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The Black Garden

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  160 ratings  ·  27 reviews
A young university student from Boston takes on the summer job, in a small rural town, of clearing the accumulated rubbish from the house and garden of an elderly man, George O'Brien, and his granddaughter, Candice. The task is not as straightforward as he at first thought and Mitchell finds himself drawn into the mystery surrounding the Black Garden and the lives of his e ...more
Paperback, 232 pages
Published April 17th 2009 by Bewrite Books
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Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  160 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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Jul 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
First of all, let me just say that mystery is not my favorite genre, especially murder mysteries: I tend to find them dark, depressing, or gory. The Black Garden, however, is none of these things. Author, Joe Bright, has done an expert job of weaving a realistic story with heavy themes and rife with tragedy, yet which still leaves you with a light feeling, and the hope that there is true goodness in mankind.

In The Black Garden university student and aspiring writer, Mitchell Sanders, accepts a j
Liana Goode
Apr 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Black Garden kept me on the edge of my seat from the very first page. It has a shocking and abrupt start, which I believed was going to lead onto a murder mystery type narrative. Instead it changes pace completely into what appears to be a rather sedate plot in which a young man has been hired by the O’Briens to clear their house out. However not everything is as it seems. The O’Briens are ostracised by the villagers, but why? Joe Bright has created a superb book; he has managed to perfectly ...more
Edward Blythe
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Black Garden was a great mystery. The book keeps you reading from page one to the end. The tension and who-done-it style of writing by Joe Bright was wonderful. I hope he's working on new novels. Great job. ...more
Apr 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This is an amazing novel. With a group of complex characters woven together in a mystery, The Black Garden is a fascinating tale of pain, betrayal, friendship, change and what it is to be human. I wish I was feeling better so that I could write the review it deserves, but this will have to suffice: Read this book!
Kate Redford
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I totally enjoyed this book. The transitions between settings was very smooth. The characters were well defined. The sub stories were smoothly connected with the main character's story. There is a surprise but very realistic ending.
I plan to read another book by this writer.
Susan Stinebiser
Nonstop Interesting Read

Nonstop Interesting Read

I couldn't stop reading. So much human emotion and mystery on every page. Better than any I've read in a long time!
Cynthia Sinsap
Feb 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Worth reading another by this author
Judy Moss
Feb 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
loved this story, highly recommend.
May 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Some stories impress you as outstanding by leaving you feeling like you hit a brick wall at full speed.

The Black Garden felt like an expertly driven ride in a classic muscle car, with each climbing curve handled masterful with optimal acceleration at the perfect place in each turn.

It was one of the books I looked forward to getting back to ASAP. Hefty subject matter; nuanced; with artful insight from many angles. The characters were vivid, while wit & heart colored it subtly throughout with the
Wendy Del Toro
Finding it difficult to give an objective review because it was so not my cup of tea. Way too "wholesome" for my liking. If it were actually the 1950s right now as I read it, I might think differently but being 2019, I found it too corny and cheesy. And the whole rumour/gossip about Candice and Grandpa should have been negated by what happened to Carolyn in the prologue- for both the townsfolk and the reader. Ditto for the necklace. But the end elevated it a bit. ...more
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An engaging story !

This started out to be not my usual type of story, but it quickly drew me in and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Well -developed characters and a good story line . This would make a great movie!
Julie Cochran
Loved this book! We read this as a bookclub because my friend grew up with the the author in Evanston, Wyoming. I’m looking forward to reading more of his works. I feel like this book would get a bit more attention if it had a different cover. This isn’t a dark and dreary book. Haha Great for any YA/church bookclub.
CA Portnellus
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not what it seemed if judging a book by its cover! It was a sideways telling from a young man’s point of view about a ruined family in a small town. Everyone in town seemed to know the O’Brien family and had their own take on the horrific events that should have died out over 20 years before. Yet this tiny family continued to be berated, shunned, and harassed by many in the town. It is in thanks to a young man Mitchell who discovers over the months of summer the truth and the sadness. Helping to ...more
june gambell
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A story with a twist.

A reality good story, with a twist at the end. It took me a while to get into it, but once I did I couldn't put it down.
Vanda Bromwich
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Carolyn O'Brien was raped by Grant Baxter, the son of the richest wheeler and dealer in town. Grant denied this and after the birth of her daughter Carolyn was accused of incest with her father. She committed suicide and her father and daughter were taunted by the townspeople and became hermits.
Years later George O'Brien put an ad in a Boston newspaper for an odd job man to help sort his place out. Mitchell Saunders answered the ad and helped sort out not only the house but also their lives.
A ve
Aug 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
This is listed as a mystery, but the mystery is only part of the story. It really is more about small town politics and gossip, and how someone from the outside can make (at least some) people rethink their old prejudices. Many of the characters are not very likeable, but they are multifaceted and do show the ability to change. The protagonist started out as someone with whom I wasn´t very impressed, but he grew and overcame some of his own passivity to help be a change agent for the old man who ...more
Patricia Bergman
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the few books that I believe deserves 5 stars. The countless themes as well as very interesting characters with a mystery thrown in for good measure prevented me from putting this down (except for eating and total exhaustion). I highly recommend this for mystery fans and connoisseurs of great fiction.
Marcena Kane
Mar 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A garden of delight

I have the book 5 stars because I know I will read it again one day. The main characters were written so well that I felt I knew them. I was never sure until it was divulged at the end what had happened all those years ago. The author could have had many ending scenarios but I was pleased with what he wrote. I hope to read more from this guy.
Debbie Lilley
May 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Was recommended by a friend and I have to say really enjoyed it About a small town with a lot of prejudices and How a wealthy family will try and run the town with bullying But all it takes is 1 person to make and stand and the rest will follow :)
May 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: drama-mystery
An excellent mystery! The interesting and surprising twists, turns, characters- the story had my attention from beginning to end. The author does a great job of pulling you in. I enjoyed this book very much.
Jessica Morris
May 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Started reading this on a whim and got really hooked. There's an interesting mystery, but the characters are the real focus. Occasionally, the protagonist made me want to kick him and tell him to grow up, but he did over the course of the novel, so it worked out. ...more
Renee Slahgt
Good story

Interesting narrative. Quick read. A little predictable, but well composed. That's all I have to say but since at least sixteen words are required, I'll end this way.
Miss Dizzy Read
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourite-books
Another one to add to my favourite book list, managed not to cry!
Patti L Bennett
Community disgrace

This book did not hold my attention very well. Much to do about what a small town can do to a person or a family based around a single action. Sad human behavior
Cindy Smith
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
the alleged pedophile/murderer was a more sympathetic character than the main narrator, Mitchell.
Ron Brugger
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Didn't know what to expect, this story turned out to be a fun story of a summer job with a couple of interesting twists. I would recommend this for anyone. ...more
Fran Olson
rated it really liked it
Feb 09, 2014
rated it liked it
Mar 01, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Nov 15, 2015
Brenda Tait
rated it really liked it
Mar 29, 2019
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Joe Bright spends far too much time probing the dark and macabre. It’s an unhealthy obsession—or so his therapist claims. It started innocently when he was a child as he delved into the writings of King and Lovecraft. This ultimately led him down the grim path of story telling, starting first with poetry and short stories, and ultimately, introduced him to the dreaded novel.

Along the way, Joe lef

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