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The Victory Garden

Written by: Rhys Bowen
Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
Length: 10 hrs and 19 mins

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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of The Tuscan Child and the Her Royal Spyness series comes a beautiful, heart-rending novel of a woman’s love and sacrifice set during the First World War. The tender tale is exquisitely performed by Saskia Maarleveld, a narrator with over 325 audiobooks—including multiple AudioFile Earphones Award-winners—to her name.

As the Great War continues to take a devastating toll on the globe, Emily Bryce meets Robbie, a cheeky and handsome Australian pilot who is set to be deployed to the frontlines. After a whirlwind romance, the two fall in love and marry. After Robbie ships out, Emily volunteers as a land girl, tending to the neglected grounds of a large Devonshire estate. Not long after, however, Emily receives devastating news; Robbie has been killed in the line of duty. Grief-stricken, Emily—who has just discovered that she is pregnant—turns to an unexpected source of hope. In the pages of a long-forgotten journal from a medicine woman who devoted her life to the gardens she now tends, she finds not only comfort and solace—but perhaps a path to her destiny. 

©2019 Janet Quin-Harkin (P)2019 Audible, Inc.

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  • ellegreenland
  • 26-02-19

Not literary genius, but very sweet!

Just a sweet story with lovable characters. Bowen does a great job of researching the time period and offered interesting information on herbs and healing, as perceived by earlier generations. I loved the descriptions of the cottage and the grounds - painted a beautiful picture of a lovely place. Don't expect more than a pleasant time-passing experience and you won't be disappointed.

27 people found this helpful

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  • mary
  • 23-03-19

Ridiculously bad

I have so much enjoyed Rhys Bowen’s other novels, and this was a terrible disappointment. First, the Audible summary gave away about the first half of the novel. So, I just kept waiting for the plot I assumed was to come, to come. It was a waste of my time. Then about three different novels were packed into the second half. Everything tidied up absurdly at the end. Is this a novel about the war? Is this a novel about being an unwed mother? Is this a novel about the supernatural? About gardening? If the author had carefully crafted the book, she could have pulled it off. It can’t decide what it is and it was absolutely irritating to listen to. I kept rolling my eyes as the novel came to an end at the clichéd, hackneyed plot points. The most ridiculous was the cure for the flu—really?? Just awful. This is the first time I have listened to an audible-only novel, and will probably be the last. It felt like the author wrote a outline and then just filled in the blanks in order to satisfy a set of reader desires as quickly as possible. This was written only so that people would download it. The author didn’t care whether she crafted a good listening experience, and neither did Audible as publisher. A cynical publication. I’m very disappointed

21 people found this helpful

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  • Amy Moore
  • 19-02-19

Story was all over the place

This tale went from one story line to another and did not make sense. I kept hoping it would improve, but was disappointed. Definitely not the author’s best.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Simone
  • 20-02-19

I wish it was a series

I am a huge Rhys Bowen fan that was let down with “The Tuscan Child” so I was not sure what to expect from “The Victory Garden”.

I felt like the plot changed directions a hundred times, as if the author had too many ideas and was trying to cram a whole series worth of plots into just one book. It proves my point that to enjoy a book, especially when you are not able to suspend your disbelief and just go along with the story, you have to like the characters and in this case, I really did.

I totally would have gone along with this story as a series!

13 people found this helpful

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  • barbara
  • 22-02-19

Looking for a good historical mystery? Read this

This is a good story. I felt a little angst all the way through but I expect that from a well written mystery. That edge of your seat feeling.
The characters are well drawn. The life of women left home in England during WWI is painfully accurate but all issues are satisfactorily resolved.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Nola A. Stewart
  • 16-03-19

Love Bowen but not this story

Disappointed in the story line, it was all over the place. There were a lot of good plots that could have gone places but instead she followed them all and it was all over the place. I’m a Rhys Bowen fan but not this book.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Cherie
  • 23-02-19

Rhys does it again!

I always enjoy Ms Bowen’s books, and this is no exception. Quite lively. I really liked the peek into the life of land girls. Life was very hard for all women during WW I and people from all classes were touched by the devastation. This book gently leads us through some tough experiences that many women faced at this time.

5 people found this helpful

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  • C. Byrne
  • 02-06-19

Not one of her best.

Far too romantic for me without the humour of her Royal Highness. just not enough of a story to make it interesting

4 people found this helpful

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  • Mary Dietrich
  • 19-02-19

Harmless and predictable

Certainly an easy listen; however, every bit of the plot was predictable. No surprises. And, really, no reason to care about any of the characters beyond a casual acquaintance. the narration saved it.

6 people found this helpful

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  • alyssa
  • 17-02-19

Lovely WW1 Story

narrated eloquently. Sweetly written , a journey that showcases the strength of the female bond, resourcefulness out of necessity and the plight of women and men during WW1. I enjoyed the herb garden buts immensely.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Austen
  • 22-02-19

Brilliant

Brilliant book, did not see the twist in the ending coming. Interesting tale of the plight of the main characters and how they overcame it in their own right in a soft way rather than an angry one in an era where girls were viewed as chattels by men! High praise for the gentle, soft way in which Rhys Bowen handled this storyline. Will definitely buy more of her books. The narrator Saskia Maarleveld on the audible version was excellent and will look out for more of her narrations on Audible books. Recommended.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Jehanna
  • 19-05-19

Lovely easy listen

I have enjoyed all Rhys Bowen's stories and this one was no different. Very light and easy to listen to with a decent knowledge of history. Samaria Maarleveld is a wonderful narrator for this story with a very good ear for accents and even a fairly convincing Irish accent that is usually the Waterloo of so many narrators. Her reading was very convincing and made the story flow well.

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  • Katenka
  • 30-08-19

Great read

I enjoyed this book and found the glimpses of life during the war very realistic . The storyline was really good and I enjoyed how the women stuck by each other. The narration was excellent.

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  • Patricia Sloan
  • 15-02-19

A Beautiful Love Story.

The Victory Garden is an exciting book, it pulls at the heartstrings, the story line is excellent, and the readers performance the same.