It’s been a hot minute since I read one of Paula Brackston’s novels. I have read almost all of her books though and I have loved many many many of the stories. This novel is the third in her Found Things series which I have really enjoyed thus far.
I was so excited to see that this one was coming out this month and while I tried to keep my calendar open for all the Christmas books this month, I made an exception for this one and added it to my December calendar because I simply love her books!
If you love historical fiction with some time travel and paranormal/magic then you don’t want to miss this series, or the author’s other books for that matter. I highly recommend reading this series from the beginning though because you will definitely feel lost jumping in this late in the game!
New York Times bestselling author Paula Brackston’s second novel in the Found Things series, Secrets of the Chocolate House, was called a time-swapping romance [that] will please fans of Alice Hoffman (Publishers Weekly). Now, Brackston returns to the Found Things series with a third book, The Garden of Promises and Lies.
As the bustle of the winter holidays in the Little Shop of Found Things gives way to spring, Xanthe is left to reflect on the strange events of the past year. While she’s tried to keep her time-traveling talents a secret from those close to her, she is forced to take responsibility for having inadvertently transported the dangerous Benedict Fairfax to her own time. Xanthe comes to see that she must use her skills as a Spinner if she and Flora are ever to be safe, and turns to the Spinners book for help.
It is then that a beautiful antique wedding dress sings to her. Realizing the dress and her adversary are connected in some way, she answers the call. She finds herself in Bradford-on-Avon in 1815, as if she has stepped into a Jane Austen story.
Now in Xanthe’s time, Fairfax is threatening Xanthe into helping him with his evil doings, and demonstrates all too clearly how much damage he is capable of causing. With Fairfax growing ever more powerful, Xanthe enlists the help of her boyfriend Liam, taking him back in time with her. It is a decision that might just ensure she prevails over her foe, but only by putting her life–and his–on the line. (summary from Goodreads)
The second book in the series ended on a cliff hanger and I was really looking forward to seeing what happened next in the saga, only to be let down by this one ending with yet another cliffhanger! I mean this book answered some lingering questions I had from previous books, but the ending was a bit of a surprise for me. I don’t know if this book was as strong as the others in the series, but I did still enjoy me time with the characters and of course the time travel/mystery parts.
The first part of the book starts a little slower than I would have hoped but it picked up pretty quick and I though the author did a good job orientating readers back in the story and familiarizing the readers with the characters. I had forgotten a couple of little plot points and I was glad that the author went back and covered some of the bits that readers might have forgotten. But as I said earlier, I would read this book out of sequence from the larger series.
I also loved where Xanthe and Liam went in time. I thought the author did a lovely job with the historical elements and details of the story as per usual. Brackson is a jewel in the historical fiction market, her stories are always well researched and have loads of details without being overwhelming.
Readers of the series will know that Xanthe and Liam are boyfriend/girlfriend and in this book they are posing as brother and sister. I struggled a little with their relationship in this one which I think is why I didn’t love it as much as I did the others. I was hoping for more progress or maybe more passion in their romance than I got in this book. Something about it just felt off to me this time around and I am not sure why. The only thing I could think of was that because they were posing as brother and sister, maybe it made their relationship more platonic in nature than was intended?
Overall though, this book is a good solid read and a nice installment to the saga. I am looking forward to the next book in the series. I don’t know that I loved it as much as the other books but it was good and I love the historical details and finally getting some answers about the Spinners.
Book Info and Rating
Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: December 15th 2020 by St. Martin’s Press
ISBN125007245X (ISBN13: 9781250072450)
Free review copy provided by publisher, St Martin’s Press, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 3.5 stars
Genre: historical fiction