Garden of Stars by Rose Alexander was a beautifully poignant, richly-told story of love and loss. This is a beautifully written book about Sarah, a journalist with 2 young children, stuck in a boring marriage.. When the chance comes for her to return to Portugal, home of her younger days and full of excitement and wonderful memories, she takes it. This is the story of her journey, and decisions, interspersed with that of her Great Aunt who went through her own emotional journeys many years earlier, and told by entries in her diary.
In Rose Alexander’s Garden of Stars, readers are introduced to Sarah Lacey. As the story begins, Sarah is offered a commission in which she is to travel to Portugal, in order to capture a 5,000 word story surrounding cork, and its journey from tree to bottle. Seeking advice from her Great Aunt Ines who grew up and lived in the area, Sarah is surprised when she is handed an old journal, detailing Ines’s early life in Portugal. Unsure as to why she’s been given the journal, Sarah takes it with her as she heads back to the place she left so long ago, curious about what lies within. Little does she know, the past is about to rear it’s head in the most surprising of ways.
Rose Alexander’s descriptions were the first thing that struck me while reading this story. There was so much depth to this tale, and I felt the pages were full of culture not to be missed. It was a real joy to read, to soak it all up and imagine myself in Sarah’s shoes. Ines’s too!
Things really took an interesting turn when Ines’s journal began to be read by Sarah. It was such a glorious step back in time, and learning of Ines’s early life in Portugal had a certain dreamy quality to it that rubbed off on me completely. Readers learn of Ines’s life after marriage and how things begin to change after time. It was bitter-sweet at times, but struck at my heart in the most moving of ways, leaving me close to tears numerous times. As Sarah continued to dip into Ines’s journey throughout the progression of the novel, the similarities between the two women began to become clear to me.
Garden of Stars by Rose Alexander warmed me inside out. The setting of Portugal has never felt so alive to me until now, and the richness of Alexander’s writing truly brought the place to life. The characters were wholesome and likeable, and centred around Ines’s journal, swinging between the past and the present, I felt incredibly close to this story and the emotions wrapped within it.
I received this ARC from Carina UK and Carina via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.