Review 1871: Four Gardens

Furrowed Middlebrow calls Four Gardens one of Margery Sharp’s most beloved books. At first, I thought the novel was just okay, but gradually it won me over. It’s essentially a character study of Caroline, a woman born into the Victorian era who has to learn to adapt to more modern times.

The novel begins with Caroline as a teenage girl, still in the 19th century. She comes from an ordinary middle-class family and recognizes a big divide between herself and the people she knows and the others from the Common, the area where the wealthier people live. She and her family, for example, work on the annual festival, but they are not invited to it.

In the neighborhood is a deserted house with extensive gardens. Although it is trespassing, Caroline sneaks in there and meets Vincent, an upper-class boy. During the summer, she runs off to meet him in the garden. But once he sees her with her family, he stops coming.

Beginning with this disappointing first romance, Four Gardens follows Caroline as she marries, has children, meets with a change of fortune, gets through World War I, and continues into middle age and older. She is an endearing heroine, realistically experiencing the changes of the times. It’s an affectionate and lovely novel.

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2 thoughts on “Review 1871: Four Gardens

    • whatmeread June 13, 2022 / 5:11 pm

      You’re welcome. Thanks for the books!

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