BookBrowse Reviews The Savage Garden by Mark Mills

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Savage Garden

by Mark Mills

The Savage Garden by Mark Mills
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2007, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2008, 352 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A novel of two murders, four hundred years apart - and the ties that bind them together, set in the Tuscan hills

Like many of its ilk The Savage Garden combines two mysteries in one, one ancient and one modern. It's late Spring 1958; Adam Banting, an intelligent but callow history of art student, has yet to choose a thesis subject for his final exam the following year, so is delighted to take up his professor's suggestion that he spend part of his summer researching a Renaissance villa in Tuscany, which can then form the basis of his thesis. Shortly after, Adam sets off for a summer that (we know from the prologue) will change him forever.

Mills embroiders themes of passion, survival and divided family loyalties into a plot as deft and as civilized as the setting. The Savage Garden is easily on a par with other recent high brow literary thrillers such as The Historian and The Book of Air and Shadows, and a cut above the likes of The Rule of Four. Long periods of slow intellectual discovery and background setting are countered by some decent action late in the game and the occasional, not too explicit, sexual encounter.

The only significant misstep, from this reviewer's point of view, is the little joke that Mills plays with the reader by opening the first pages of The Savage Garden with an entirely different story to the one that follows. The reader soon discovers that he or she has been reading the opening lines from the novel that Adam's soon to be ex-girlfriend is writing. The only catch is that this reviewer found herself hooked by this lightweight but intriguing tale of inebriated vicars, village fêtes, giant marrows and espionage, and thus found the first few chapters of the main story a little slow-going until the plot built up steam!

This review was originally published in May 2007, and has been updated for the May 2008 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.



This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Midwinter Break
    Midwinter Break
    by Bernard MacLaverty
    Northern Ireland's Bernard MacLaverty is the author of five novels and multiple short story ...
  • Book Jacket: The Ninth Hour
    The Ninth Hour
    by Alice McDermott
    In a pivotal scene in The Ninth Hour, young Sally encounters an increasingly loathsome series of ...
  • Book Jacket: Rebellion
    Rebellion
    by Molly Patterson
    Rebellion overlays the stories of four women, spanning a century and the globe in their wide ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

An eye-opening and riveting look at how how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Love and Other Consolation Prizes
    by Jamie Ford

    Inspired by a true story, about a boy whose life is transformed at Seattle's epic 1909 World's Fair.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Twelve-Mile Straight
    by Eleanor Henderson

    An audacious epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win If the Creek Don't Rise

If the Creek Don't Rise

A debut novel bursting with heart, honesty, and homegrown grit.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y Can't M A S P O O A S E

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.