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After buying a job lot of books from the last book sale at my local library, and finally running out of vampire books to read, I dipped into my collection and pulled out the book I will now review.
The book I will now review is -"The pleasure garden by Caroline Davison"
After reading the blurb on the back of the book I was expecting something more along the lines of a love triangle type of affair, this was something entirely different to what I actually got.
A brief synopsis is -
Ruby is a floundering artist who is looking for inspiration for her newest masterpieces, upon a bike ride one day, something on the skyline catches her eye, so she ventures up to investigate.
After stumbling across what turns out to be a local stately home, Oakstead Ruby meets the now owner, Ben and begins a whirlwind romance.
But the house holds deeper darker secrets, and after a world renowned author arrives to research the home for his newest book many more secrets and feelings are soon revealed..........
I am sorry I have not written more synopsis, but I struggled to write that measly amount. This book was not the easiest read I have ever had.
The only way I can describe the ideas behind the book is an amalgamation of historical literature, mostly regarding Greek mythology, agriculture, sex, and homo erotic literature, the previous things mentioned are only the backdrop to this story with the so-called "love triangle" being one of the main themes, though there was very little context regarding that part of the story.
Every sexual element to the story is closely linked to the earth and mother nature, linking the cycles of the seasons to the fertility of a woman, this in itself was difficult to follow, but thrown into the mix was the story of the previous owner of Oakstead, a Henry Falkes.
After actively accepting the afore mentioned owners methods of farming, ie sowing and harvesting crops in regards to the goddess's (mother nature) idea's, this again was extensively linked to sex, the now owner Ben, seems to become obsessed with finding out about the former owner and why he was so disliked by everyone he ever met.
Towards the end of the book it is insinuated that the spirit of Henry has overtaken some of the residents in the house, though even this point, which I would have enjoyed, was not explored fully and left the story feeling wanting.
There is nice selection of characters, and thankfully not too many, as the story felt very confusing and over whelming anyway.
The characters were very diverse, but seemed to hold the next character up perfectly.
Ruby - the loving, if somewhat flighty artist, torn between her love for Ben and the alluring if somewhat mysterious George, Ben's gardener. She also suffers at the hands of Ben's house mate Charlie, who develops a real fixation for Ruby, not easy reading at times!
Ben - he is the owner of Oakstead after his parents are tragically killed in a car accident a few years previously, the monument that he has erected in there memory is the thing that initially entices Ruby up to the house in the first place, he is constantly worried that like so many of his previous girlfriends that Ruby will grown tired of his "niceness" and leave, after details of the previous owner are un earthed he becomes obsessed with finding as much out of his predecessor as possible, even at the expense of his relationship with Ruby.
Charlie - this is a particularly interesting character in the respect of his attitudes towards women. Charlie is a good looking journalist, he is the first person to meet and interview professor Lal, and the main reason the professor comes for a visit, putting the wheels in motion for the entire back story. Charlie has never had any problems with meeting and bedding any woman he wants, so when Ben meets Ruby, and she initially spurs his advances he becomes fixated on her, after he convinces himself that he loves her he becomes a nasty character, and some of his actions are repulsive to read about.
Professor Lal - this again is an unusual character. An author of a critically received book that interprets agriculture and the impending seasons as part of a fertility cycle, encouraging the thoughts that sex and sowing seeds are really interpreted as the same thing, he is kept at arms length by Ben throughout the entire book. After deciding to write a follow up book and basing it entirely on the previous owner of Oakstead, Lal seems to be hanging around like a bad smell, but he seems to know more than he should!
I am sure I have made this book sound much more exciting than it actually is. Personally if the story had been kept with the storyline I would have happily read this book in a couple of days, but due to how the book was set out with all the added context included, this made for a long and sometimes confusing read.
Alongside the storyline, which in fairness wasn't the best I have ever read, there were constant references and sections that referred to Lal's book, these were always written to mean the farming aspect but clearly being very lightly veiled porn, a double entendre if you will.
Also there was quite a few pages dedicated to so called exerts from professional journals concerning agriculture and gardening, these were excessively boring and to put it bluntly a waste of space, they neither fit into the storyline or at times made any sense to me.
I have to say though that for all it's bad points, the ending did go some way to make up for it, though it did explain everything about the characters and Henry Faulkes in less than five pages, a little too rushed for my liking, but at least at that point I knew what was happening!
Would I recommend this book, not really. If you are interested in agriculture and things of that nature then this would be right up your street, if like me you have a penchant for chick lit and love triangles this is not your thing at all!
For more information visit - www.piatkus.co.uk
This books RRP is £7.99, but as with most books this is available from www.amazon.co.uk for pennies.
Thanks for reading x
Pages - 308