Book Review: The Forbidden Garden by Ellen Herrick

Title:  The Forbidden Garden
Author: Ellen Herrick
Publisher:  William Morrow, imprint of HarperCollins
Release Date: April 24, 2017
Genre:  Contemporary Literary Fiction

“Captivating [...] Herrick weaves a rich tapestry of family lore, dark secrets, and love.” —Brunonia Barry, New York Times bestselling author of The Lace Reader and The Fifth Petal

Perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Sarah Jio, comes a lush imaginative novel that takes readers into the heart of a mysterious English country garden, waiting to spring to life.

Every garden is a story, waiting to be told…

At the nursery she runs with her sisters on the New England coast, Sorrel Sparrow has honed her rare gift for nurturing plants and flowers. Now that reputation, and a stroke of good timing, lands Sorrel an unexpected opportunity: reviving a long-dormant Shakespearean garden on an English country estate.

Arriving at Kirkwood Hall, ancestral home of Sir Graham Kirkwood and his wife Stella, Sorrel is shocked by the desolate state of the walled garden. Generations have tried—and failed—to bring it back to glory. Sorrel senses heartbreak and betrayal here, perhaps even enchantment. Intrigued by the house’s history—especially the haunting tapestries that grace its walls—and increasingly drawn to Stella’s enigmatic brother, Sorrel sets to work. And though she knows her true home is across the sea with her sisters, instinct tells her that the English garden’s destiny is entwined with her own, if she can only unravel its secrets…

With a little suspense, historical elements and a refreshing incorporation of horticultural elements, The Forbidden Garden by Ellen Herrick is definitely a nice read. Sorrel is an interesting character and I find the rich details woven through out intriguing. However, I felt it took some time to really engross myself in the story in the beginning, like I am missing a part. That's when I realize there actually might be another story before this one. After a look on the author's website, there actually was a story titled, The Sparrow Sisters that precedes The Forbidden Garden. Despite a tad bit lost in the beginning, a reader will get into the story soon with the charming backdrop and visual the author presents. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.

For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.


Ellen Herrick was a publishing professional in New York City until she and her husband moved to London for a brief stint; they returned nearly twenty years later with three children (her own, it must be said). She now divides her time between Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a small town on Cape Cod very much like Granite Point.

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