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The China Garden

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  2,871 ratings  ·  210 reviews
When Clare moves with her mother from London to Ravensmere, an historic English estate, she can't shake the feeling that the residents already know her, especially Mark, a maddeningly attractive biker. Clare also feels compelled to take midnight walks in Ravensmere's abandoned China Garden. Then her mother reveals that their own past is tragically linked to the estate. But ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 6th 1999 by HarperTeen (first published March 1st 1996)
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Igloo2766 I have been checking Amazon every couple months and contacting the publisher to make it available for Kindle. I can report that I happily just purchas…moreI have been checking Amazon every couple months and contacting the publisher to make it available for Kindle. I can report that I happily just purchased it! It came out in July! (less)

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Average rating 4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,871 ratings  ·  210 reviews

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Apr 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I read this as a teenager, and it has always been one of my favorites. It's fresh, young, mysterious, and even a little magical, and it's got a perfect love story. ...more
Oct 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
I'm trying to remember now where I first ran across a reference to this book. It may have been on Meg Cabot's blog a few years ago, come to think of it. She's always dropping good recommendations here and there and I often pick up on them. This one I ran down at my local library, where they fortunately had this gorgeous cover. And not the hideously awkward hardback cover. I adore this cover. It's really perfect for the book itself, evoking all the adjectives that spring to my mind when I think o ...more
Dec 14, 2007 rated it it was ok
I need to stop reading worthless books. I wasted a whole day with Liz Berry’s The China Garden and will make this review short because I don’t want to waste your time.

Berry has an interesting premise. Clare moves with her mother to an old English estate and discovers both the people and the land have secrets.

However, the book can’t decide what it wants to be: a mystery, a romance, a treastise on ecological responsibility, or a guide to paganism. One moment Clare wants to save the planet; the nex
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book is written quite well but I don't like stories where the female lead falls in love with a guy who kidnaps, robs, and sexually harasses her, oddly enough. He is unapologetic about it too, and two pages later she's holding hands and hanging out with him, as if the previous chapter didn't happen. It's the bad boy trope taken to an unhealthy degree. Would not recommend. ...more
Ashlee » libraryinthecountry
Sierra Simone sent me here
Aug 23, 2009 rated it it was ok
I was both disappointed and grossed out by this book. How is that possible? Well, here it is. The writing was pretty good for the most part with great descriptions when the book needed it and the premise/some of the plot ideas were fun and cool to dig through BUT you know that premise up there? Yeah, the one that mention a hot biker dude named Mark? It took over 132 pages to introduce him. The amount it took to introduce one of the major players in the novel in a 254 paged book was far too long. ...more
Sep 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book when I was about 16, and I still love it many years later. It's a great example of YA fiction, and it was before its time really as it would fit in perfectly with the current trend for supernatural romance. No monsters here, but definitely an element of the supernatural, and a great teen romance. There are so few good YA books written by British authors and based in Britain, I think The China Garden should be re-marketed and re-released so that the current generation can e ...more
Aug 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: teenage girls
please please don't reach the age of 19 without reading this coming of age book about summer love, ancient power, pagan culture and mythology.

mind blowing!
Oct 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was my absolute favorite book when I was in middle school through high school. I thought I would go back and re-read it since it had been quite a while. I admit that it definitely fits into the teenage angsty mystery/fantasy genre nonetheless it's still a fun read. I can't claim it as my all time favorite anymore but it is still up there on my favorite books list.

Clare Meredith spends the summer with her mother at Ravenswood in the countryside of England. As she spends her time there she fi
Michelle Anjirbag
Aug 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I fell in love with this book when I was in middle school and checked it out of the library every chance I got. Now, having graduated from college, I have read through three of my own copies. It is one of my favorites for reasons I still don't know. It is not particularly literary, but as a girl's story, a coming of age fantasy, it manages to walk a line between showing a strong, independent teenage girl growing into herself as an individual, and a young woman living out an epic, magical love st ...more
Apr 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I love this book! I've read it twice...and then I lost it. My plans of buying another copy have been hindered by my habit of buying books I haven't read yet.

Update: They are now also hindered by the book being out of print.
Feb 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: epic-faves, re-read
I don't know why this isn't on kindle. Let me get my one and only frustration out of the way.

Now onto what matters: the exquisite awesomeness of this book. The Secret Garden, Rebel Without a Cause, Greek Mythology and Fairy Tale all rolled into one.

While I'm biased for sentimental reasons, these reasons are grounded originally on why i loved this book in the first place when I read it as a teenager. I was in a strange phase of would-be discovery, adventurousness in a boxed up, overly sheltered w
Mar 30, 2012 rated it liked it
The China Garden
by Liz Berry

Genre: Paranormal Romance / Fantasy / Young Adult

'Remember, I tried to stop you. Don't blame me. Remember I tried to warn you.'
Clare is chilled by her mother's warnings to stay away from Ravensmere, the large country house where her mother has taken a private nursing job. But Clare knows she has to go there - it is not a choice but a compulsion. And she only intends to stay a few weeks, anyway, just until she goes to university in the autumn. Ravensmere is a strange
Dec 09, 2015 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Georgiann Hennelly
Jan 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
When Clare and her mother move from London to a historic English Estate Ravensmere, she can,t shake the feeling the residents already know her, especially Mark. Clare feels compelled to take midnight walks in the China Garden. Then her mother reveals that their past is tragically linked to the estate. Beautiful story about care takers of a well kept secret between familys that has been kept for centuries. T he eldest son marries the eldest daughter and together they guard the secret from outsid ...more
Dec 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is a modern-day reinvented holy grail fiction work in many ways, as our protagonist Clare learns of her history, fate, and duty. While not the most scholarly work nor the most thought-provoking, Liz Berry's use of language and characterization made this book leap off page when I was a young teen. I have reread this novel many times and love it just the same each time; the message seems to even get fresher with the passage of time. I will always adore this book. You will love this if yo ...more
Apr 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Just re-read this book after several years. It's a guilty pleasure kind of read, but unlike other guilty pleasure books from when I was a teen, this one held up. I've re-read other books that I loved as a teenager and found them not quite as good as I remembered, but this one was still awesome. It's steeped with history and mythology and there's a very cool kind of classic gothic novel essence to it. It's also well written, enough so to stand the test of time. Enjoyed it very much, again. ;) ...more
Sep 06, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: anyone looking to waste some time
Light summer "teen fiction" reading. I was a little disappointed that the "maddeningly attractive biker" who was raved about on the back cover didn't appear till at least half way through and it was pretty easy to predict the plot after about 30 pages. Still, though, it was kind of decent, with lots of those endearingly silly psychic and ancient female ritualistic themes. ...more
Jun 22, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2008
Ah, YA. Subtlety is not your strong point. You make points using train wrecks, and not being satisfied with beating the dead horse, you mangle and dessicate the body. Let me not even get started on certain YA tropes that makes me want to throttle things, because parents aren't *THAT* oblivious. I'm going to have to have a moratorium on reading the genre for a bit; I've reached my limit. ...more
Mar 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
amazingly well-written, and a great story. It can be a little bit confusing sometimes, though, with a complex family history. all in all, an excellent read.
Mar 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Let Ravensmere die,
Let the land be torn open,
The end of the world
Is surely betokened.
Clare’s mother wanted Clare anywhere this summer except where she herself had to go, home to Ravensmere. Not knowing anything about her mothers past she goes with her mother to this mysterious town that tries to keep out visitors. When Clare meets the residents of the town they seem to already know her including an extremely hot biker named Mark. Oddly she is compelled to take midnight walks in a Garden that has
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Clare is about to embark on her university studies, prodded into business by her boyfriend rather than into medicine or history which are her greater interests. She is surprised by her mother's plan to return to her home village to be a private nurse. While her mother does not want her to go, Clare convinces her to let her come as well. When she arrives she is astonished that everyone knows not only her mother, but also knows about her and are jubilant in her return. There is mention of mysterio ...more
Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Edit: I have now read the book a third time through and I still love it so much! It is still a favorite of mine, and wouldn't be surprised if I re-read it again. (Read in 2006/7, 2012, 2015).

I read this book for the first time about 6 years ago. I remembered I fell in love with it. I often listed it as a favorite novel. However, I realized I didn't remember the story anymore. Luckily my school library had a copy (I borrowed it there the first time I read it as well). Now, after having, literally
Sep 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, fantasy, romance
I read this a few years ago and recently reread it. I enjoyed it then; I enjoyed it now. It's a good, quick novel set in present day England. The book has a lot of good mythology in it (which I loved). One thing I didn't like about the book is that after about the middle of the story (when the two main characters have sex), the story seems to change. The tension in their relationship, that was building up in the first half of the book, (obviously) drops off. The characters then think: "Oh, right ...more
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I am not sure how many times I have read this book, but I can tell you that it is too many to count. A coming-of-age novel with some Greek mythology woven in, The China Garden combines romance and the challenges a young woman faces as she transitions from being a teenager to an adult, all while maintaining the "fantasy-fiction genre plot" (if that makes sense). I love how Liz Berry develops her characters and their individual stories; it adds depth to the story and connects the reader with the c ...more
Sep 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This has been a favorite of mine for years. Probably since I first discovered it while in college. I love mythology and this book is rich in it. I also love the way that there is a slight mystery (Clare and Mark's discovery of what exactly Ravensmere is guarding), rich characters, tragedy, and romance all tied together. Both Mark and Clare have to come to the realization that they must accept their destinies or die.

I read this for fun and for the cover Green in Book cover Bingo.

Update 3/22/18.
Mar 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
A student referred me to this book and I read it to see what students like. It is a romantic/mystery set in the English countryside. Clare and her mother move to Ravensmere and there they discover that Mr. Aylward is dying and the Guardianship will go to Clare and the romantic, mysterious Mark. Together, they must find the Benison and promise to protect it with their lives. They fall madly in love, try to fight to keep the land free of nuclear waste, and find the secrets of the ancient pull this ...more
Nov 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
I described this to a friend as being the perfect YA romantic angsty fantasy novel to give to a pagan/gothy/freaky teen ager. As a non-pagan freaky adult, I loved it. The plot was interesting and kept my attention, the romantic subplots were also great in an angsty star crossed lovers kind of way. I liked how Berry handles a topic which would become very silly: a secret group of magic workers who keep a region well off and environmentally OK. I really enjoyed this book and have recommended it to ...more
Juana "Darkness" Duran
Clare Meredith is a student on the verge of self discovery. With college ahead of her she is ready to take on the world. One tiny problem, Clare moves away to her mothers birth place with her. And mysteries unfold. All the towns people seem to know something that they wont tell her. She steps into a church and the vicar says that all the preparations have been for her and her mother. When Clare meets Mr. Aylward some of the peices begin to fall in place. Then she meets Mark and everything become ...more
Jackie Humphrey
Mar 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the first books that gave me butterflies when I read it. I have it with all of my favorite books in my bookshelves, and I re-read it quite often.
The Symbolism in this book is so fantastic, its just.. Amazing in all ways. I -highly- suggest reading it.
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. YA early 2000s, girl moves with her mom and lives closer to her mom’s sister and her son. Later she has to memorize a dance to help her and the boy get through an underground and/or cave maze. [s] 6 30 Sep 20, 2021 06:56PM  
What's the Name o...: SOLVED. YA Romance set on an estate in England, two teens from the family discover they are the secret keepers of the magical healing powers their family has guarded forever. [s] 5 18 Jul 06, 2021 07:21PM  
What's the Name o...: SOLVED. YA Romance. Teen girl has a steamy summer romance with a biker and they need to work together to break a curse. Cover: black, green mystic magic or the couple. Read 2011-2014. Spoilers ahead. [s] 6 34 Mar 09, 2021 02:08PM  
What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Book read 1990s or before 2004 , girl moves to small British town, falls in love with local boy, alot of folklore and ends with them going into underground sacred site. [s] 4 13 May 09, 2020 11:35PM  
What's the Name o...: SOLVED. YA fantasy book I read in 2017 about a teen and her mom going to live at a large estate to care for a old man. [s] 4 20 Apr 29, 2020 09:15AM  
What's the Name o...: SOLVED. YA/ New Adult fantasy romance from 90s or early 2000s, girl moves to country house, meets mystery boy. There’s standing stones. [s] 4 70 Mar 17, 2020 03:19PM  
What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Fantasy/Mystery/Romance garden w/ curse, female lead. Spoilers ahead. [s] 4 44 Jul 24, 2018 09:56AM  

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Liz Berry was born and lives in London. She worked in offices, magazines, politics and for a well-known examination body, before becoming a careers guidance advisor, helping young people plan their futures and finding employment opportunities for them. Then, for twenty-two years, she was Head of Art in an East London Comprehensive school.

At the same time she started and ran the East London Gallery

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