Monday, June 7, 2010

The China Garden by Liz Berry

The China Garden
by Liz Berry

Genre: Paranormal Romance / Fantasy / Young Adult

'Remember, I tried to stop you. Don't blame me. Remember I tried to warn you.'
Clare is chilled by her mother's warnings to stay away from Ravensmere, the large country house where her mother has taken a private nursing job. But Clare knows she has to go there - it is not a choice but a compulsion. And she only intends to stay a few weeks, anyway, just until she goes to university in the autumn. Ravensmere is a strange, enchanting place, but she grows increasingly disturbed. How come the local villagers appear to know her? Why is she having these odd visions? And who is the attractive, leather-clad stranger who is watching her? What is the power of the Benison and why must she visit the China Garden in the middle of the night? Ravensmere casts a magical spell over Clare, drawing her into a mystery that stretches back over thousands of years. She knows that Ravensmere and the valley are in danger and that time is running out - but will she risk her future to save it? The China Garden is a haunting novel of an ancient legend, family secrets and young love. A heady mixture of romance and mystery.

Basic Summary = Clare, moves out to the country to Ravensmere and leaves London and Adrian, her controlling boyfriend behind. There, she meets Mark, and falls in love with him and begins to discover the secrets behind the saying . . .
Guard Ravensmere well
Its stones and hollows,
Health and prosperity
Always doth follow.
Let Ravensmere die,
Let the land be torn open,
The end of the world
Is surely betokened.
It's a remarkably likable plot full of myth, history, mystery and a little romance. Wasn't too thrilled with the ending since it got a little too Sci-Fi'ish for my taste. The beginning was brilliant though. I thoroughly enjoyed the setting of the hidden English estate, an ancient family secret, and the cryptic way the superstitious villagers just "knew" Clare was coming to Ravensmere. I found the whole unraveling of the mother's dark past fascinating as well. Yet, I sadly found myself skipping whole pages to jump ahead in the story. It didn't capture my attention and basically the book had too many sections that just . . . dragged along and then at the end, the story picks up WAY too quickly.

Likes: The mythical vibe the countryside created.

Dislikes: The love story seemed a bit too far fetched/shallow and the fact that Clare and Mark are really cousins . . . um, ew! Too taboo to overlook that one!


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