Review: The Night Garden by Lisa Van Allen

The Night Garden

Nestled in the bucolic town of Green Valley in upstate New York, the Pennywort farm appears ordinary, yet at its center lies something remarkable: a wild maze of colorful gardens that reaches beyond the imagination. Local legend says that a visitor can gain answers to life’s most difficult problems simply by walking through its lush corridors.

Yet the labyrinth has never helped Olivia Pennywort, the garden’s beautiful and enigmatic caretaker. She has spent her entire life on her family’s land, harboring a secret that forces her to keep everyone at arm’s length. But when her childhood best friend, Sam Van Winkle, returns to the valley, Olivia begins to question her safe, isolated world and wonders if she at last has the courage to let someone in. As she and Sam reconnect, Olivia faces a difficult question: Is the garden maze that she has nurtured all of her life a safe haven or a prison?


The Night Garden is completely different from what I normally read. I was captivated by the idea of a maze and gardens nestled on a farm in a small town as center stage for a story. The story is much more than that of course….Olivia Pennywort the caretaker of this farm is such a complex character. Sometimes I felt like I wanted to throttle her but could understand a little why she was the way she is. Not only was she complex but the story itself is. I loved the magical mystery of it and the theme of forgiveness. On top of that this is a sweet love story. This story is creative and has a fairy tale feel to it. On one more note, I will say that towards the end the book fell flat for me and I was a bit disappointed. But having said this, overall I really enjoyed reading it.

Stephanie M. Hopkins


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