Gardens in Fiction

Allen, Sarah Addison. Garden Spells. Bantam Books, 2007. The Waverleys have always been a curious family, endowed with peculiar gifts that make them outsiders even in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. Even their garden has a reputation, famous for its feisty apple tree that bears prophetic fruit, and its edible flowers, imbued with special powers.

Albert, Susan Wittig. The Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Rose. Berkley Prime Crime, 2012. As the members of the garden club in Darling, Alabama, prepare to plant roses for their annual Confederate Day celebration, they find themselves distracted by a series of mysteries involving stolen funds, a secret code, and a local resident's odd behavior. 

Burnett, Frances Hodgson. The Secret Garden. Candlewick Press, 2008. First published in 1911. The classic story of the courage and strength of two unhappy and withered children who become determined to make their lives and the lives of others around them more joyful. 

Diffenbaugh, Vanessa. The Language of Flowers. Ballantine Books, 2011. The Language of Flowers beautifully weaves past and present, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own troubled past. The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love.  

Harris, Rosemary. Slugfest: a dirty business mystery. Minotaur Books, 2011. Anthony and Agatha Award-nominated Rosemary Harris is back with her fourth Dirty Business mystery, Slugfest, set at a legendary Northeast flower show where more than the plants are dying.

Humphreys, Helen. The Lost Garden. Norton, 2002. Set in early 1941 in Britain when the war seems endless and, perhaps, hopeless. London is on fire from the Blitz, and a young woman gardener named Gwen Davis flees from the burning city for the Devon countryside. She has volunteered for the Land Army, and is to be in charge of a group of young girls who will be trained to plant food crops on an old country estate where the gardens have fallen into ruin.

Eglin, Anthony. The Garden of Secrets Past: an English garden mystery. Minotaur Books, 2011. Codebreakers have tried for centuries to decipher the enigmatic inscription on a strange monument in the garden at Sturminster Hall, but no one has ever succeeded. When a murder occurs on the garden grounds, the intellectual puzzle becomes all too real, and Dr. Lawrence Kingston - retired professor of botany and reluctant sleuth - is called in to investigate.  

The Garden of Reading: an anthology of 20th century short fiction about gardens and gardeners. Edited by Michelle Slung.  Overlook Press, 2005. An anthology of garden-related short fiction, a lush compilation of stories that celebrates the garden's role in inspiring love, fueling desire, soothing pain, assuaging grief.

Hess, Joan.  Deader Homes and Gardens, a Claire Malloy mystery. Minotaur Books, 2012. Finding what she hopes will be an ideal house to share with her new husband and teenage daughter, Claire Malloy learns that the property's previous owner died under suspicious circumstances and that a real estate agent has gone missing.  

Hirahara, Naomi. Blood Hina: a Mas Arai mystery. Minotaur Books, 2010. In this fourth installment of Naomi Hirahara's highly acclaimed "Mas Arai" mystery series, Mas' best friend Haruo is getting married and Mas has grudgingly agreed to serve as best man. But then an ancient Japanese doll display of Haruo's fiancee goes missing, and the wedding is called off with fingers pointed at Haruo. To clear his friend's name, Mas must first uncover a world of heartbreaking memories, deception, and murder. 

Harper, Karen (Karen S.) The Thorne Maze: an Elizabeth I mystery. St. Martin's Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books, 2003. The vibrant pageant of Elizabethan England comes to life in Karen Harper's fifth novel in her acclaimed Elizabeth I Mystery Series. Hailed as "extraordinary" by The Los Angeles Times, these historical mysteries beautifully blend fact and fiction as the young Queen Elizabeth Tudor becomes an amateur sleuth to save her court, crown, and kingdom. 

Montefiore, Santa. The French Gardener. Simon & Schuster, 2009. A magical garden. A cottage that holds a secret. A mysterious Frenchman (handsome, naturally). A family in need of some love. These story elements are irresistibly entwined in this heartwarming novel by the author reviewers consistently compare to Maeve Binchy (Booklist) and Rosamunde Pilcher (Daily Mail UK).

Nair, Kamala. The Girl in the Garden. Grand Central Pub., 2011. The redemptive journey of a young woman unsure of her engagement, who revisits in memory the events of one scorching childhood summer when her beautiful yet troubled mother spirits her away from her home to an Indian village untouched by time, where she discovers in the jungle behind her ancestral house a spellbinding garden that harbours a terrifying secret.

O'Neal, Barbara. The Garden of Happy Endings. Bantam Books Trade Paperbacks, 2012. A community garden in the poorest, roughest part of town becomes a lifeline. Creating a place of hope and sustenance opens Elsa and Tamsin to the renewing power of rich earth, sunshine, and the warm cleansing rain of tears. While Elsa finds her heart blooming in the care of a rugged landscaper, Tamsin discovers the joy of losing herself in the act of giving--and both women discover that with time and care, happy endings flourish.

Quick, Amanda. Crystal Gardens. G. P. Putnam's Sons, c2012. Moving to a country cottage where she seeks refuge in a paranormally charged garden, Evangeline Ames is rescued from a would-be assassin by the garden's owner, Lucas Sebastian, who taps Evangeline's detective skills to solve a buried-treasure mystery and stop a common enemy.

Ripley, Ann. Death in the Orchid Garden: a gardening mystery. Kensington Books, 2006. Louise Eldridge, host of a PBS show, Gardening with Nature, is on location to the Hawaiian island of Kauai, the lush setting for an elite botanical conference.

St. James, Dorothy. Flowerbed of State. Berkley Prime Crime, c2011. Cassandra "Casey" Calhoun's passion for gardening has carried her to President's Park on which sits the White House. But when she finds a dead body in a trash can, Casey has to root out a killer before she ends up planted herself.

Tan, Twan Eng, 1972-. The Garden of Evening Mists. Weinstein Books, c2012. Malaya, 1951. Yun Ling Teoh, the scarred lone survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp, seeks solace among the jungle-fringed tea plantations of Cameron Highlands. There she discovers Yugiri, the only Japanese garden in Malaya, and its owner and creator, the enigmatic Aritomo, exiled former gardener of the emperor of Japan.

Woolf, Virginia. Kew Gardens. Chatto & Windus, 1999. The lush and haunting story circles around Kew Gardens one hot day in July, as various odd and interesting couples walk by and talk, exchanging words but letting thoughts and memories float languorously above the glossy leaves and exotic blooms, while at their feet, a determined snail makes its way slowly across a mountainous flower bed.