The Mermaid Garden

The Mermaid Garden

5.0 1
by Santa Montefiore
     
 

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Ten-year-old Floriana is captivated by the magnificent Tuscan villa just outside her small village. She likes to spy into the gardens and imagine that one day she'll live there. When Dante, the son of the villa's powerful owner, invites her inside and shows her the enchanting Mermaid Garden, she knows that her destiny is there, with Dante. But as they grow up,

Overview

Ten-year-old Floriana is captivated by the magnificent Tuscan villa just outside her small village. She likes to spy into the gardens and imagine that one day she'll live there. When Dante, the son of the villa's powerful owner, invites her inside and shows her the enchanting Mermaid Garden, she knows that her destiny is there, with Dante. But as they grow up, their romance jeopardizes everything they hold most dear. Decades later and hundreds of miles away, a beautiful old country hotel on England's Devon coast has fallen on hard times, and its owner, Marina, advertises for an artist to stay the summer. The man she hires begins to transform the fortunes of the hotel, and her family, but why is he really there?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Rosalyn Landor's gentle voice and flowing delivery accentuate the lush romanticism of this tale...Landor's subtle accents help bring the foreign settings to life, and her characters are both realistic and likable." - AudioFile

"Two stories, two generations, and two beautiful European locales are neatly gift-wrapped into one sumptuous tale of love, loss, and redemption...Luxurious and romantic depictions of scenic Tuscany and the beautiful English coast." - Publishers Weekly

"An absorbing plot. It is to the author’s credit that she manages to prolong the puzzle until the not-so-bitter end." - Kirkus Reviews

"...Montefiore excels at juxtaposing the opulent with the ordinary in delicately woven tales that seamlessly traverse borders and span decades." - Booklist

"Montefiore has written another lovely fairy tale for grown-ups, intertwining two stories separated by time and place. Fans of women's fiction will be moved by the characters and eager to find out what happens to them." - Library Journal

"...a rich tale...will enchant those who read it." - The Examiner

"...spellbinding tale...Montefiore, a consummate storyteller, has a magical way of pulling her readers into her beautiful worlds where love triumphs...[an] intriguing and uplifting tale." - Las Vegas Review-Journal

"Santa Montefiore's charming, romantic novel...very real and believable characters...The icing on this delicious cake is the narration...Her sophisticated reading brings a touch of Hitchcock's suspense in To Catch a Thief and another touch of du Maurier's romance in Rebecca. Landor's characters breathe, Montefiore's descriptions glisten, and listeners...will not be able to turn this off until the end. Highly recommended as the best way to travel or to get away from everything these days." - SoundCommentary.com

"The Mermaid Garden has it all: secrets, mystery, passionate love affairs fueled by drama and determined by fate, and the grace notes of fairytales - evil stepmothers, cranky stepdaughters, and redemption in the wake of understanding in the hands of the great painter Rafa Santoro. Santa Montefiore is a wonder, you will not be able to put this novel down. Unforgettable!" - Adriana Trigiani, author of Brava, Valentine

Publishers Weekly
Two stories, two generations, and two beautiful European locales are neatly gift-wrapped into one sumptuous tale of love, loss, and redemption. In 1966, feisty 10-year-old Floriana Farussi, abandoned by her mother to the custody of an alcoholic father, falls madly in love with teenage Dante Bonfanti, heir to a wealthy Tuscan family. The young man is beguiled by Floriana's spunk and indomitable spirit, and eventually they realize theirs is a bond forged in heaven. In 2009, Marina and Grey Turner struggle to keep their tiny Devon hotel afloat by hiring an Argentine painter to instruct their guests. The gallant Rafa Santori promptly falls for Grey's beautiful and obstreperous daughter, Clementine. But happy endings will not come easily to these young couples as secrets, subterfuge, and stubbornness threaten their love at every turn. Montefiore's plot lacks surprises, but her prose more than compensates with luxurious and romantic depictions of scenic Tuscany and the beautiful English coast. (May)
Library Journal
Marina Turner is advertising for an artist in residence to spend the summer teaching residents of her Devon country house hotel how to paint. Desperate to attract enough guests to Hotel Polzanze to stave off financial disaster, she is thrilled when talented and handsome Rafa Santoro turns up. Sure enough, people flock to the charming painter, including Marina's miserable stepdaughter, Clementine. But Rafa has a hidden agenda, Marina has secrets, and Clementine seems unable to let go of past hurts. It is a testament to Montefiore's talent as a writer that the initially very unpleasant Clementine becomes more likable as the novel progresses and that change is convincingly shown to come about when Clementine finally allows herself to be happy. VERDICT Montefiore (The French Gardener) has written another lovely fairy tale for grown-ups, intertwining two stories separated by time and place. Fans of women's fiction will be moved by the characters and eager to find out what happens to them. Lush descriptions of gardens in Tuscany and Devon add to the novel's charm, and the beautiful cover is sure to attract the eye.—Elizabeth Mellett, Brookline P.L., MA
Kirkus Reviews

An Englishwoman with a mysterious past struggles to hold on to a country hotel.

In 1966, Floriana, a girl from a tiny Tuscan village, discovers a walled garden and an attached villa belonging to a wealthy industrialist, Beppe, who allegedly has Mafia connections. Scaling the wall, Floriana is soon befriended by Beppe's son, Dante, and the family dog, Good-Night. Cut to 2009: Marina, who with her husband Grey and a few loyal retainers transformed a Devonshire mansion into the charmingly rustic Hotel Polzanze, fears that mounting debt may force them to sell the place. Grey's adult children, Jake and Clementine, have never warmed to Marina since she broke up their father's first marriage when they were youngsters. Clementine in particular has been in a sulk since family finances forced her to return from travels in India to take a dull office job. Egged on by her officemate Sylvia, she dates a lager lout she doesn't really care for. But when handsome Rafa, an Italian-Argentinean painter, arrives at Polzanze to give art lessons to elderly guests, Clementine is utterly entranced. By 1971, Floriana has grown into a beautiful young woman, and when Dante returns from his college studies he vows eternal love. However, Beppe will never approve of his heir-apparent's marriage to a lower-class girl whose father is the town drunk; instead he pressures Dante to court Costanza, daughter of an impoverished count. But when Dante and Floriana have an ill-advised tryst, her resulting pregnancy will create an embarrassment that Beppe must eliminate in the traditional Mafia way. The British and Tuscan narratives alternate, leaving readers to wonder how, exactly, they intersect. Aside from the obvious clues—Marina is so secretive her stepchildren call her "Submarine," and Rafa did not come to Polzanze by chance, but by design—it is to the author's credit that she manages to prolong the puzzle until the not-so-bitter end.

An absorbing plot conveyed in woefully clichéd language: Montefiore's hearts are always swelling, filling or leaping.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781611202298
Publisher:
Dreamscape Media
Publication date:
05/31/2011
Edition description:
Unabridged
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 5.50(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Santa Montefiore's novels have been translated into twenty languages and have sold more than three million copies in England and Europe. She studied  Spanish and Italian at Exeter University. She lives in London with her husband, historian Simon Sebag-Montefiore, and their two children, Lily and Sasha.

READER BIO

Rosalyn Landor has worked as an actress since the age of seven, both in Europe and the United States. Her extensive list of credits includes leading roles on PBS's Masterpiece Theater, miniseries on all major networks, films, theater, and audio productions. She has received an Audie Award and several AudioFile Earphones Awards, and was chosen by AudioFile magazine as a Best Voice of 2009.

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Mermaid Garden 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1966 in Tuscany, her mother dumps ten year old Floriana Farussi on her alcoholic father before leaving. Floriana falls in love with teenage Dante Bonfanti. He is amused by her élan for life. However as they grow up, each knows they are soulmates. In 2009 in Devon, Marina and Grey Turner fear they will lose their Hotel Polzanze. They hire Argentine painter Rafa Santori to provide lessons to their guests. This proves successfully until Grey's miserable daughter Clementine arrives to the chagrin of her stepmother who knows her husband's offspring mantra is misery loves miserable people. However, everyone has issues, which makes it unlikely that the artist and the daughter will connect in spite of being in love. These two tales of young people in love at two locales over four decades apart deftly comingle into a cohesive entertaining story. Although straightforward in both eras, readers will feel they are walking the gardens of Tuscany and Devon accompanying the fully developed casts from both periods; as Santa Montefiore provides a wonderful warm character study of paradise found, lost and regained. Harriet Klausner