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The Mermaid Garden

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  4,106 ratings  ·  450 reviews
From the author of The French Gardener, a story about a hotel's summer artist-in-residence who touches lives in ways no one could imagine.

The internationally bestselling authorof The French Gardener presentsa complex and irresistibly compelling novel that confirms the remarkablepower of love to heal and transform.

Ten-year-old Floriana is captivated by the beauty of the
Hardcover, 419 pages
Published May 3rd 2011 by Touchstone
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Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,106 ratings  ·  450 reviews

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Jul 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
I just adored this book, and this surprises me as I would usually find this kind of story quite bland and predictably fulfilling.
But I fell in love with the characters in a way that I haven't fallen in love with fictional characters for a very long time. Each time one of the characters was involved in a plot twist, or each time something very REAL happened to them, my heart just ached. I cared about them so much.

And even though the book ended with a typically happy ending, I didn't roll my eyes,
Apr 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
For those of you who enjoy gentle, escapist romance, this is a great choice. This books makes you believe in the power of love and reminds you what is important in life. The novel is an extremely relaxing read with an abundance of memorable characters, beautiful destinations, mystery, intrigue and romance. I loved the descriptive detail and more than once found myself carried off to the destinations of Italy and the English coastline.

The book consists of two different stories. The first story is
Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had to abandon this book; it just wasn't holding my interest. I liked Floriana & Marina, but found myself wishing someone would push Clementine off a cliff. I couldn't respect or like Grey because he let his children disrespect his wife and believe that she stole him from their mother. This book seemed to have promise, but failed to deliver it fast enough or enough to have me care about any of the characters. Clementine was horrid!
Feb 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italy
Interesting that I picked this up to read after reading The Secret Keeper. Both stories shift back and forth between two time periods. At least in Morton's book the reader clearly understand why and can make some connections between the two story lines. However, in The House by the Sea, it appears that one is reading two different stories simultaneously. Both are good stories but until I reached the last section I could only guess at the connection. Anyway, I saw this book in a discount book ...more
May 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book from Goodreads Giveaways. I really enjoyed this book a lot from start to finish. It is actually two different stories in one book. The first story is of the blossoming of young love between Floriana, a poor village girl abandoned by her mother, and Dante, the son of one of the richest men in Italy. They meet when Dante finds Floriana spying on his family home, Villa La Magdalena. Floriana loves the Villa and dreams of living there and spending her time in the Mermaid Garden ...more
Diane Wilkes
Jul 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that would probably fall under the category "Women's Books." It's got a romance (or four), it has a semi-mystery (that is fairly easy to figure out), the atmosphere is charming and so is the writing.

I am not ashamed to admit that I ate it up with a spoon. Like the Calgon commerical, it took me away from my own life and placed me in Italy in a beautiful garden, as well as the lovely Devon, England. I am a sucker for happily-ever-after if it's done well...and Santa
The Book Whisperer (aka Boof)
Love, love, loved this! Review to follow.
Marguerite Gray
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A heartwarming story of the present connecting to the past through winding paths of lives spent separated. The reader traverses with the characters from Italy to England to Argentina.
this book ended up being quiet spiritual.

-"we are all rootless...until we find our soul mate. ... when you do, the world will shift into place and you will no longer feel dislocated."
-don't forget the past, accept it and let it go so it doesn't ruin your present - you can't change what happened, but you can choose to change the way you view it
-design: create a beautiful place from the heart
-when you are with someone, you should like who you are and be a better version of yourself
Dianne Landry
It was not as good as her other books.
Sep 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The House By The Sea, which in the US is titled The Mermaid Garden, follows two stories. The first set in Italy, follows fragile Floriana, who was abandoned by her mother, and her journey of falling in love with Dante, the son of a prestigious family. They first meet when Floriana is captivated by the beauty of La Magdalena, the beautiful home where Dante and his family spend their summers. Their relationship faces many obstacles from the outset including
Nov 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone (well, okay, probably more so women?)
I am stingy in my highest praises of books, but I'm pretty sure I can say that this would be a favorite of mine. I absolutely adored everything about this book. Some of it is probably the beautiful imagery and the fact that I adore gardens, italian anything, and writing that grips you and keeps you guessing without ever really knowing. Only one of the many plot twists did I sort of predict correctly, and I wasn't entirely sure about it, either. I didn't really believe the back cover when it ...more
May 26, 2011 rated it liked it
This book was cute. The writing style was nice, but the plot devices were very frustrating. The book contains two stories: One takes place in Italy in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and one takes place in England in the present day. There is no obvious connection between the two stories, and the jump in time and place was so annoying that I was ready to stop reading at any time. Fortunately, another Goodreads reviewer (thank you!) mentioned that the book has a "satisfying conclusion", so I kept ...more
Feb 09, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: meh, x2018
Wow, this sucked harder than I thought possible! Very unlikely story. Years that don't quite match. Coincidences. Extremely unlikely character development. Losing an accent and speaking English like you're born in England when arriving at 18. Just... Nope. Won't be reading anything more by this author.

Normally I'd file this under "historical fiction" due to the dual time narrative, but there is just no history to it. It's paperback romance/chick lit, pure and simple.
Laura Van kesteren
Lovely story, read it in one day ...more
Mandy Eve-Barnett
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Santa writes with eloquent descriptions giving the reader a perfect tapestry of place and character.
Her characters are well structured, engaging and keep the reader intrigued until the end. Woven between England and Italy this novel gives a taste of life in these two places and the struggle of their inhabitants.
I highly recommend this book, it was a joy to read.
Julie Smith (Knitting and Sundries)
This review first appeared on my blog:

The Mermaid Garden flows from past to present and back almost effortlessly.

The past: A young girl named Floriana in Tuscany, whose mother is believed to have run off with a man and left her with her drunken father. She has unlimited freedom to explore, and as she is looking over the wall of a villa that she likes to visit, she meets a boy named Dante, whose family owns the villa. He invites her in to explore the
Shaz Goodwin
Jul 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a love story that is beautifully written. I was able to imagine myself in Tuscany and in Devon, living alongside the characters as I watched the story unfold.

The prologue sets the scene. In Tuscany, Floriana and Dante meet. Floriana is a 10 year old whose mother has run away with her younger brother and left her with her alcoholic father. Dante is a few years older, the son of a high profile industrialist who may have connections with the Mafia.

We’re then taken to Devon in 2009 where
Ten year old Floriana, an Italian urchin, abandoned by her mother and left to care for her alcoholic father, falls in love with the gardens of the Villa La Magdalena and the owner's son, Dante. Convinced it's her destiny to marry Dante and to live happily ever after in the beautiful villa, she ignores the difficulties of money, class and Dante's dangerous father.

Forty years later, Marina and her husband Grey run a luxury hotel on the coast of Devon, but face financial and familial difficulties.
Branwen *of House Targaryen*
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone looking for a light, summer read
"I have to be near the sea. It has always been the most consistent thing in my life."

"Love is like a bright light that burns away all negativity; like sunshine on mist. Happy people are full of love, and unhappy people have very little, perhaps none at all. That's all there is to the world-those who love and those who don't. It's really very simple."

In Italy in the late 1960's, young Floriana is captivated by the beautiful villa that overlooks the Ocean. When she meets Dante, the son of the
Emma Craven
Feb 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was the first romance novel I have read in a very long time and I am so glad I picked it up. I bought it on a whim. Honestly the two reasons I bought it were because it had "mermaid" in the title and it took place in Italy. I followed my gut and it paid off.

After reading some other reviews I have to disagree with the majority of the people who are saying that the whiny girl (Clementine) should not have gotten her way at the end and its so typical for the spoiled brat to end up happy. I
Nov 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Susan by: Linda
Here's the trick for me in rating this book at the moment: this novel is totally and completely "chick lit," and that's just not what I'm into at the moment. So for that reason, it didn't entirely appeal to me. But my sister practically glowed when she talked about it, and I've long said that I'll read pretty much anything that someone tells me is outstanding.

I've got to say, within its genre, this rocks.

Which made me thing about the genre. What makes "chick lit" BE "chick lit"? Here's what I
Paula Sealey
Sep 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favorites
The House by the Sea traverses two eras, Devon, England in the present and Tuscany, Italy in 1966.

Floriana, a ten year old girl, lives with her alcoholic father and spends her summer wandering up to a huge beautiful house, peering longingly through to the gardens she aches to be in. On one of her visits, she is spotted by resident, 16 year old Dante, who invites her inside and begins a friendship that will last for years.

In present day Devon, Mariana and her husband Grey are gearing up for the
Apr 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
Absolutely beautiful!

I had never read a novel by Santa Montefiore before and am very glad that my Mum (who is an avid reader of her books) handed this one to me when I was between books and wondering what to read next.
Santa Montefiore writes with so much warmth and love, it truly feels like your among the characters and experience first-hand what they're going through.
The second characters in this books are the locations; all are so wonderfully described you can truly smell the sea-salt, hear
Sep 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written - I enjoyed the worlds and characters Montefiore created in Italy and England featuring a ten-year-old fiesty Tuscan urachan who dreams of living in the local villa with its beautiful gardens.Her tenacity defies the odds as she acutally meets and becomes the darling of the family who owns the villa. Fast forward forty years to a lovely English estate-turned-hotel overlooking the sea. The owners are struggling to keep the hotel afloat after the 2008 crash. As part of their ...more
Apr 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
A compelling romance novel where the author weaves the past and present to keep you at the edge of your seat as you follow the developments. This resilient young girl that was abandoned by her mother and left with an alcoholic father is smitten by an upper class young man. Their love can’t keep things from getting complicated and with the help of family and friends the unexpected happens.

It is hard to get into a more detail account of the plot without spoiling the novel, but there is romance,
Book-shelf Shelf
What a brilliant book! I thought it was going to be gushing with sloppy bits, but it is simply a really good story that keeps the reader guessing and spanning over a whole life time of Floriana. Taking the reader on a journey that visits Tuscany and Devon the view given is one the reader soon finds themselves transported to. The story will make you laugh, sigh and take a sharp intake of breath.
There is another story at the beginning of the book on how it was written and the struggle to get it
Tracy Barrall
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: santa-montefiore
This was a delight and easy read. Set between Devon and Italy Santa brings to life the places she sets her novels in. Marina and Grey have money troubles with their hotel "The Polanza" in Devon. What can and will they do to save it. Marina is at loggerheads with her stepdaughter Clementine and trying to save the hotel that has become they baby she could never have until her artist in residence appears "Rafa", but who is this mysterious Argentine Rafa and has he fallen for Clementine. When it ...more
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
I read this book via and loved it! I just discovered this author about two months ago and have enjoyed all three books I've read. The narrator for The Mermaid Garden was wonderful; it was amazing to me to experience the story with each character brought to life by the subtle changes in her voice. I'm not a big reader of "romance" books so I appreciate the suspense the author adds to each chapter. The story unwinds in current time (2009) and the past and it was very enjoyable when the ...more
Mary Klinger
Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This wonderful book is the kind that leaves you with a warm feeling. I know I will carry the story with me for days. In this charming tale, the author weaves together a poignant story from the past with the present day drama in the lives of the characters. I fell in love with every character. The author provided such rich descriptions of the characters and the places that I felt like I was right there with them. I loved the author's style and techniques. Can't wait to read more by this author!
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 3 Jun 03, 2015 12:51PM  
The Book Travelers: April 2015 -- The Mermaid Garden, by Santa Montefiore 3 5 Apr 26, 2015 12:05PM  
Same book, different title 1 11 Jul 09, 2014 07:13AM  
Book Club Questions??? 1 11 Feb 14, 2012 10:48PM  

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Born in England in 1970 Santa Montefiore grew up on a farm in Hampshire and was educated at Sherborne School for Girls. She read Spanish and Italian at Exeter University and spent much of the 90s in Buenos Aires, where her mother grew up. She converted to Judaism in 1998 and married historian Simon Sebag Montefiore in the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in London. They live with their two children, Lily ...more