STARRED REVIEW
September 12, 2017

Secrets and a single wish

By Polly Horvath

With evocative language and a hugely appealing protagonist, the latest book from National Book Award winner Polly Horvath is a tantalizing tale.

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Franny knows she’s lucky. Adopted as a baby by Sina and Old Tom, she lives on a farm on Vancouver Island, overlooking the sea. The farm is awash in all sorts of gardens. Best of all, though, is the mysterious night garden where only Old Tom and a hermit who does the weeding are allowed entry.

When Franny is 12, her life takes a turn to the annoying, complex and exciting. Crying Alice—as they call the weepy woman next door—begs them to keep her three children while she goes to the military base to prevent her husband, Fixing Bob, from doing “something stupid.” Franny and her family brace themselves, fearing the children will be as emotional as their mother. Instead, Franny enjoys having part-time siblings, though their arrival comes with complications and unforeseen consequences.

A mysterious chain of letters between Zebediah, the youngest boy, and his father, hint that Fixing Bob is up to something. His job is to maintain a special military plane, with which both he and Zebediah share an obsession. With the backdrop of World War II, Bob’s secret plan becomes a threat to everyone. Meanwhile, Zebediah has learned of the night garden’s power to grant one wish—one single, irreversible wish. Will he use the garden’s magic? Watching the plot unfold is nearly as much fun as getting to know Franny herself.

With evocative language and a hugely appealing protagonist, the latest book from National Book Award winner Polly Horvath is a tantalizing tale.

 

Billie B. Little is the Founding Director of Discovery Center at Murfree Spring, a hands-on museum in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

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The Night Garden

The Night Garden

By Polly Horvath
FSG
ISBN 9780374304522

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