The Garden of Letters

By: Alyson Richman

Released: September 2nd, 2014 by Berkley

Length: 384 pages

Rating: Two Stars

Acquired: BEA

Portofino, Italy, 1943. A young woman steps off a boat in a scenic coastal village. Although she knows how to disappear in a crowd, Elodie is too terrified to slip by the German officers while carrying her poorly forged identity papers. She is frozen until a man she’s never met before claims to know her. In desperate need of shelter, Elodie follows him back to his home on the cliffs of Portofino.

Inspired by a true story the author was told by a friend’s relative about being rescued by a stranger in the same situation as Elodie, The Garden of Letters tells the story of two opposites who must learn how to grow and rediscover themselves after separate losses as they are brought together under dire circumstances.  It’s an interesting plot. I must say I was intrigued from reading the synopsis. Unfortunately, this book did not hit the mark for me. It dragged on in parts. Was often boring, or just okay. I wasn’t wowed or invested much in either of the three sub plots. I liked Elodie’s sub plot the best; as well as finding her the most interesting, but not by much. Unfortunately, the two other sub plots took up much of the story that Elodie’s wasn’t enough to make me like the novel.

The sub plot I liked the least was actually when Elodie gets rescued. It takes up the least amount in the novel, but I found it lacking. The end wasn’t very good. It tidied things up in a way I was dissatisfied with.  The relationship between Elodie and the Doctor was quiet and soft. It seemed too neat. Too fitting for two strangers who just met and are forced to live together. I didn’t find it very realistic.

The characters were decent, though. As much as I didn’t like the novel, Richman did write okay characters. Elodie and her best friend were great characters. The Doctor was the only one I didn’t like.

Now, the garden of letters. THERE WAS NO GARDEN!!!! This may be a spoiler (sorry!) but I was annoyed by this. It’s a wall. The wife of the doctor pastes his letters onto their bedroom wall while he is serving in Africa. She makes it look like a Garden, kind of.  But the book title is still a little misleading. For me, at least. Maybe I am too literal.

I won’t recommend this novel. It just didn’t do anything for me. I can’t honestly stand behind it. It sounds good in theory; maybe it will work for some, but it didn’t work for me.