Jan 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
Quick thoughts:

The Last Garden in England has three timelines: the present day, the early 1900s, and the 1940s, and I loved them all, and these strong female characters. Set in Scotland at a historic garden at Highbury House over these three timelines, first it must be designed, and later on, it must be restored. It also served as a hospital.

There’s also a romance at the heart of the story. The setting is as gorgeous as you’d imagine with this cover. A story of friendship, loss, secrets, and he
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
Jan 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-books
The Last Garden in England by Julia Kelly is captivating historical fiction, which takes place in a country well-known for its beautiful gardens. The plot unwinds over three different time periods. In 1907, Venetia is hired by the owners of Highbury House, to design a series of gardens on the estate. It was unusual for a woman to work in this profession in those days. In 1944, Beth leaves the city to become a land girl, helping farmers produce food during WWII. While there, she befriends a cook ...more
Feb 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audiobook of The Last Garden in England by Julia Kelly on Overdrive. It was brilliantly narrated by Shiromi Arserio, Marisa Calin, Danielle Cohen, Katherine Littrell and Siobhan Waring. This book captured the lives, hopes and desires of five different but very strong women. These women were connected by the lure and love of one very special garden. They lived during three different and distinct time periods.The gardens came to life through these women and influenced, impacted a ...more
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
Jan 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book tells the story of 3 different generations of women who were the architects of the gardens on one large country estate.

I found the stories interesting, especially related to the gardens. I'd never thought much about the large gardens on a country estate beside them being beautiful, so it was interesting to read of the first architect during the 1900s, the gardens being requisitioned during the war, and then current day, trying to reconstruct the original gardens.

Interwoven are storie
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
Jan 15, 2021 rated it liked it
2.5 stars rounded up for the endless garden detailing which I loved and enjoyed.

Three time periods with up to a dozen characters each and with the great majority of those being women? And all of these flipping quickly and continually? Depth just became lost as did 75% of the surnames and nickname or title features.

This is romance. But holds almost no heat in the telling. Opposite of something that truly does, like Outlander, for instance. And you get even less savvy or quick wit attraction in f
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
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
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
Cindy Burnett
Jan 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Centered around the fictional Highbury House gardens, Julia Kelly takes the reader on a fascinating journey through these elaborate gardens across the span of over a century. Set in a triple timeline format, 1907, 1944, and 2021, The Last Garden in England follows five women whose lives are interwoven with the house and particularly the gardens. Kelly brings the gardens to life, and I often felt that I was right there with the characters among the plants and flowers due to her creative and beaut ...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!
Laura • lauralovestoread
I am a long time reader of Historical Fiction, and was so excited to read this newest release by Julia Kelly. I love that the author dedicated this to her Father, who inspired her own love for gardening. It was Kelly who wrote one of my favorites, Light Over London, and I’m already falling back in love with her writing.

The dual timelines, a beautiful setting, compelling storyline that draws you in, and fascinating characters that I feel hold all the secrets to the past.

One of my favorite things
Barb in Maryland
4.5 stars

Lovely bit of Women's Fiction with several different generations tied together by a fabulous garden. The author deftly juggles 5 different POVs: Venetia, the garden designer in 1907; Diana, Stella, and Beth, who all had ties to said garden during WWII; Emma, hired to bring the garden back to life in 2021.
I thought the author did a good job managing that many POVs, but in was inevitable that some of the women were more fully developed than others. While I enjoyed Venetia’s sections, I f
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
Amy Green
Feb 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
What a lovely read this was! The descriptions of the planning and restoration of the beautiful (fictional) Highbury House gardens made me wish I could visit! I enjoyed the little bits of history tucked in too, though the story was driven more by the personal lives of the characters. The entwining of the three timelines was well done, and I genuinely cared about what happened to all five heroines (one at the turn of the century, three during WWII, and one in present day) as they fought, in variou ...more
RoseMary Achey
Feb 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed this triple time period novel taking place in the early 1900’s, during WWII and currently. The main character is a lovely garden outside a sprawling estate.

The characters were very likable and there is a bit of a mystery involved. Julia Kelly has done it again-well done.
I loved this book!! Highly recommend! Looking for a WW2 story? Several women’s lives all tied over a century to a garden. I’m so sad I finished it. I hope she’ll consider a second book to follow up with the protagonists I’ve come to know and love.
Jan 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
Absorbing, romantic, and beautifully written!

The Last Garden in London is an engaging, moving tale that sweeps you away to the Highbury House Estate in Warwickshire, England from the original commission of the estate’s gardens, through WWII and its requisition as a convalescent hospital, to the current day garden restoration efforts and the discovery of some long-buried secrets hidden beneath its soil.

The prose is rich and eloquent. The characters are resilient, brave, and authentic. And the plo
Dec 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Note: I was given early access to this novel in exchange for writing an impartial review. Scheduled Publication: 1/21/21.

Despite loving historical fiction, I'm sorry to say this one did not do much for me. Perhaps it's because I'm not a gardener. Despite what the book description promises, I did not find this either "poignant" or "unforgettable".

Like many new fiction books written these days, this one uses that tried-and-true (in my opinion, overused) device of telling multiple narratives, from
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
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
Feb 02, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did not find this book of interest though I am a woman and I do enjoy gardening. I borrowed this from my library because it sounded like a good tour of English gardens. The aim, it seems to me, was to write a book that a women's book club could find interesting to discuss as it spans a generation, giving us tastes of life in three distinct eras centered around a large house. The contrast and changes in societal norms is meant to launch discussion?
Just not for me.

Library Loan
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
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 13, 2020 added it
Taken place in three time periods. Over 100 years ago and recently. England where there are castles and other large homes. Where people planted beautiful gardens. It's WWII. Those who own these large "homes" are faced with helped the wounded. People become softer. Caregivers.

A gardener brings even more beauty to the home.

Today's gardener restoring the beauty.

It is with grace and beauty that the story winds and brings forth fragrance, hidden pathways, joy. People find themselves being able to do
Feb 12, 2021 rated it liked it
I love to garden, dig in the dirt, plant a seed and watch it come to life. So I was fairly certain this book about the life of a garden, over 3 different timelines, would be winner for me. It fell short, only a little though.

Highbury House is built in 1907 and the wealthy new owners want their garden to be as grand as their house. Enter Venetia Smith, an artist with plant life and color. Venetia knows, though, that talent and success will never elevate above her "worker-bee" station in life.

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Play Book Tag: The Last Garden in England 3 1/2 stars 4 11 Feb 12, 2021 09:42AM  

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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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