The Garden by Gillian Linscott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this book. Despite the title it isn't just about gardening! The garden sets the scene and is the thread that runs through the story, which progresses from 1907 to 2001, via pre-war Herefordshire, WW1, the anger of the post-war pit lockouts in the Rhondda and the struggle of the miners for decent wages. In between there is love, sorrow, passion and hatred. The early parts where the garden is being created I found fascinating, seeing how the planting was laid out to create illusions and effects - I might try some ideas on a much smaller scale in my own jungle, sorry, garden! The politics of the pit lockouts, as the mines were returned to private ownership after wartime government control, show the depths of hardship faced by the colliers, seeing armed soldiers at the pit gates, hearing the Riot Act read as they try to prevent the use of blackleg labour, fighting for their jobs and their families' futures. (Who would have thought that similar scenes would recur in the 1980s?!)
My only criticism of the book, and it's why it's only getting a 4 star not a 5 star rating, is the number of silly mistakes throughout the book, e.g. countless instances of "bur" instead of "but": the letter "r" seems especially problematical as it appears in many places where there should be the letter "t", the same applies where "m" appears instead of "in". Other silly spelling errors also appear, and these should have been picked up by the proofreader.
However, it's a great story and well-worth reading, if you can manage to ignore the errors!
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