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The French Gardener: A Novel Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 188 customer reviews

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Length: 433 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Montefiore's well-crafted, evocative novel is instantly sensual and welcoming. When Miranda Claybourne's seven-year-old is expelled from school, the stylish Londoner, magazine writer and mother of two, ditches her posh Notting Hill digs for the idylls of a country estate. But her simple-life fantasies soon fail. Her husband's preoccupied with his job and his mistress; the kids lash out at each other while Gus, the elder, terrorizes both farm animals and his new classmates. Enter Jean-Paul, a handsome, mysterious Frenchman with an offer to tend her woefully neglected gardens. Cleaning out the estate's rundown cottage for Jean-Paul, she discovers the secret journals of the previous lady of the house—a brilliant gardener, Ava Lightly, and her love affair. As if by magic, Miranda's garden begins to thrive and she owes it all to Jean-Paul, with whom she thinks she's falling in love. The drama of the journals distract from her own failing marriage, and Miranda delights in the idea that her life is running parallel to Ava's—it's a lovely coincidence, until she stops to consider exactly what may have drawn Jean-Paul into her garden. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

A rambling country estate may have lured Miranda and David and their children from their elegant London lifestyle, but not even the enchantment of once magnificent gardens, or fascination with an abandoned cottage can mend the emotional and physical chasm that is deepening between them. Left alone while David returns to London during the week, Miranda is overwhelmed by establishing a new home, disciplining an unruly child, and maintaining her own career. Her prayers are seemingly answered when a charismatic Frenchman suddenly appears with an offer to restore the gardens to their former glory. As the friendship between Miranda and Jean-Paul grows, so do her suspicions about David’s fidelity, leading Miranda to seek refuge in an abandoned diary that details a passionate tryst between the estate’s former owner, Ava, and her intriguingly unnamed gardener. Despite the obvious D. H. Lawrence overtones, Montefiore crafts a sweetly provocative romance that transitions seamlessly from Miranda’s contemporary marital discord to Ava’s past affair. --Carol Haggas

Product Details

  • File Size: 3381 KB
  • Print Length: 433 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (May 22, 2009)
  • Publication Date: June 2, 2009
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,044 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Santa Montefiore was born in England. She went to Sherborne School for Girls in Dorset and read Spanish and Italian at Exeter University. She has written fourteen bestselling novels which are translated into thirty different languages and have sold well over than 2 million copies worldwide. She lives with her husband, the historian and broadcaster Simon Sebag-Montefiore, and their two children in London.
For more information please visit her website at
Instagram: santamontefioreauthor
Facebook: Santa Sebag-Montefiore and Santa Montefiore Books

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The French Gardener: A Novel

I basically purchased this book because of the positive reviews I read on Amazon. And while the book has a certain charm it is was not of the caliber that I had hoped. First off, the book gets off to a very, very slow start, to the point where I was tempted to put it down. However, I hate starting books and not completing so, I read on. Sure enough the last quarter of the book picked up.

Here is the problem, the book reads like a drug store paperback. You know the kind you took away to the beach when you were 14 and dying for a little romance. The characters are not developed, the plot is silly, and you know how the book is going to end 100 pages before you get there. I was not looking for War and Peace but, give me a little intellect. The most fun in the book is listening to the main character Miranda talk about the goodies in her closet, Jimmy Choo, Prada, Gucci ect... but I wasn't reading the Devil Wears Prada! Nor do I want to. The book I read before this was The Help. Which was an extraordinary, rich character driven novel. That may have been why I was so disappointed it was like going from a fine crisp Montrachet to a glass of Boone's Farm strawberry wine. Only a 14 year old could love it!
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Format: Paperback
Seldom does a book come a long that you can just feel your body relax and you just melt away into the story. For me, this summer, The French Gardener did just that.

This book spins two tales that are brought together by a single French gardener and his story of love that could not be and a garden that hold the secret that is slowly told through a scrapbook read by a woman that has a similar story but is not the intended recipient. That may sound confusing but this gentle paced story unfolds in a way that you see the beauty but don't want the love story to come to an end.

Stuck in an isolated country house Miranda has the life that she though she would like; that is until she realizes that her high fashion life and mud don't always come together. Her husband is away at work if he`s not with his mistress, her son is in constant trouble at school, she has no friends, no life, nothing but this rotten garden that was once a showplace.

So what's a girl to do, she hires a French gardener to put the garden to rights and with it a story that will bind them all together in a way that they never thought possible.

Montefiore creates wonderfully likeable characters each with a voice and a story of their own. You can feel the garden, the town, the people and the heartache that must be endured for there to even possibly be a happily ever after.
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Format: Paperback
After reading this book, it felt like I just spend 10 hours viewing a Picasso in watercolor and on construction paper. The work was certainly there but the true art of developing a good story was missing. It was a book of many "other" books which gave it little originality. The French Gardener is filled with subterfuges and superficialities, especially when it comes to deep heart issues.

Pardon the brevity of my review but I'd rather be curled up near a warm fireplace, reading a really good book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Too wordy, trite plot and the only romance that rang true was Henrietta and the farmer; you really were pulling for them. The rest of the book was formulaic. And as a gardener, it was annoying to have the wrong things flowering at the wrong times!
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Format: Paperback
Normally this isn't my usual type of reading but since I did get this book as a gift I decided to give it a try. Big mistake. All I got when I finished reading was a feeling of disappointment.

The plot goes like this: Miranda, David, and their two children Storm and Gus move to the country. Seems their son Gus has gotten himself kicked out of another London school for biting another student. David still works in the city and lives there during the week, taking the train to visit his family on the weekends. But Miranda is stuck adapting to country life and raising their two kids on her own. Which makes sense since David has a mistress in London. In fact when the reader is given David's POV we are told that he has it all "the perfect family is Dorset and the perfect mistress in London". Lovely. And then if we weren't already aware of David's selfishness he goes on to say that although he loves his wife, "his wife could hardly expect him to remain celibate all week".

Running alongside the present-day story is one that happened years ago between the old owners of the house (Ava and Phillip) and their gardener Jean-Paul. Which ties in to the present in that Miranda and her children, with the help of a recently returned Jean-Paul, begin to restore the gardens to their former glory. While Miranda reads Ava's memories of the past it seems history is repeating itself in Miranda's family.

By the time David actually notices and cares that his family has essentially replaced him it is too late. An old friend of the family is coming for a visit and David's perfect life is about to implode. Or as the book says "he risked everything and lost". Which by now I was pretty much hoping he'd loose it all.
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