Review: The Child Garden – Catriona McPherson

Child Garden cover

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: Eden was its name. “An alternative school for happy children.” But it closed in disgrace after a student’s suicide. Now it’s a care home, its grounds neglected and overgrown. Gloria Harkness is its only neighbor, staying close to her son who lives there in the home, lighting up her life and breaking her heart each day.

When a childhood friend turns up at her door, Gloria doesn’t hesitate before asking him in. He claims a girl from Eden is stalking him and has goaded him into meeting her at the site of the suicide. Only then, the dead begin to speak—it was murder, they say.

Gloria is in over her head before she can help it. Her loneliness, her loyalty, and her all-consuming love for her son lead her into the heart of a dark secret that threatens everything she lives for. – via Goodreads

GRADE 6.5I will be very honest and say that I picked this book for the cool cover and the title of the novel. This doesn’t always bode well though. However, I actually enjoyed this. The book is incredibly English, which didn’t get to me at all because, in South Africa, the English we are taught covers American and UK English, so we don’t usually struggle reading most authors or watching most movies. There were some things that really grated on me while reading this, like the fact that each and every single damn character just about had to have a nickname, it was quite annoying. Just give me their names and move on. Quite simple. Gloria was a lead character that was alright. I didn’t love her, didn’t hate her, but she did undeniably keep the story trundling along. While there are some places in the book where there is some slack, overall I was engaged while reading this and impressed for the most part. Here was a murder mystery that had none of this ridiculous sex filled nonsense. This was a story that was diligently pieced together. The Child Garden started slowly and doesn’t exactly captivate from the opening page, and it took me forever to figure out that the “I” I was reading about was, in actual fact, a woman. This is an incredibly fast read, which is nice because it shows that McPherson can write in a flowing style, it wasn’t stilted and uneven and unsure. However, not all the actions of the characters made much sense, and while the major mystery itself wasn’t immediately obvious, there were plenty other things in the book that were predictable, but this is not necessarily said in a negative way.