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The importance of family and the magic of gardens inspires Montefiore's novel of love lost and found. A few over-used elements and devices keep this heartwarming book from fully sparkling.

Miranda and David Clay-bourne and their two children move from a fast-paced life in London to a country house with a once-beautiful garden that, like their lives and love, needs to be restored. A mysterious Frenchman, Jean-Paul, takes on the chore of restoring the grounds, and with a wisdom borne of pain, he helps them find happiness in each other and their home.

At the same time, Miranda delves into the diary of Ava, the previous owner of the home. That woman's love of the garden and the love she finds in her affair with a younger man help Miranda understand her own life. (TOUCHSTONE, Jun., 432 pp., $15.00)
Reviewed by: 
M.H. Morrison