Set in 1941, The Lost Garden is a beautifully written story about a thirty-five-year-old English woman who volunteers for the Women's Land Army, an organization devoted to growing crops for the war effort. Gwen Davis, who works for the Royal Horticultural Society in London, travels to a country estate in Devon to oversee a group of girls who will be planting potatoes. Gwen does not have many close friends and prefers the company of plants to people. But during her stay at Mosel, she forms a close friendship with one of the girls and also falls in love with a Canadian officer who is temporarily billeted there with his men. Gwen remains at Mosel after the war to be head gardener for the owners of the estate. She considers Mosel her home now because "home is the place where we've felt the most." Gwen's self-discovery is at the heart of the story. When she first arrives at Mosel, she feels uncomfortable in her authoritarian role. She thinks to herself "Nothing is going well. No one ever likes me. I'm not good with people. I've been too isolated most of my life. I don't know how to get on with others." But by the end of the story, she has experienced deep friendship, rapport with the girls that she supervised and romantic love. I would recommend this title to someone who is interested in gardening and women's fiction.
Oak Park Library is currently closed and will re-open on Monday, Dec. 18 at 9 a.m.