The Garden Party

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The Garden Party by Sarah Challis, book reviewI 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!

The Garden Party by Sarah Challis
Published by Headline Publishing, paperback, May 2011
With thanks to Headline for providing a review copy.

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Garden Party, The
by Sarah Challis

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Written by kingfisher

My name is Jo and I have been married to Simon for nine years. We have two beautiful daughters – Rachel who is six and Natalie who is almost five and starting school in January. I also have two step children aged twenty one and seventeen so family life is never dull. I also manage to work three days for a local education authority where I support the teaching of literacy in primary schools. I love my job and it’s ideal for a book lover like me. In my spare time I run, dance and occasionally tread the boards with my local amateur dramatics group. My first love is reading though and you will never find me without a book on the go. My husband is also an avid reader and we are hoping to pass on our love of reading to our daughters. They certainly love their bedtime stories every night. Although I have and English degree and I am familiar with most of the classics, I generally read much lighter stuff these days. It’s mainly ‘chic lit’ but I also enjoy a good thriller or courtroom drama. I have so many favourite authors and this list tends to change regularly depending on what I am reading.

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