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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it's still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin MIRA; Original edition (August 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 077831412X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778314127
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #551,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Winner of the 2013 Golden Quill for Best First Book

"I learned so much about myself from this story-that fear doesn't have to hold me back, but rather, it can move me forward. The Unfinished Garden is a touching and accomplished debut."-Diane Chamberlain, bestselling author of The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes

"White...conveys the condition of OCD, and how it creates havoc in one's life and the lives of loved ones, with style and grace, never underplaying the seriousness of the disorder."-RT BookReviews

"A powerful story of friendship and courage in the midst of frightening circumstances... I highly recommend this wonderful love story."-Bergers' Book Reviews

"A mesmerizing tale of fear, loss, and love. Tilly and James are richly drawn and wonderfully flawed characters who embody the contradictions and imperfections that exist in all of us. Barbara Claypole White has created a novel as beautiful and complex, dark and light, sweet and sensuous as Tilly's beloved garden."-Joanne Rendell, author of The Professors' Wives' Club

"Barbara Claypole White has created such a likable, adorable, entertaining main character that I never wanted this book to end."-Lydia Netzer, author of Shine Shine Shine

"I found the writing style in The Unfinished Garden reminiscent of Rosamunde and Robin Pilcher. As a fan of both, I truly enjoyed this book and look forward to many more from Barbara Claypole White."-Julie Kibler, author of Calling Me Home

About the Author

Barbara Claypole White writes love stories about damaged people. She grew up in rural England, studied history at York University, and worked in London fashion before marrying an American professor she met at JFK airport. Today they live in the forests of North Carolina with their award-winning poet son. Despite detours through journalism and marketing, Barbara chased her dream of becoming a novelist and was thrilled to find a publisher months before turning 50. Never give up is her motto!

More About the Author

I grew up in rural England with dreams of being a writer. So, armed with a history degree, I became a publicist for London fashion. Passing through JFK one day, I fell in love with an American professor. Eighteen months later I was a marketing director in the Midwest cornfields, and I had a secret: I was writing a novel. An incredibly bad one.

When my husband was offered a distinguished professorship at UNC Chapel Hill, we moved to the North Carolina forest where I became a woodland gardener and a stay-at-home mom. Gradually, I carved out time to write each day, but it wasn't until our young son developed obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that I started writing love stories about damaged people, people who find light in the darkness of invisible disabilities.

THE UNFINISHED GARDEN, a love story about grief, OCD, and dirt, won the 2013 Golden Quill for Best First Book. THE IN-BETWEEN HOUR--What could be worse than losing your child? Having to pretend he's still alive--was chosen by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) as a Winter 2014 Okra Pick. (And yes, that's going on my tombstone.)

You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, or

Customer Reviews

Book was very well written and I enjoyed the story.
Patricia Braham
Nearly everyone I know with OCD worries about ever being able to find someone to love, who will understand their issues and love them anyway.
L Matheos
The author has wonderful ways of bringing each individual character to life, along with their own set of circumstances!

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By CathyD on August 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I could not put Barbara Claypole White's The Unfinished Garden down. The characters are compelling and believable---and so deeply, lovably flawed that I found myself wondering how they would get out of the traps their own lives and their minds and their experiences set them in order to find one another and find themselves. Well, I don't want to give anything away, but a trowel is mightier than the sword, it turns out. The trans-Atlantic story is so compelling, making the English countryside and the North Carolina forests equally appealing, formidable, and inviting. The depictions of OCD were spot on but, well beyond the diagnosis, was the real appreciation of what you gain from this condition, as much as what you lose. In fact, the whole novel turns loss into love in a way that is entirely compelling. The language, artistry, plot, and insights into human nature (plus humor in the right doses, just when you need it) make this a book you cannot put down.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lydia Netzer on August 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
Barbara Claypole White has created such a likable, adorable, entertaining main character that I never wanted this book to end! I predict an explosion of children named "Tilly" in 2013! Hanging out with her was so much fun -- I wrung my hands with her when she was troubled, I laughed at her self-effacing humor, and I really felt her love for her family and her child. Part of the magic was White's narrative style -- it's third person that feels like first, so immediate and engaging. This wonderful touch was also applied to the male main character, James, whose intense OCD made his sections agonizing and so very interesting. He was portrayed so authentically, but with such grace and affection.

My favorite character was one of the peripheral ones -- Tilly's friend Rowena. Her manner, her way of dressing, her spunky and style, and the way she talked -- she just burst off the page, until I felt I knew her.

A heartfelt book that never wanders into the maudlin, this is a fun read and a wonderfully sensitive portrayal of mental illness at the same time.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By etcbooks on August 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
The Unfinished Garden is a beautifully written, heart wrenching love story. The novel centers on Tilly Silverberg, a young widow raising her son Isaac. She has a successful business that demands her attention, and which she uses as an excuse to hide from the world, and to escape the guilt she feels over her beloved husband's death.

And then James Nealy, an attractive man who has retired young from his successful business as a software developer, shows upone night at Tilly's house. James suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder,and after years of therapy, is determined to face his fears and create a beautiful garden. He immediately is drawn to both Tilly and her stunning, wild garden, and knows that she must be the one to create his.

Although Tilly sell plants, she doesn't design gardens. And she does not want to deal with clients. But James will not take no for an answer. When Tilly and Isaac rush to her beloved home in England to deal with a family emergency, Tilly is confronted with her first love, Sebastian, who is going through a divorce and clearly still has feelings for Tilly, and Tilly discovers a lump in her breast.

In the midst of all of this, James unexpectedly appears at her childhood home. Their relationship is tenuous at first, but as they work together to create a garden, their love also blossoms.

As in life, there are no simple characters in this novel, each is layered and flawed, but all are beautifully crafted by the immensely talented author, Barbara Claypole White. In short, I would highly recommend The Unfinished Garden. It will appeal to all hopeless romantics, and to those who just love a beautifully written book with wonderful characters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ilaria on September 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition

Tilly, born and raised in England, moved to North Carolina. Then, she married David Silverberg, and had a son with him, Isaac. Unfortunately, she lost her husband and, for three years, she had been missing him so much that she wasn't ready to love anybody else.

James Nealy, a 45-year old software developer, retired from his job so he could recover from a severe case of obsessive-compulsive disorder. He asked Tilly if she could design his garden, but she said no because she felt she wasn't the right person who could help him. He insisted that she should work on his garden, but she refused every time he asked. She eventually sort of gave in to his request, and she made him take gardening lessons from her when she was in England to visit her mother. But the garden was just an excuse, he fell in love with Tilly and wanted to get to know her. They learned to fight their fears together (James had fears related to his OCD, while Tilly found a lump in her breast and was afraid that she could lose her life and leave Isaac). Uncertainty is part of life and we have to learn how to live with it. Tilly was starting to have feelings for James, but she couldn't admit to herself that she fell in love with him.

I really enjoyed this book, I always looked forward to reading what came next. James is definitely my favourite character because, having suffered with OCD in the past, I could sympathize with him. The description of this character and his condition is very accurate. I highly recommend the book to readers who like love stories, to fellow OCD sufferers and people who live with them (the author herself has a son who suffers from OCD)! It's not easy to live with somebody who has this condition, so the book can help people understand what having OCD really feels like.
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