Review: The Child Garden A Novel by Catriona McPherson
Eden was its name. "An alternative school for happy children." But it closed in disgrace after a student's suicide. Now it's a care home, its grounds neglected and overgrown. Gloria Harkness is its only neighbor, staying close to her son who lives there in the home, lighting up her life and breaking her heart each day.
When a childhood friend turns up at her door, Gloria doesn't hesitate before asking him in. He claims a girl from Eden is stalking him and has goaded him into meeting her at the site of the suicide. Only then, the dead begin to speak—it was murder, they say.
Gloria is in over her head before she can help it. Her loneliness, her loyalty, and her all-consuming love for her son lead her into the heart of a dark secret that threatens everything she lives for.
I received this book via NetGalley to give an honest review.
The cover and the title is what drove me to request this book. It seemed like it was going to be one of those edge of your seat thrillers, for me that was far from it. It was hard for me to truly get into the story and connect with any of the characters. Gloria lives right up the road from a care home where her son and her employer are being taken care of. Her son has PKNR which is pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration, I had to look it up online to see what this was as Gloria never really tells us or Stig who comes into her life about it.
While coming home after seeing her son Nicky her and another car almost collide this chain of events lead onto something even more than what Gloria expects. An old classmate Stig comes into the picture and is trying to figure out why the past of what happened at Eden is coming to life. Eden was a so called hippie school where a death occurred twenty eight years ago. Though the question is was it really an accident or murder? Gloria and Stig end up putting together pieces of the past it seems that all those that attended seem to be dying but is it all just a coincidence?
I liked the setting of where a childhood death ends up being the mystery that becomes solved, I enjoyed the twist that came with this, the person in all of it was not someone I even thought of at all. The one person I kept thinking that was behind it all was just a victim as well.
I liked the idea of the stone that you have to rock 12 times and no more if you go over you have to rock it 24 times. It is little superstitions like that which I enjoy in books.
These things didn't work for me in the story.
1. Gloria bothered me quite a bit I understand she loves her son Nicky but she said his name a lot and I do not mean just in a conversation. More along the lines of just randomness. Here is one example: Stig and Gloria are in huttie and are looking around all of a sudden she thinks Nicky then they see something that has nothing to do with her son. Gloria just felt dull, which in her life style I can see this happening but it just didn't work for me.
2. Another that got to me was the fact that every time Stig would say thirty years ago she would reply with twenty-eight years. Either she should have just let it go or Stig should have listened to her and quit saying thirty.
3. The nicknames were just really out there though they did kind of stay with you. The correction that Stig had to keep giving Gloria for Van the Man she kept calling him Vanman which he would say no Van the Man. I mean Gloria it is not a hard nick name to remember.
Other than those little things it was an okay story for me it is not truly dark at all just a mystery book with a nice twist.
I am truly torn between a three and a four rating though I am going to go with a three.
aka Catriona McCloudCatriona McPherson was born in South Queensferry. After finishing school, she worked in a bank for a short time, before going to university. She studied for an MA in English Language and Linguistics at Edinburgh University, and then gained a job in the local studies department at Edinburgh City Libraries. She left this post after a couple of years, and went back to university to study for a PhD in semantics. During her final year she applied for an academic job, but left to begin a writing career.
These days, McPherson lives with her husband on a farm in the Galloway countryside, where she spends her time writing, gardening, swimming and running.