The Forbidden Garden by Ellen Herrick

forbiddengarden  What I liked about this book:

  1.   It’s set in England.  The descriptions of the country estate and the London museums were interesting to me.
  2.   There is a mystery about the failing garden, something about a Kirkwood family curse. The idea if a mystery intrigued me.
  3.   The descriptions of gardening and the ability to grow so many herbs, flowers and vegetables – how I wish I had that talent.
  4.   The cover is colorful and invites you pick the book up for a quick look, especially if you are a sucker for a pretty book cover.
  5. There are passages about food throughout the book. Eggs with chives, Shepherd’s Pie, Roasted chicken with potatoes and veggies….. I prepared a Shepherd’s Pie as my representative dish.  It’s the first meal Andrew prepared for Sorrel Sparrow.

What I didn’t care for:

Unbeknownst to me there was a previous book called The Sparrow Sisters.  When I started reading The Forbidden Garden I felt like I was missing something, a backstory that wasn’t explained by the author.  After looking online I saw there was a previous book.  That would have fleshed out the characters more for me if I’d known and read it first.  Mystery solved.

This book was advertised as “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.Well……..there is a garden in England and there is a bit of mystery but, not at all like Kate Morton in my opinion.  That may come as a disappointment to some readers if they absolutely love Kate Morton, so I wanted to mention that. The mystery has more to do with enchantment….think about Alice Hoffman books instead.

The allusion to magic had me shrug my shoulders – Meh. Witchcraft wasn’t mentioned but it’s hinted at as an innate magical and mystical ability within each of the Sparrow sisters as they handle the soil in the gardens and make potions.

Predictable ending but that doesn’t always put me off a book.  Sometimes you can figure it out and sometimes it’s obvious who the love interests and culprits will be.

Overall a solid B rating for the writing and descriptive passages.

Here is the vegetarian version of Shepherd’s Pie. Lots of beans and freshly cut vegetables. Now Andrew prepared a version using ground lamb.  We have also done that and it’s quite good.  That recipe may be found HERE.


About the author

Ellen Herrick lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts and a small seaside town very much like Granite Point. She spent nearly ten years in the book publishing business as a publicist before moving to to England where she raised three children and traveled like crazy. After sixteen years in London, it was the ocean that called her home.

  • I won an advanced reader’s copy of this book from LibraryThing.

Linking up with Joy’s British Isles Friday


10 thoughts on “The Forbidden Garden by Ellen Herrick

  1. I have The Sparrow Sisters on my TBR so I’ll definitely read that first. I’ve noticed that Kate Morton’s name gets pulled out a lot to compare to other books but they very rarely live up to that. I like the sound of enchantment! Not every book has to have super heavy atmosphere.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Katherine, I think if you read Sparrow Sisters first then this next book will make sense in the beginning. I wasn’t confused the entire book, it was the initial chapters that made me feel like I missed something.


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  3. This looks like one I’d enjoy — but I’d definitely want to start with the first in the series. Maybe it will put me in the mood to get my garden cleaned up for spring planting. I just requested the e-book at my library.

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. How did I miss that you reviewed this one!? I had the same experience with wanting to have read the first book first (it’s even loaded on my Kindle) but in the end the food descriptions won out and I really enjoyed it but I have not read the authors it was compared to in the blurb. It actually reminded me a bit of Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. 😉

    Your shepherd’s pie looks delicious. I was craving it after reading the description and I love your veggie version.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Deb, there were so many good food references despite it not being a foodie book. Not sure if I read Addison Alllen before but the name sounds family so I need to look,

      This veg Shepherd’s Pie is good enough for my meat eating kids! Lol, they don’t complain.


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