I've been a fan of Irish author Mary Stanley for some time so when I picked up her book The Lost Garden recently I felt that I was going to reading a sure thing, a completely satisfying novel. I'm sorry to say that I was a bit disappointed in this book.
The Lost Garden is the story of Esme, a woman who has moved to Paris for a year to be closer to her lover. She meets an acquaintance of his named Jacob who happens to be a psychiatrist, and because she is lonely and bored she begins telling him the story of her life, a lot of which has to do with her unluckiness in love. Esme then moves on and begins a relationship with another man, but continues to think about the conversations she had with Jacob and the fact that she hadn't told him everything. Slowly, we meet Esme's three daughters as the pursue their interests around the world and events ultimately bring all four women back to their home in London.
It's obvious early on that Esme has something in her past that she is hiding and it's not until the last third of the book that we find out what that is. Esme confronts her past, a 'twist' is revealed, and finally another 'twist' that only the reader knows about.
I've enjoyed Stanley's writing so much in the past, and I just didn't find that this book had the same texture, pacing, and texture as her other novels. When I read my description of this book, it doesn't even sound very interesting to me! I just figured it would be good based on the writer.
If you want to try this author, I suggest starting with another of her books, such as Retreat, Missing or Revenge.