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Small Eden Gambles sometimes pay off. And sometimes they cost dearly.

"A historical tale of dreams and loss told with eloquence and emotion."

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

A historical tale of dreams and loss told with eloquence and emotion. A decision to not call for the doctor when their son is teething has a devastating impact on Robert, Freya and their young family. We then cut back in time to Robert’s childhood, gaining some insight over his actions that night, and the heavy weight of guilt and grief that now looms over him. In memorial to the children they lost, Robert buys an old chalk mine that offered him solace as a child, and builds a pleasure garden to try and fill the void left by his grief. This massive project has highs and lows and sees the family pulled further apart. I loved that this story is based on discoveries found at the author’s house. There was an authenticity to the story before I discovered this, but it adds to the magic of Robert's dream. Loss looms large throughout the novel, with key family members taken away from multiple characters, and allowing us to see the different ways each of them cope. Robert’s mother has a big transformation and I enjoyed seeing her change from the timid reclusive woman she was at the start of the novel to the strong woman she became after her pilgrimage to honour the loss of her parents. Robert reminds me of P.T. Barnum in the film The Greatest Showman, a man driven to provide for all his family, including (in his way) the sons he’s lost, but his focus on work causes more damage. ‘Small Eden’ by Jane Eleanor Davis is a beautiful tale of family, love and loss that tells not only Robert’s story, but those who were vital in bringing the pleasure gardens to life. Bittersweet, poignant and I wholeheartedly enjoyed it.

Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

LoveReading Ambassador

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