Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Night Garden by Lisa Van Allen

Standalone
352 p.
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Published: Oct. 7, 2014
Source: Edelweiss and publisher for review
Nestled in the bucolic town of Green Valley in upstate New York, the Pennywort farm appears ordinary, yet at its center lies something remarkable: a wild maze of colorful gardens that reaches beyond the imagination. Local legend says that a visitor can gain answers to life’s most difficult problems simply by walking through its lush corridors. 
Yet the labyrinth has never helped Olivia Pennywort, the garden’s beautiful and enigmatic caretaker. She has spent her entire life on her family’s land, harboring a secret that forces her to keep everyone at arm’s length. But when her childhood best friend, Sam Van Winkle, returns to the valley, Olivia begins to question her safe, isolated world and wonders if she at last has the courage to let someone in. As she and Sam reconnect, Olivia faces a difficult question: Is the garden maze that she has nurtured all of her life a safe haven or a prison?
My thoughts:
I do like magical realism so when I saw this one up for review I jumped at the chance to read it. It does have everything we come to expect from this genre: magic without logic, romance, obstacle to overcome that has be precipitated by magic and cured by it as well. So, it is safe to say that I enjoyed most of the book. The part I had a bit of trouble with is the end.

While the ending was not horrible at all. In fact, it did make sense. What I didn't like about it was that it felt too open. It didn't have enough details. Did Olivia solve her problem? You assume so but there is no concrete evidence. I suspect it was made to feel mysterious so you are with the rest of the town wondering what is going on, but because you were so into the detail of Olivia's world it just didn't feel right. It was like we got kicked out of the inner circle. Since I'm an "ending girl" this did color my view of the rest of the book.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars. Although I did have a few problems with the ending, I did enjoy the rest of my time amongst the magical plants and maze. I also enjoyed the main as well as the side characters. I recommend it to those that enjoy magical realism.

25 comments:

  1. Oooo Halloween! How fun! Loving the look :)

    The cover on this one is totally catching. I'm not a huge fan of those open endings. Some things I'm okay with but my nosy self needs answers! lol Glad to see you enjoyed it :)

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  2. I don't like open endings so I can understand your problem about that. But I love the cover!!!

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    1. It wasn't bad though and you might like the ending better than I did. :)

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  3. The ending sounds like it might give me issues as well

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  4. Dang! The end strikes again. We need to have an ending revolt!

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  5. I hate open endings. I need concrete happily ever afters most of the time. I know - I'm lame. lol

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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  6. I would definitely say I'm an ending girl as well Melissa, so the openness of this ending would probably bother me. I like to know what's going to happen with the characters when I reach the last page! Will they be happy? Is whatever problem they faced going to get sorted out? I don't like being left to wonder about their fates:)

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    1. I think you can safely assume they are happy but how did they get that way???? Ugh... bothered me. :)

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  7. I like that the author didn't stick with this genre's status quo, and the fact that it's a stand-alone is a definite plus. However, a bad ending can drag my overall thoughts of a story down quite a bit, especially when there's no sequel in the works. Bummer!

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    1. It wasn't bad, just bothered me. You might like it more than I did!

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  8. Whether she solves her problem or not is a huge problem with the ending! It kinda makes me think that reading all those pages didn't pay off at all. :(

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    1. You think she does solve it but maybe not. And if she did... how? That was my problem with it.

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  9. Ahh crap. I got this one because I love magical realism and to hear that its ending doesn't deliver is a disappointment, still I will give it a whirl.

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    1. You might enjoy it lots more than I did. It's not too open just the whys and hows.

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  10. I want a good conclusion, a FULL conclusion with all answers! So this might frustrate me a bit. I'm glad you mostly enjoyed it though!

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  11. Another book I read was meh, but still....

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  12. Oh, that cover is gorgeous! And magical realism is a sure pick-me-up for me, too. That ending makes me a little worrisome, though, but great review, Melissa!

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  13. Yeah open endings can be tricky. I don't mind them, but they have to offer a little closer or an idea of what might happen. I enjoy magical realism too Melissa.

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  14. I like a nice wrap-up at the end, rather than an ambiguous one (I mean, of course I'm envisioning everything working out but I want to *know*, you know?).

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  15. I always love seeing your new banners. Anyway, I know what yu mean about the ending. I'm usually cool with open ended, but as long as they give me a feeling of closure. Odd, I know. Glad you still liked it though.

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Thanks for commenting! I ❤ comments!