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.
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Anthony Doerr, the award-winning writer behind the novel All The Light We Cannot See, sat down with Simon & Schuster to talk about where he got the inspiration for his World War II era novel. In the video he tells a story about how he noticed a man in front of him one day complaining about his cell reception. Doerr thought it was odd, as the stranger took for granted the gift of technology that allowed him to talk to someone far away. It was his epiphany about the miracle of technology that finally got the novelist to sit down and write a piece based on how awesome it is to be able to talk to someone using a small metal object, because “for most of the history of humanity, that was a strange idea.” Whether it’s a cell phone or a radio, Doerr ends the interview by saying that he hoped he accurately portrayed the magic of communicating with someone from a far distance and how technology has always captured our minds, even from the very beginning.
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