Escape the Ghosts of War in Deborah Lawrenson’s “The Sea Garden”
Deborah Lawrenson’s three novellas The Sea Garden, The Lavender Field, and A Shadow Life are three interlocking tales that weave into one glorious tapestry that allows readers to fully understand how people were scarred by the events of World War II.
The first novella revolves around a British landscape designer named Ellie Brooke, who is hired to restore an old memorial garden but is obstructed by an elderly woman determined to stop her. She teams up with a mysterious historian to discover the garden’s secrets, and her adventures wind up tying into the second and third novellas, one that follows the adventures of a young blind woman who joins up with a Resistance cell in Provence, and another about a British intelligence officer who is trying to figure out what happened to her French agent lover.
Each story weaves in a thrilling plot of love, loss, and the emotional scarring from World War II. However, even though the war mentally maimed the two main characters in The Lavender Field and A Shadow Life, both women manage to rise from being ordinary people and turn into courageous heroes that fight with the Allied troops. There’s also an interesting supernatural element as well—the memorial garden is rumored to be haunted and these spectral visitors serve as a stark reminder that you can’t ignore or run from the past.
The novellas examine how circumstances shape our lives and provoke the question: what would these characters be like if their story hadn’t been marred by war?