The Savage Garden by Mark Mills
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The majority of the plot is a mysterious garden in Tuscany which a young English student is sent over to investigate for a potential thesis at university. It almost reads a bit like a mini mystery of symbols like a David Langdon adventure of Dan Brown style. Yet it is interrupted occasionally by the history of world war two and the influence of warfare and german soldiers on the family and household of Villa Docci. Simmering beneath the mystery of the garden is the mystery of the top floor of the villa which was sealed shut and has been since the death of a son from German occupying soldiers many years ago. It is this that turns out to be the most crucial mystery by the end although it doesn't take presidence until the garden mystery is solved just over half way through the book.
Over all the plot is smooth despite the jump between mysteries and the range of characters involved in each plot but you definitely grow to like and admire the three main characters which for me are Signora Docci, Antonella and Andrew Strickland. Yet at the end the mysteries now solved make the story seem a bit dry as there is no hint at all what the characters plans are next or if they all have a happy ending.
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