The Secret Garden of Yanagi Inn

Cover has an image of a cranes flying over a Japanese garden
Amber Logan
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Sep 30, 2022

We all have secrets, but some people are better at hiding them. Mari learns this firsthand when she accepts an offer to professionally photograph Yanagi Inn in Kyoto, Japan. She grew up in Japan before her parents split up and her mother moved Mari and her sister to the United States. Upon her return, she adjusts to the familiar culture of her childhood and initially enjoys exploring the grounds of the inn, especially photographing the overgrown garden. However, supernatural elements soon reveal secrets from the inn's history that touch upon her own past.

I loved the atmospheric descriptions. I was really transported to the grounds of Yanagi Inn! I would describe the writing as tender and eerily and beautiful. Mari is a fantastic character; I was completely consumed by her story and I was rooting her on while she uncovered mysteries that no longer wanted to be buried. While the title references The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgeson Burnett, I would say the most significant similarity between the two is the way both books enchant the reader. If you like books with any of these elements: Japan, a touch of the supernatural, complex family dynamics especially between mothers and daughters, and/or books that pair well with a cozy cup of tea; then this is the book for you!

Reviewed by Jesseca B.
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