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I am so pleased that I have just read The Garden Party by Sarah Challis because I have now discovered a new author that I love and can't wait to read more of. Never having read any of her novels before, I didn't know what to expect but as the description appealed to me I thought I would read it and see whether I enjoyed it. The book did not disappoint in any way and I loved reading it from beginning to end.
The Garden Party tells the story of the Baxter family - Alice, David and their four grown up children. Alice's aim is to hold the party partly because it will be her sixtieth birthday and hers and David's fortieth wedding anniversary, but mainly to celebrate all that is good about the family. This plan surprises many people as the Baxters have not generally been known to splash out on major celebrations but Alice is adamant that this is what she wants. The only problem is that as the preparations gather momentum, each family member seems to be embarking on a crisis of his or her own and sometimes a party is the last thing on their minds! As the date of the party nears, one can't help wondering whether it will ever take place at all.
I loved The Garden Party from the moment that I started reading it. It is the story of ordinary people but, as it is written so well, it's their very ordinariness that makes them so appealing. The Baxters feel just like people I know and because of that I could recognise their ups and downs and empathise with them. Alice's husband David is newly retired with too much time on his hands and no sense of purpose; her daughter in law, Annie is struggling to enjoy being a full time mum when in her heart she would rather be working; her daughter Sadie lurching from one emotional crisis to the next whilst her two young daughters are caught in the cross-fire. These are just some of the wonderful characters that I grew to know and care about as I was reading The Garden Party.
There are many different story lines in The Garden Party with Alice being the link between them all. They all interweave beautifully together and each separate story is as intriguing and absorbing as the next. I really didn't want to put the book down as I couldn't wait to find out how everything was going to turn out.
The Garden Party is quite a moving story too as it demonstrates how fragile relationships can be if you don't take care of them and if you fail to communicate how you really feel. I'm obviously not going to tell you how things turn out and whether the perfect family celebration ever takes place, but I do recommend that you read this lovely book and find out!
This lovely book can be found on Amazon for £4.36.
This review has previously appeared on www.curiousbookfans.co.uk and through which I am grateful for receiving a copy from the publishers.