2020 · christmas books

The Winter Garden – Heidi Swain


Book: 464 pages (paperback and eBook)

Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 1st October 2020

Book Description:

Freya Fuller is living her dream, working as a live-in gardener on a beautiful Suffolk estate. But when the owner dies, Freya finds herself forced out of her job and her home with nowhere to go. However, with luck on her side, she’s soon moving to Nightingale Square and helping to create a beautiful winter garden that will be open to the public in time for Christmas.

There’s a warm welcome from all in Nightingale Square, except from local artist Finn. No matter how hard the pair try, they just can’t get along, and working together to bring the winter garden to life quickly becomes a struggle for them both.

Will Freya and Finn be able to put their differences aside in time for Christmas? Or will the arrival of a face from Freya’s past send them all spiralling?

My Review:

First confession – I love all Heidi Swain books. 

Second confession – I love the residents of Nightingale Square.

Third confession – I know nothing about plants and gardening.

For me, it’s never a hardship to pick up and read the latest Heidi Swain’s book and when I found out that this one returned to Nightingale Square AND featured a Christmasy/Winter plot I was thrilled.

The book starts with Freya and her trusty friend Nell (easily my favourite character in the whole book) feeling a bit fed up with their current situation and looking for a sign to make a change. The sign appears and somehow Freya finds herself paying a visit to Prospect Place (I am trying really hard not to give much of the early plot away here).  This leads to a big change in Freya’s in life, much to the disapproval of her parents who are pinning their hopes on their daughter reconciling with her ex-fiance, Peter.

Freya and Nell don’t get off to the best of starts with one of Prospect Place’s newest residents, Finn, and soon they have locked horns and are falling out at every opportunity. As you might expect, there is romance, there are twists and turns and there is high drama throughout the book. I thought I had second guessed a few of the plot threads but, as usual, Heidi pulled the story a different way and gave me quite a few “didn’t see that coming” moments. The story ends on Christmas Eve and it left me feeling warm, fuzzy, craving a mince pie and feeling hopeful for Christmas this year – whatever that might look like in 2020. No matter what it does look like, as long as we have our community somehow around us, it will be ok.

It was lovely to catch up with the residents of Nightingale Square again – even though they always make me want to eat and drink lots. This book also reminded me to ‘shop local’ and support our smaller businesses as we move into the festive period (hence the link to my local indie bookshop below!)

The book made me think a little bit about my own garden over the winter months (we recently did a garden over-haul during lockdown and we only have Mediterranean plants in our garden) and it made me think back to our usual ‘start of Autumn’ family activity where we visit our own local “Winter Garden” in Abbotsbury.

(Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens Autumn Illuminations 2016)P1020961IMG_8806

This book is my first of a looooooot of Christmas reads and was perfect to start the season off. Now I just need to avoid the mince pies for a few more weeks if possible.

To buy this book follow this links below:

Gullivers Bookshop (not an affiliate, just a shameless plug for a local indie bookshop who will take orders over the phone or web and will post to you super quickly)

Amazon (affiliate link)

Waterstones (affiliate link)

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