Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Sea Garden by Sam Llewellyn

Title: The Sea Garden
Author: Sam Llewellyn
ISBN: 0-7472-7373-1, Headline Book Publishing, 1999
Genre: Romantic Suspense, Amateur Sleuth
Rating: B+

First Line: Revel the weeder was digging where the terrace wall had collapsed by the Sea Garden at Trelise.

Victoria, a young American, and Guy, a young Englishman, meet, fall in love and get married. Shortly thereafter Guy inherits the family estate on condition that he and Victoria change their surname to Blakeney-Jones. They move to Trelise, a fictitious one of the Isles of Scilly off the coast of Cornwall in England.

Trelise was bought by Joshua Jones in the 1840s, and the herbalist spent the rest of his life turning the island into a garden. Now the gardens are overgrown, and Guy has the idea of filming their restoration and making a television series. When bones are discovered in the section currently under renovation, they're dismissed as having belonged to a centuries-dead monk. Victoria doesn't believe this and begins to research the history of Trelise, going through diaries, letters, invoices and other documents stored in the mansion. As she pieces together the generations, Victoria finds deceit and death handed down over the decades-- enough of it to put her own life in danger.

I really enjoyed this book. Llewellyn is a native of the Isles of Scilly, and he brings them to life on the page. The convoluted history of the owners of Trelise from past to present was compelling, and it was interesting to see how Victoria's own strengths and weaknesses played a part in her deductions and conclusions.

If you're a fan of exotic settings and family histories with more twists and turns than a basket of cobras, you should enjoy The Sea Garden. I will definitely be taking a look at the other books Llewellyn has written.

[Source: Paperback Swap.]


  1. I bought this in a library sale months ago and I didn't have a clue what it was about. Sounds brilliant.

  2. Great cover! I love garden aspect, and I'm always a sucker for old diaries and documents. This one sounds like a winner!

  3. Ditto what Jenclair said! I hadn't heard of this author before, but I'll definitely keep an eye out for this one!

  4. If I were to read romance, I suspect this would be the way I would enjoy it. More twists and turns than a basket of cobras sounds quite intense!

  5. Not often I can chime in with an author I know! I read most of Sam Llewellyn's sailing thrillers in my pre-blogging, carefree reading days. I really enjoyed them as rattling good yarns. To me, he did for sailing what Dick Francis did for horse racing, or Gerald Hammond did for shooting - used a world he knew as a believable backdrop for crime.

  6. And should I feel like reading romance, I definitely think I would like suspenseful romance better than "just" romance. Great post.

  7. Vivienne-- It is very good. I'll be looking for other books he's written!

    Jenclair-- I enjoyed the garden and old documents angles, too.

    Avis-- I found my copy on Paperback Swap, if you're a member. Happy hunting!

    Kathy-- There's not all that much romance in it, or I wouldn't've read it! :)

    Susan-- An excellent recommendation. Thank you! I will be on the lookout for other books he's written.

    Louise-- There's a lot more suspense than there is romance in this one, which suits me right down to the ground.

  8. This cover got my attention! Sounds like a good one.

  9. Stacy-- It is, and I like the cover, too!


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