The Italian Garden by Charlotte Betts

I have long enjoyed reading Charlotte Betts’ novels. They are all beautifully written and quite magical historical stories, deftly plotted and peopled with heroines you’ll love. Once you start reading one, you will not want to put the book down. Her latest book, published yesterday is, of course,  no exception. The Italian Garden is simply exquisite. It tells the story of a young World War I widow who loves gardening and who recovers a lost garden on an estate over-looking Lake Como. She also discovers the mystery underlying Flora’s disappearance in 1862.

The Blurb

Lake Como, 1919.

The garden of Villa Marchese was once a sight to behold. Now, overgrown and unloved, the flowers that once bloomed are nothing but a reminder of the tragic events of Flora Marchese’s death.

When horticulturist Violet Honeywell is commissioned to restore the once exquisite garden, she immediately accepts and sets off on a life-changing adventure.

Violet instantly becomes enchanted by the Italian way of life, and under the beguiling warmth of the Bellagio sun, she falls in love with a man who can never truly be hers – Flora’s grandson.

But when a discovery at the Lake uncovers buried truths that have haunted the family for decades, Violet starts to delve deeper into the dark secrets of their past, and she quickly begins to realise that not everything in the Marchese family is what it seems . . .

Just a taster, First Lines from The Italian Garden:

Villa Marchesi, Bellagio, Lake Como 1862

There was the merest sliver of grey light between the shutters when Flora slipped out of her bed. She tiptoed across the rug and glanced through the half-open door into Umberto’s dressing room. He lay facing her, his clenched fist resting on the pillow. Even in her sleep, her husband still looked angry. Shivering in her nightgown, she turned away.

The floorboards creaked and she froze, her heartbeat thudding in her ears but he didn’t stir and after what felt like an eternity, she edged towards the other door. The handle turned noiselessly and then she was creeping barefoot along the landing. The oil lamp on the high shelf in the nursery was turned low to avert Isabella’s night terrors and Flora leaned over to kiss her daughter’s cheek. ‘I love you more than life itself,’ she murmured, breathing in the sweet scent of her child’s skin, ‘but I cannot endure any longer. If there was any other way …’ Isabella slept on, her copper curls fanned out over the pillow.

Flora’s face crumpled with the effort of holding back tears but then a sound came from the corner of the nursery. Her breath lodged in her throat but there was only the baby whimpering in his cradle…….

Charlotte Betts is an award winning author who lives in Windsor. A daydreamer and a bookworm, she enjoyed careers in fashion, interior design and property before discovering her passion for writing historical novels.

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To purchase The Italian Garden on Amazon follow the link. Also available in your bookshop.

Charlotte’s own love of gardens shines out through this novel. I think it her best yet and they are all excellent.



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