Author: Tilly Tennant
Published: October 2019 by Bookouture
Category: Contemporary Fiction, Festive, Romance, Book Review
As the cold winter nights draw in, escape to the sleepy town of Wrenwick, where the streets sparkle with snow and a lonely young widow is about to find that true love really can strike twice…
As Christmas cheer fills Sparrow Street with excitement, grieving widow Nina is having a hard time. December is always a difficult month to face without her beloved husband Gray, the days feel long and bleak, and to cap it all, she’s just lost her job.
Nina and her good friend Robyn, both work in the local hospice’s charity shop in Wrenwick. Both their husbands were cared for there until they lost their battle with Motor Neurone Disease. Working at the shop, and her friendship with Robyn, have been Nina’s lifeline since Gray passed away, but now the shop is about to close down due to an increase in rent. Without the support and help offered by the hospice in the form of voluntary work, Nina didn’t know how she would have coped. She would probably never have met Robyn either so she had much to thank the hospice for.
When it becomes known developers want to build on the Sparrow Street community garden, Nasser, one of the residents organises a meeting. Nina ropes Robyn into attending.
He could be a tad officious and it was true that if ever there was a crisis on the street — real or otherwise — it was a pretty safe bet that he’d be getting involved somehow. He thought of himself as the street’s unelected representative in all things civic, but while some people found him irritating because of that, Nina had no issues with him at all.
Nina’s idea to transform the unloved space into a remembrance garden was met with enthusiasm and most of the neighbours pledged their support willingly. Things didn’t go quite as planned and when their first effort was trashed by vandals a landscape gardener offered his services. Colm, with his good looks and Irish charm, causes hearts to flutter.
Set in the run up to Christmas, The Garden On Sparrow Street has a wintery feel but isn’t overly festive. The community aspect is at the heart of the story and illustrates how a group of diverse neighbours who know little about each other, come to realise they are not the only ones struggling or lonely or have family problems. Everyone has issues and not all are as they seem, regardless of appearances.
The relationships are lovely, depicted well and played out realistically—Colm and his daughter, Nina and Robyn, Nina and her father—and there’s a satisfying feeling of community as the residents take the time to get to know each other.
The Garden on Sparrow Street is a character driven and engaging tale of friendships, grief, loss, moving on and new beginnings. Nina’s doubts and feelings of guilt are convincing, grief is a personal process and everyone navigates through it in their own way and at their own pace.
About the Author
Tilly Tennant was born in Dorset, the oldest of four children, but now lives in Staffordshire with a family of her own. After years of dismal and disastrous jobs, including paper plate stacking, shop girl, newspaper promotions and waitressing (she never could carry a bowl of soup without spilling a bit), she decided to indulge her passion for the written word by embarking on a degree in English and creative writing, graduating in 2009 with first class honours. She wrote her first novel in 2007 during her first summer break at university and has not stopped writing since. She also works as a freelance fiction editor, and considers herself very lucky that this enables her to read many wonderful books before the rest of the world gets them.