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The Lost Garden by Katharine Swartz

The Lost Garden

Part of the Tales from Goswell Series
Family Drama   Historical Fiction   eBook Favourites   
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A charming, warm and evocative tale, told in two time frames, this is the second in the Tales from Goswell series set in Cumbria. Eleanor’s story starts in 1918, while Marin’s although not dated, feels as though it is set in the present. The two tales are connected, by more than the walled garden that remains a constant from one time to the next; both Marin and Eleanor are experiencing loss and attempting to make sense of the world around them. The focus on the time immediately after the First World War gives a fascinating insight into some of the difficulties faced by men and women trying to find a sense of normality. The Hatton’s from ‘The Vicar’s Wife’, the first in the series, also appear in Marin’s story. This sweet, engaging tale, has a darker edge, however the focus on forgiveness and hope that weaves through both time frames, creates a moving and enjoyable read. ~ Liz Robinson

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Lisa Redmond - 'A beautifully written story of grief, love, duty and redemption, perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Rachel Hore.'
  • Kath Martin - 'I found this a book quite moving at times.  It is a gentle story of bereavement and grief...but it is told with a surprisingly light touch.'
  • Vanessa Wild - 'A gentle, touching, engaging and delightful read about grief, forgiveness and hope.'
  • Christine Scott - 'Fantastic book of past and present.'
  • Jennifer Stewart  - 'The Cumbrian coast is the setting for this gentle, heart-warming tale of interwoven past and present love stories. An undemanding read with likeable characters that draw you in and make you want to keep reading.' 
  • Nicola Briggs - ‘The Lost Garden is an evocative novel alternating between the present day and post-WW1.  It’s an engaging and easy read, perfect for summer holidays or rainy days.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'A beautiful story for those who like stories that flit back and forth in time showing us that despite modern day being so different in many ways emotions and love never change at all.'
  • Pauline Braisher - 'Small book, big story!...This is one of the most enjoyable books I have ever read and I would highly recommend it.'
  • Nicola Crisp - 'I loved the way that the two stories unfolded together...and you are kept guessing through most of the book about how the stories will be resolved.'
  • Margaret Freeman - 'An emotionally intense, yet gentle story, of love, loss and grief, set in both the past and the present.'
  • Christine Schollar - 'Amazing, unputdownable.  I absolutely loved this book.  One of the best novels I have read in a long time.'
  • Jane Pepler - 'I really enjoyed the book and found it a compulsive read...I am delighted to have discovered this writer and look forward to reading her other books.'
  • Sharon Goodwin - 'A gently paced read that draws you in and makes you care about the characters.'
  • Janet Gilliard - 'This is a gentle story which I enjoyed very much.'
  • Christine Waddington - 'The two stories unfold with surprises along the way and you feel very much drawn into the lives of all the characters and really care what happens to them.'
  • Rebecca Cockeram - 'I found this book a struggle. It seemed a bit to slow for me, and I couldn't warm to the characters.'


The Lost Garden by Katharine Swartz

Marin Ellis is in search of a new start after her father and his second wife die in a car accident, and at thirty-seven she is made guardian of her fifteen-year-old half-sister Rebecca. They leave Hampshire for the picturesque village of Goswell on the Cumbrian coast, and settle into Bower House on the edge of the village church property. When a door to a walled garden captures Rebecca's interest, Marin becomes determined to open it and discover what is hidden beneath the bramble inside. She enlists the help of local gardener Joss Fowler, and together the three of them begin to uncover the garden's secrets. In 1919, nineteen-year-old Eleanor Sanderson, daughter of Goswell's vicar, is grieving the loss of her beloved brother Walter, who was killed just days before the Armistice was signed. Eleanor retreats into herself and her father starts to notice how unhappy she is. As spring arrives, he decides to hire someone to make a garden for Eleanor, and draw her out of - or at least distract her from - her grief and sorrow. Jack Taylor is in his early twenties, a Yorkshire man who has been doing odd jobs in the village, and when Eleanor's father hires him to work on the vicarage gardens, a surprising - and unsuitable - friendship unfolds.


'Katharine Swartz can do no wrong. The Lost Garden navigates loss and hope with Swartz's deft hand and unflinching ability to tell a quiet story so well it resonates in the heart for a long, long while after the final page.' -- Megan Crane, USA Today

'Bestselling author of Once More With Feeling and I Love the 80s Katharine Swartz always delivers a beautifully written, deeply emotional read. The Lost Garden is a touching and tragic novel, and yet ultimately it is a story of both hope and redemption.' -- Maisey Yates, USA Today Bestselling author of Part Time Cowboy

About the Author

Katharine Swartz

After spending three years as a diehard New Yorker, Katharine Swartz now lives in the Wales with her husband, their five children, and a Golden Retriever. She enjoys such novel things as long country walks and chatting with people in the street, and her children love the freedom of village life—although she often has to ring four or five people to figure out where they’ve gone off to. She writes women’s fiction as well as contemporary romance under the name Kate Hewitt, and whatever the genre she enjoys delivering a compelling and intensely emotional story. The Second Bride is the third book in Katherine’s charming series, Tales From Goswell.

Below is a Q&A with this author.

1. What first inspired you to write the Tales from Goswell series?
Moving to a 200-year-old vicarage in a small village in Cumbria lit the creative spark.
2. Do you have a particular writing routine?
I have small children so I tend to fit my writing around them. I try to write in the mornings for about three hours while I have childcare and then be firm about closing the laptop and devoting time to my family.
3. Name the writing habit you rely on to get you through a first draft.
I have to push through the hard parts, including, inevitably, when I am convinced this is the worst thing I’ve ever written, and just finish it.
4. Which living author(s) do you most admire?
Mary Lawson. Her books are beautiful.
5. Which book would you take to a desert island? Let’s stick to the formula – excluding the Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare.
Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss, which has been on my bedside table for years. I always pick it up when I need to be encouraged.
6. How much of you is in any of your characters?
Everything and nothing—all my characters are fiction, but I bring myself, my emotions and fears and desires, to every person I write.
7. In another age I would have been . . .
A governess. I like the safety of the school room.
8. Who would your fantasy dinner guests be?
My family. Living abroad I don’t see them often enough.
9. Which book do you wish you had written?
The Harry Potter series for obvious reasons, or the above mentioned Stepping Heavenward for how much hope it has given people over the years.
10. Who is your favourite literary character?
The narrator of Remains of the Day. He is oblique and unreliable and yet you have so much sympathy for him.
11. Did any of the characters in your book surprise you while writing?
Characters continually surprise by how they have a mind of their own, even though I’m the one controlling them!
12. What would your super power be?
13. What is the worst piece of writing or career feedback you’ve received?
Many years ago an agent once sent me an email that was not meant for me to see—‘Her writing is mediocre, but this is the kind of thing we could make money from’. I never want that to be my motive for being in this business!
14. What is the worst job you've done?
Waitressing in New York City.
15. What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Trust in God. Love never fails.
16. Have you written anything and been surprised by its reception?
I have been gratified by how many people have enjoyed my books, and I have also appreciated the criticism I’ve received as I hope it makes me a better writer.
17. Which book (not your own) do you wish everyone would read?
The Bible, with an open mind.
18. Which book do you suspect most people claim to have read, but haven’t?
The current work of literary genius, whatever it is!
19. How do you feel about physical books versus e-books?
I have a foot in both camps. I love reading e-books but I don’t actually feel like I own the book, and I keep all my physical books too.
20. Do you have any advice for an aspiring author?
Write. Try to write everyday, or as often as you can. That is the only way you will improve your craft.

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Book Info

Publication date

15th May 2015


Katharine Swartz

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Lion Fiction an imprint of Lion Hudson Plc


352 pages


Family Drama
Historical Fiction
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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