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The Changeling Garden Hardcover – November, 1995


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 282 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Pr; 1st edition (November 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312134495
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312134495
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,726,182 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Nature run amok provides the chills in this first novel, whose rather campy story of ecological horror is a quick, engrossing read until it derails close to the end. Hours after the Carter family moves into their new home, a Victorian surrounded by gardens, five-year-old David develops an unnatural rapport with the plants in the backyard, and housewife Annie finds her soul transmigrating into the local wildlife. Armed with this new respect for the natural world, Annie then prevents her husband's sale of part of their acreage to developers intent on building a parking lot. Annie's quest to understand her family's strange affinity for their gardens leads her through a convoluted plot encompassing reincarnation, herbalism, Mayan mysticism and anthropological speculation in the manner of Erich von Daniken. Elze juggles these esoteric elements with enthusiasm, but the novel spins out of control when she reveals that the presumed perpetrator of several ritual murders around the neighborhood is the pawn of an ancient Toltec spirit who so detests humanity that he has engineered the gradual deforestation of the planet. A imaginative horror scenario thus deteriorates into an awkward, even laughable, slasher tale; in the manner of her villainous Toltec, Elze winds up cutting the heart out of her own novel.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

First novelist Elze mixes horror with gentle humor in this delightful fantasy. Annie, whose husband frequently travels for his high-tech job, can often be found at home with her preschool son. When the family moves into a Victorian house, Annie and her child discover they can control the behavior of plants and animals in their overgrown garden. Soon, they begin plotting with their wildlife to foil a local bank's investments in South American rain forests. The plot is contrived?Annie's life history is too neatly entwined with her garden's?but the violence is elegantly understated. For libraries and their readers who like scares served up with a more subtle flavor than that of Anne Rice or Stephen King.?Joyce Smothers, Monmouth Cty. Lib., Manalapan, N.J.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dawn Campbell on February 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
At first, I was hesitant to read this book. I thought the plot sounded stupid. Out of boredom I finally read it and I thought it was great! Some scenes could have been more developed and scarier and there was absolutely no suspence as to who the murderer was. I kept reading because it was very entertaining and I think it is one of those books where you can't think about too much and try to make sense of it. I loved the idea of a talking garden. I would reccomend this book to anyone who wants an entertaining, easy to read story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 1, 1998
Format: Hardcover
If you like to get lost in a fantasy world, then you will love this book. I loved the concept of a magical garden. At first I was a little concerned about the large amount of dialog in the novel but that turned out to be one of its strengths. The story was obviously far fetched but that did not matter. I just let my inmagination run wild and became so involved in the story that I felt I was apart of the landscape. The writer allowed me to visualize the setting with vivid detail. Not realistic, but a lot of fun! Magical!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By slayerofsmurfs on December 4, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
i really liked this book. the story idea was original, the writing was engaging, and the characters were likable. I would not call it a horror novel though, it was more like a supernatural mystery. I can see where they would have a hard time putting this into any catagory.
It did have a bit of an annoyingly heavy handed ecological message; we could have figured out the point without the extra material.
Even though there are no fairies in the books, it kind of reminded me of a modern fairytale.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 22, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a first novel, I throughly enjoyed this imaginative book. Ms Elze opened a world of conjecture I had never contemplated and fleshed it out wonderfully. The main characters are well developed and should be used in future novels. They could grow along with Ms Elze's skills. I would love to read more of her work.
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By A Customer on June 1, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Dire first novel that makes you feel sorry for the author, but even more for her readers. Nothing in this story rings true. The plot is so silly it makes you wonder how in the world Ms. Elze managed to sell her text; it reads like it was written by a 12-year-old, and a pretty immature one at that, if the brother-sister-type of marriage she describes and the total lack of anything even remotely sexy is anything to go by. The reader knows where this pathetic little tale is headed the instant Annie tells her friend her "real" name (which is a joke in itself). Strangely enough, she never seems to notice that her young son is a prodigy, talking with the vocabulary and assurance of a 30-year-old at the tender age of 5. She is much too busy talking to her plants. You have to admire Ms Elze for her incredible talent of killing off each and every potentially scary scene, which is pretty hard to do when you're dealing with a woman who finds herself alone in her house with a murderer trying to get in, but Ms Elze pulls it off every time. The identity of the murderer is pretty obvious from the start too, so no suspense there either. Ms Elze supplies us also with a pair of battling Mayans/Toltecs, which reads like some kind of Disney fantasy gone wrong, and she throws in some space travel and eco-consciousness for the bargain. At the end, her protagonist single-handedly saves the rain forest (and, of course, the world) from destruction, in a way that would even make the basest made-for-tv-movie blush with embarrassment. You won't buy it when you read it. Don't buy it now.
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More About the Author

Winifred Elze was born on Staten Island, New York. She is a graduate of Notre Dame Academy and of New York University.

She acted for a year with the Trinity Square Repertory Company in Providence, Rhode Island, where she met and married Robert Warlock. They lived in Manhattan and appeared as extras in various films and commercials, as well as on "The Doctors," a daytime drama.

They bought a farm in Argyle, Upstate New York, and grew blueberries. After ten years, Robert got a job at Proctors Theatre, and they moved to Schenectady, NY, with their three children.