Author: Santa Montefiore
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: May 2011
Genre: Adult Fiction
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Synopsis can be found here.
Two story lines weave effortlessly back and forth in this romantic novel about England, Italy and young love.
In Italy, local girl Floriana falls in love with handsome Dante. As the years go by and their relationship grows, so does the the gap between their classes. Dante's family is rich, and expected to marry well while Floriana is on her own, with a drunk selfish father. Their journey to sustain true love with test them.
In England, Mariana and her husband Grey are struggling to make ends meet. Their hotel is on the verge of collapse, but a handsome artist shows up at their door. But who is he really? The burglar that's going around town? Or someone else?
The two stories do not connect until the very end and it was maddening to go back and forth between the two story lines. Many times the chapter would end and I would sigh wishing I was still in that scene a little longer. That is good writing.
Marina is a sympathetic character, positive, tough and always looking ahead for the best. She is a well rounded character- I could see her pacing back and forth along the sand. She is someone to root for. Her husband Grey is a solid and understanding partner, but I felt like he was a little under developed. When all is revealed at the end, I felt like I should have a better sense of Grey and his love for Marina. His daughter from a previous marriage, Clementine is the only character I greatly disliked in the book. Even at the end after having gone through her long journey, I still felt unsatisfied. She has such great loathing of her stepmother Marina at the beginning of the novel. As the story moves on, her feelings begin to shift. But to me, this change seemed superficial and Clementine was too much of a supreme brat for me to enjoy her ending.
I listened to the audiobook, read by Rosalyn Landor, who is one of my favorite narrators. I highly suggest the audiobook.
Overall, I enjoyed The Mermaid Garden. Without giving anything away, the ending tied up well, but it wasn't exactly what I hoped would happen.
Rating 7, Pretty Good Would Recommend