I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Midnight Ink on September 8th 2015
Genres: Crime, Mystery
Eden was its name. "An alternative school for happy children." But it closed in disgrace after a student's suicide. Now it's a care home, its grounds neglected and overgrown. Gloria Harkness is its only neighbor, staying close to her son who lives there in the home, lighting up her life and breaking her heart each day.Amazon •
When a childhood friend turns up at her door, Gloria doesn't hesitate before asking him in. He claims a girl from Eden is stalking him and has goaded him into meeting her at the site of the suicide. Only then, the dead begin to speak—it was murder, they say.
Gloria is in over her head before she can help it. Her loneliness, her loyalty, and her all-consuming love for her son lead her into the heart of a dark secret that threatens everything she lives for.
Mature-Content Rating: Language, Violence, Mention of Drug Use
“Gloria, you’re doing it again,” he said. “This isn’t one of your books. This is the real world. Large as life. Plain as day.” I get sick of the way people patronize me.
Gloria Harkness is a single mother that lives alone near a care home where her special needs son resides. She has dedicated herself to her son- costing all her relationships to crumble around her. She’s very much a bookworm and keeps a pretty strict routine. But when Stig Tarrant, an old friend from Gloria’s primary school days, appears with strange stories that threatens the care home Gloria is quick to throw herself into the middle of the growing mystery.
Stig Tarrant was one of the twelve kids attending the school-turned-care-home at the time of the incident involving a dead student. April Cowan, another one of the school’s students, had called him out but he ran into Gloria instead. When things get choppy he’s the person Gloria relies on for information on that fateful night at the school.
Miss Drumm is a stubborn old lady who owns the house Gloria lives in as a house sitter. She lives in the care home in the room next to Gloria’s son and was living in the house when the disaster hit the school. She often talks to Gloria about the “rocking stone” in her backyard that must be rocked 12 times in the morning and night to keep the devil at bay, devil bridges that demand souls to be crossed, and sacred places. As the story proceeds, the characters and reader start wondering if some of her old Scottish legends hold true.
One thing to always remember is if 12 people are a witness to the same car accident, guess what? You’ll have 12 completely different stories of what happened. That is kind of how this story line goes. The kids are different ages in the school but 11-12ish years old at the time of the accident. To figure out what really happened that night Gloria has to sort through multiple stories, new lies, old lies, and her own conflicting thoughts.
What really brought out the story was keeping Gloria’s son in the forefront of her mind and really relaying the hardships of a single mother with a special needs child and the mental/physical struggles they go through WHILE a completely different story of mystery was going on. It really added to both Gloria and Stig’s character development and eventually to the development of the story.
Overall, The Child Garden is a delightful mystery full of myth, legend, and murder. I recommend to anyone who is a fan of murder mysteries or myths.