The Child Garden by Catriona McPherson – Book Review

I rarely read mysteries, and this book perfectly illustrates why – I could not put it down, I had to find out where it was going and what was really happening, and so it was interfering with my home and social life.  Mysteries end up removing my free will and ability to structure my own time, and The Child Garden had me completely engrossed.

I met Catriona McPherson at the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco.  She is a lovely woman, and signed my ARC and gave me a brief rundown of the book.  It is such a treat to meet authors, and McPherson was so personable I wanted to stick around her booth for much longer.  I wish I could recall what she told me about the Child Garden, but the feeling she gave me was enough to make this one the first ARC that I picked up when I returned.  I knew it would be creepy, dark, and a bit of a puzzle.

Told in a distinct voice, by an overly reliable narrator – she strikes me as the sort of person who has always done the right thing, despite the consequences.  An avid reader who has devoted her life to her disabled son, Gloria is by chance reunited with an old classmate and quickly becomes a fugitive-hiding, murder-solving, story-debunking powerhouse, disguised as a door-to-door missionary.  This book is funny and sweet and a joy to read for anyone who’s ever been told that life is not really the way it happens in books, who loves another human being more than they ever thought possible, or who has enough time on their hands to finish a book in one sitting, because that is exactly what you’ll want to do with this one.

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