What would you do if someone came into your life, presented you a gardening journal and claimed it was linked to a socialite who went missing in the 1940’s? What if this very journal held information or clues to what might have happened to someone close to you? As you enter the pages of the journal and get to know Julia you along with Lily will wonder just why this young lady changed in so many ways. Plants were her allure as they are to Lily McGuire a landscape architect whose love for the outdoors is quite replete and exciting. But, as you read Julia’s diary and get to know her you will wonder why her friendship with Mary changed, who the man they competed for was and why she was determined to do anything to get him for herself. Jealousies are high and Julia’s mode of revenge you just won’t believe. As Lily reads through the night and is so spellbound by her words we learn her method for keeping track of the plants, the fact that many were toxic and her primary goal.
Lily has been hired to restore the Norton-Grace Gardens, which once belonged to Julia’s family and is now owned by the Historical Society. But, Lily is smart and Jack Chapman an electrical engineer and co-worker equally as smart and what they uncover takes them back to Julia’s past and the man she and Mary both wanted. Added in we learn more about her marriage to Pete, her son Ben’s graduation and her relationship with her parents. This plot takes on many different directions as we learn more about Julia, her love for plants, the type of plants she wanted in her garden, and just who Evan really is and why he brought Julia the diary and did Macy really die of a heart attack?
Winston-Salem, North Carolina is the setting and the scenery is so well described you feel like you are there along with Lily and Jack. Creating the new landscape for this grand old mansion’s garden and trying to recapture what is was before, will take Lily deep inside her own past, inside the pages of the diary hoping to find the clues that will lead to what really happened to Julia. Just what will she find and how dangerous is this? Can she trust this man and what happens when the whole story is revealed? In Julia’s Garden: A Lily McGuire Mystery by author Laura Wharton: Dare you enter!
The scene with her ex-husband and his girlfriend is hilarious and Lily’s reaction priceless as she and her son Ben bond before he takes off in his boat on his own adventure and starts a new chapter in his life.
When you hear Evan’s story and learn the secret that he has been carrying around for so many years you will understand what happened at a special party, what he did for Julia and the unusual request he has of Lily. Piecing the clues together what she learns will astound readers and give you much pause for thought. Does he reveal what she learned? What really happened to Macy and the research into these plants is quite interesting as we understand what Evan did and why?
A man so obsessed with someone that he refused to see the underlying truth. Just what really happened the day Julia disappeared? What role did Evan play and why did he bring Lily the journal? Added in we meet Simon who is courting her assistant and learning more about him just might bring danger to Lily as she and Jack take a tour of the gardens she is supposed to restore.
Lives were changed and the truth behind what Julia did at a party must never be revealed. Trying to make sure that she and Evan had time together Mary gives her drink to another and what happens leads to Julia and Evan having to disappear. Plants can be toxic and at times touching certain ones can be deadly or lethal. But, Julia and Evan managed to survive and what they planned is right out of an Agatha Christie murder mystery.
Reading the diary and learning what was in the final pages sparked something that her nieces told her about plants and numbers. A special present that Evan gave to Julia and that has remained somewhere in the gardens and not been found. Just where is it and who wants it and why? Why is Simon so hateful of Evan? Just what was Mary’s relationship to Julia and who does he finally wind up with and why? A tragic love story that has an unusual ending that some might wonder why Lily chose to ignore what really happened and why there is more to come as Lily and Jack solve more than one mystery and just might solve another: Their romance if given a chance.
The diary expresses a young girl’s vision as she tells about her love for one man and she explains her worries about another trying to take him from her. But, her understanding of the garden, her clues to where something special was hidden and the end result for both her and someone else is heartfelt. Read Julia’s diary and enter her world. Try and understand what she did. Try and understand why Lily would not reveal the truth to anyone and allowed her secret to remain a secret. Read Chapter 9 and visualize the garden, the fruit, the plants and the amazing greenery as author Laura Wharton takes you on a journey back in time before the internet, before cell phones and before love became so complicated. See the gardens before and see them now as they are no longer replete in the plants that made them special and learn why Lily wanted to restore them, why and the sad ending that will bring tears to your eyes, understanding to your heart as Jack and Lily uncover the truth and they have to decide whether to allow Julia’s diary destroy many lives or allow it to tear many apart. So, is Jack her type? Only the author knows for sure and she will have to bring Lily back with Jack for us to find out.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine