Anne's Reviews > A Garden Folly

A Garden Folly by Candice Hern
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bookshelves: gentleman-like-heroes, historical-romance, laugh-out-loud-funny, owned, regency, romance

4 stars for enjoyment
3 stars for quality


This Regency romance was very sweet and lovely, and I had a really good time reading it. Our heroine, Miss Catherine Forsythe, is a penniless young woman as stubborn as a mule and determined, I repeat, determined to get out of poverty somehow. And here we're talking about real, actual poverty, as in bread-and-water for dinner and barely any clothes and furniture as possessions. Fortunately though, Aunt Hetty (with whom Catherine lives with her sister Susannah)has a good friend, who decides to invite all three to her annual summer party at her estate. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Chissingworth!






Aunt Hetty's friend is none other than the Duchess of Carlisle. If I would have been Catherine, I would have died of a heart attack right there!!
But our dear Miss Forsythe, although highly impressed and awed by the place and its inhabitants, is thrilled as the prospect of spending a month there, because she sees the invitation as the PERFECT opportunity to find a RICH husband.
Beware, the most determined and professional fortune-hunter has arrived!

Catherine's obsession with marrying a fortune is understandable, given her conditions and the circumstances when rendered her and her family to such a state of poverty. I sympathized whole-heartedly with her. She isn't so silly, however, to arrive at Chissingworth hoping to ensnare the Duke himself, or anyone above her who wouldn't be willing to take her as a wife. She just wants someone rich.

Stephen Manwaring, the Duke of Carlisle, son of the present Duchess, is rumoured to be eccentric and half-witted, avoiding society as much as he can, and spending all his time in his gardens and in his apparently very small office unworthy of a duke, at the back of the house, which probably looks like something like this anyways.




The Duke is in fact simply tired of everyone liking him for the sake of his fortunes, and ardently wishes he could find someone to love him for himself. Very understandable as well, and he also had all my sympathy. He decides to avoid the party and hides in his gardens...but Catherine is also very fond of flowers, and the two collide (literally) and sparks instantly fly, even though Catherine believes the duke is no more than a simple gardener...(this isn't a spoiler as the reader knows within the first few pages)

Let the fun begin!!!!




Stephen and Catherine had good chemistry, but I wish he could have tried harder to persuade her more with words, instead of his tongue. I don't mind a passionate kiss or two, but in this book there were many, and they were a bit more on the steamy side than what I usually go for. I think I would have accepted them better had there been more talk between them. Instead of talking her to reason, he would grab her by the shoulders and kiss her until she melted in his arms, but (view spoiler). And then, at some point when she is trying to explain something to him, he keeps saying "Hush, it doesn't matter. It will be all right." Hush, it doesn't matter????!?!?!? Wadaya mean IT DOESNT MATTER??! Let her explain herself, for God's sake!
That habit of him of not talking/listening about important subjects was very infuriating! And he moreover had a weird obsession with Catherine's eyebrows...he kept noticing them and thinking "those fabulous eyebrows" (I sincerely hope this was a preference only to him and that guys don't actually pay that much attention to eyebrows, because mine are basically never done!).
But then, I remembered that he was a handsome, muscular man with brown hair and green eyes, and that no one had ever really loved him for who he was, and that by spending so much time apart from society he kept to himself a lot, so all was forgotten :)


A Garden Folly was a cute book, but it was pure fluff and is meant to be read for enjoyment's sake only, because there really isn't much literary merit or substance to it and I found the writing style too modern and very repetitive. Good God, it's her! Good Lord, I love him! Damn, what is she doing. Good Lord, I can't marry him. Damnation, why she so stubborn! I don't mind those expressions when they're used moderately, but in this case they were overused. There wasn't enough Regency slang for the period - a few expressions here and there, but the dialogue could well have been between people of our century. The sentences of the narration were also very short, which only further accentuated the modern feel of the book. "She did not know. Not for certain. But was glad to hear it." How about you join those three fragments and make me a pretty sentence?? Sometimes writing short sentences/fragments is a good method to enhance certain emotions, for example with: "She had seemed so perfect. Until today." we get a sort of "dramatic" feel and we sense the character's disappointment. But used throughout the entire novel, it became annoying. And redundant. And difficult to look over. And it lessened my overall enjoyment. And...yeah see? ;)
Moreover, I don't know if it's just my edition, but there were a lot of typos, and my fingers were just itching to grab a pen and start making corrections. I hate when that happens!

Having said that, however, there were aspects of the writing that I really appreciated. Ms. Hern's style is very straightforward-no-ambiguity, and she succeeded in making me feel for and with the characters. Whether someone was sad or happy, I felt the same way, and when the H/h got mad at each other, I could understand and sympathize with both points of view. And most importantly, every single time it was written that someone laughed, I would actually find myself chuckling aloud. When Aunt Hetty starts laughing uncontrollably, near the end, I was laughing as hard as she was! The imagery was so well evoked, too! I could see the mansion, and the gardens, and the beautiful violets (and having Google images helps a lot!). I loved the beauty that emanated from A Garden Folly.






Another good point about this book, was that there were NO annoying characters!!! They were all loveable. The only ones who angered me on a few instances were the H/h, but overall I loved them, so I can forgive those instances. But all the other ones were fabulous! The Duchess was the nicest lady, Aunt Hetty a wonderful aunt (and the two together were priceless), Susannah was such a darling and Lord Strickland was sheer perfection. I loved him as much as the hero, and cannot wait to read his story in The Best Intentions!
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Reading Progress

October 16, 2013 – Shelved
October 16, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
December 30, 2013 – Shelved as: regency-to-read
January 28, 2014 – Started Reading
January 28, 2014 –
page 126
53.39%
January 28, 2014 –
page 127
53.81%
January 30, 2014 – Shelved as: gentleman-like-heroes
January 30, 2014 – Shelved as: historical-romance
January 30, 2014 – Shelved as: laugh-out-loud-funny
January 30, 2014 – Shelved as: owned
January 30, 2014 – Shelved as: regency
January 30, 2014 – Shelved as: romance
January 30, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 68 (68 new)


Mary - Buried Under Romance How's the read, Anne?


message 2: by Anne (last edited Jan 28, 2014 07:38PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anne Very good thank you! :) It's a cute little story!


Mary - Buried Under Romance I'm gonna check if it's available for Kindle. I used to buy a bunch of traditional regencies but too many paperbacks eventually. Lol


Suzanne It is available for Kindle! Loved this story!


Anne I paid $8 for it paperback, which is a bit much, but it is a good story :) I should get a kindle soon, as kindle books are usually so much cheaper!


Mary - Buried Under Romance Yay I've got this on my TBr now!


Anne I hope you like it! ;) there isnt much substance but its a cute, fun fluffy read!


message 8: by Tweety (last edited Jan 30, 2014 01:10PM) (new) - added it

Tweety I love your review Anne! Perfect! I don't care for lots of smooching myself, but it looks like this was a fun book! I'm glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the warning on the kissing. :D

You figured out how to write after pictures!!!! Now I have to figure it out. ;)


Anne Thank you Tweety! :) It was a very sweet and fun book, but yeah, I thought the kissing was a bit much, compared to the amount of rational talking they had! ;)


message 10: by Anne (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anne Tweety wrote: "I love your review Anne! Perfect! I don't care for lots of smooching myself, but it looks like this was a fun book! I'm glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the warning on the kissing. :D

You figur..."


I sent you a message about that lol ;)


message 11: by Tweety (new) - added it

Tweety Anne wrote: "Thank you Tweety! :) It was a very sweet and fun book, but yeah, I thought the kissing was a bit much, compared to the amount of rational talking they had! ;)"

Lol, I agree they need to know what the other feels and thinks before they start kissing tons.


message 12: by Anne (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anne I know right!


message 13: by Tweety (new) - added it

Tweety :D


message 14: by Anne (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anne :) they were still pretty cute though hahaha ;)


message 15: by Tweety (new) - added it

Tweety That's good anyway! :)


message 16: by Anne (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anne Yes it is :) its the kind of book that, if you happen to find, I recommend trying it, but if you don't you wont be missing anything great.


message 17: by Tweety (new) - added it

Tweety Ok, I almost did get it on ebay in a set of 53 regencies. But I decided not to. :)


message 18: by Anne (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anne Oh you didn't buy it? lol :) good girl, Tweety! :)


Christina ~ Brunette Reader Love this review Anne! And you chose some beautiful pics (I too figured it out how to insert them, now I'm going to have lots of fun. Hehehe!). I have The Best Intentions on my Kindle, we should plan a buddy reading one of these days :)


message 20: by Christina ~ Brunette Reader (last edited Jan 30, 2014 02:21PM) (new)

Christina ~ Brunette Reader Tweety wrote: "Anne wrote: "Thank you Tweety! :) It was a very sweet and fun book, but yeah, I thought the kissing was a bit much, compared to the amount of rational talking they had! ;)"

Lol, I agree they need ..."


What's so wrong with french kissing?! I would pay to have some right now.. Ah, but I'm just a dirty old spinster :P :P :P


message 21: by Tweety (new) - added it

Tweety Anne wrote: "Oh you didn't buy it? lol :) good girl, Tweety! :)"

I spent the $40 dollers on four books instead and didn't get any deals. :(


message 22: by Tweety (last edited Jan 30, 2014 02:25PM) (new) - added it

Tweety Christina *Miss Regency Victorian London* wrote: "Tweety wrote: "Anne wrote: "Thank you Tweety! :) It was a very sweet and fun book, but yeah, I thought the kissing was a bit much, compared to the amount of rational talking they had! ;)"

Lol, I a..."


Ugh. You said it. ;)


message 23: by Anne (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anne Christina *Miss Regency Victorian London* wrote: "Love this review Anne! And you chose some beautiful pics (I too figured it out how to insert them, now I'm going to have lots of fun. Hehehe!). I have The Best Intentions on my Kindle, we should ..."

Thanks Christina! :) Inserting pictures is so much fun!! ;) This review was fun to do because of all the flowers/mansion pictures I could put! I tries not to go too crazy ;) Buddy-read of The Best Intentions is a lovely idea! I have ordered it, and it should arrive soon, I'll let you know!


message 24: by Anne (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anne Christina *Miss Regency Victorian London* wrote: "Tweety wrote: "Anne wrote: "Thank you Tweety! :) It was a very sweet and fun book, but yeah, I thought the kissing was a bit much, compared to the amount of rational talking they had! ;)"

Lol, I a..."


Lol, well I was never one for a lot mushiness in kissing scenes, but I think the problem with this one was that they seem to be doing just that, at some point. The hero would literally stalk and kiss her, instead of talking to her. That was what really bothered me, and not exactly the way they kissed. But I still prefer to read about cleaner kisses :) lol dirty old spinster hahaha ;)


Christina ~ Brunette Reader Anne wrote: "Christina *Miss Regency Victorian London* wrote: "Love this review Anne! And you chose some beautiful pics (I too figured it out how to insert them, now I'm going to have lots of fun. Hehehe!). I ..."

Ok :D


message 26: by Anne (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anne Tweety wrote: "Anne wrote: "Oh you didn't buy it? lol :) good girl, Tweety! :)"

I spent the $40 dollers on four books instead and didn't get any deals. :("


I see.. ): But there will be more deals in future :D


Christina ~ Brunette Reader Anne wrote: "Christina *Miss Regency Victorian London* wrote: "Tweety wrote: "Anne wrote: "Thank you Tweety! :) It was a very sweet and fun book, but yeah, I thought the kissing was a bit much, compared to the ..."

Oh, I see... french-kissing instead of talking... why doesn't it sound very bad to my ears? ;P


message 28: by Anne (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anne Christina *Miss Regency Victorian London* wrote: "Anne wrote: "Christina *Miss Regency Victorian London* wrote: "Love this review Anne! And you chose some beautiful pics (I too figured it out how to insert them, now I'm going to have lots of fun. ..."

;) cant wait!


message 29: by Tweety (new) - added it

Tweety There will be more deals and, I doubt I'd ever like those. And No Snogging for me either. ;)


message 30: by Anne (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anne ;)glad we agree hahaha!


message 31: by Tweety (new) - added it

Tweety :D


message 32: by Maria (new) - added it

Maria Brilliant review, Anne!! I loved how you explained your thoughts. And adding images was lovely! It was like seeing your feelings. I should try in my next reviews :) I have this book but I haven't read it yet. I'm looking forward to it :)


message 33: by Anne (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anne Maria wrote: "Brilliant review, Anne!! I loved how you explained your thoughts. And adding images was lovely! It was like seeing your feelings. I should try in my next reviews :) I have this book but I haven't r..."

Thank you Maria! Yes, try writing reviews with pictures, it's so much FUN :) Especially with this book, since it had a lot of flowers in it! ;) I hope you will like it, it was a very cute, "summer" read!


message 34: by Ceri (new)

Ceri I really enjoyed your review Anne! I have read a few by this author and found them to be enjoyable fluff, although they have a bit too modern a flavour to them. In my opinion they are not as good as something by Georgette Heyer, for example, but still good to read. I love your shelf titles too :)


message 35: by Anne (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anne Ceri wrote: "I really enjoyed your review Anne! I have read a few by this author and found them to be enjoyable fluff, although they have a bit too modern a flavour to them. In my opinion they are not as good a..."

Thank you Ceri! I agree with you, it's not as good as Heyer, but it's a sweet little fun book, when you need something light! But the modern feel bothered me! Haha, thanks ;) I tried to have more "creative" ones!


Suzanne Thoughtful review! I think I loved this one as much for the garden and flowers as anything else.


message 37: by Anne (last edited Mar 26, 2014 04:50PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anne Suzanne wrote: "Thoughtful review! I think I loved this one as much for the garden and flowers as anything else."

Thank you! I know right! After reading the second book, The Best Intentions, I decided I was too generous with this one and took a star away...the flowers and garden where the most enjoyable part of it (and the large, exquisite estate!), and the H/h weren't that great, upon reflection.


message 38: by Hana (new) - added it

Hana I think I might like this one, even 'though I'm not a fan of Jane Austen spin-offs. As an avid gardener much in need of spring, I'm game to give this a try.


message 39: by Anne (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anne It's not Jane Austen related, nor is it written in an Austenesque way but it's cute fluff ;) The flowers and gardening added a really nice touch!


message 40: by Hana (new) - added it

Hana Thanks Anne. Cute fluff has a very definite place in my life (as my cats can attest)!


message 41: by Anne (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anne You're welcome :) I think fluff is important once in a while. It helps me a lot to relieve stress. How many cats do you have? I wish I had one!


message 42: by Maria (new) - added it

Maria Oh, dear! When I read your review I loved it but I forgot to "like" it!! Anyway, I should do the same thing with some books. I need to re-read them to see if my rating was deserved! Have you already written your review of "The Best Intentions"?


message 43: by Hana (new) - added it

Hana Anne wrote: "You're welcome :) I think fluff is important once in a while. It helps me a lot to relieve stress. How many cats do you have? I wish I had one!"

I have two -- twin sisters, both calico, with very different personalities. They follow me around like dogs and love nothing better than cuddling up with me when I read. It's their favorite time!


message 44: by Hana (new) - added it

Hana Anne you and Tweety have inspired me to try adding images to my status updates! So exciting...of course I did not get the laundry done but my comments on This Rough Magic look pretty :)


message 45: by Anne (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anne Maria wrote: "Oh, dear! When I read your review I loved it but I forgot to "like" it!! Anyway, I should do the same thing with some books. I need to re-read them to see if my rating was deserved! Have you alread..."

Hahaha don't worry ;) I didn't actually do a re-read, but after reading The Best Intentions, I decided I couldn't both give them 4 stars (which is what I intend to give TBI...I was thinking 5 stars, but after Miss Lockharte's Letters, it deserves more 4 than 5! lol I know, I'm complicated!!), so I lowered that one to a 3, which is what it deserves, truly ;) I haven't reviewed TBI yet, but I better get to it, because now I have MLL to so as well!


message 46: by Anne (last edited Mar 27, 2014 09:37AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anne Hana wrote: "Anne wrote: "You're welcome :) I think fluff is important once in a while. It helps me a lot to relieve stress. How many cats do you have? I wish I had one!"

I have two -- twin sisters, both calic..."


Oh, how cute! Of course if I had a cat, I would love for him/her to like cuddling with me when I read (isn't that the primary use of a cat?!). My cousins' cat doesn't like it ): I'm glad yours do!

Hahaha!! It's fun isn't it? Once I took an entire morning with a review (Cotillion I think)...oops! But at least I didn't have anything important that day. I will go check out your update!

By the way, speaking of pictures, I love your new profile pic!! So pretty!


message 47: by Hana (new) - added it

Hana Your review of Cotillion was absolutely priceless well worth an entire morning. Freddy's London Tour made me laugh out loud. The best!

Glad you like my rose: it's a gallica rose called Belle des Jardin.


message 48: by Anne (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anne Thank you Hana! The tour of London was fun to do :) Glad to know my morning wasn't totally wasted ahaha!!

Oh and it has a beautiful name too!


message 49: by Hana (new) - added it

Hana Belle des Jardin really suits, doesn't it? All the gallica roses, which of course originated in France, have the most beautiful names. Mary Stewart, an avid gardener, recites them all like an incantation in This Rough Magic: "Belle de Crecy, Belle Isis, Deuil du Roi de Rome, Rosamunde..."


message 50: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Boyde Just curious - if Catherine and her family were living at bread-and-water poverty level, where did they get the clothes etc. to appear at the Duchess's summer party?


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