Posted By trish on June 24, 2012
• Paperback: 384 pages
• Publisher: Harlequin MIRA (August 28, 2012)
The Unfinished Garden is a love story about grief, OCD, and dirt, set in the forests of North Carolina and the woodland gardens of Southern England.
James Nealy is haunted by irrational fears, inescapable compulsions. A successful software developer, he’s thrown himself into a new goal—to finally conquer the noise in his mind. And he has a plan. He’ll confront his darkest fears and build something beautiful: a garden. When he meets Tilly Silverberg, he knows she holds the key…even if she doesn’t think so.
After her husband’s death, gardening became Tilly’s livelihood and her salvation. Her thriving North Carolina business and her young son, Isaac, are the excuses she needs to hide from the world. So when oddly attractive, incredibly tenacious James speeds into her life, demanding she take him on as a client, her answer is a flat no.
When a family emergency lures Tilly back to England, she’s secretly glad. With Isaac in tow, she retreats to her childhood village, which has always stayed obligingly the same. Until now. Her best friend is keeping secrets; her mother is plotting; her first love is unexpectedly, temptingly available. And then James appears on her doorstep.
Away from home, James and Tilly forge an unlikely bond, tenuous at first but taking root with every day. And as they work to build a garden together, something begins to blossom between them—despite all the reasons against it.
Barbara Claypole White grew up in the English village of Turvey with big dreams of becoming a novelist. After a detour through women’s and medieval history at York University, she landed a job promoting London fashion. She was part of the first British Designer Show, measured celebrities in their underwear, and worked for the queen of the international rag trade, Dame Vivienne Westwood.
One day her boss sent her to New York, and she fell in love with an American professor who followed her around JFK Airport. Eighteen months later she was a faculty spouse, freelance writer, and marketing director in Champaign, Illinois, a small Midwest college town. She also started writing her first novel—a love story set against the world of eighties fashion and AIDS.
Five years passed; then Barbara learned she was pregnant, and her husband was offered a distinguished professorship at UNC Chapel Hill. The family moved to the North Carolina forest, and Barbara became a stay-at-home mom and a woodland gardener—factors that would shape her writing voice. She returned to her manuscript, took evening classes in writing at the local arts center, and slammed into another detour: her young son developed obsessive-compulsive disorder.
From that moment, fascination with mental illness framed her life. She ditched her first novel and began writing Dogwood Days, which turned into The Unfinished Garden. She also joined a nonfiction project for parents of children with invisible disabilities and blogs through the highs and lows of OCD at www.easytolovebut.com. (Her son is now an award-winning teen poet.)
Barbara is consistently drawn to the theme that people who need each other find each other, and is hard at work on her next novel…when she’s not gardening.
Connect with Barbara at her website.
Barbara’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, August 28th: Kritters Ramblings
Tuesday, September 4th: Book Journey
Tuesday, September 11th: Get Busy Gardening!
Wednesday, September 12th: Gerbera Daisy Diaries
Friday, September 14th: BookNAround
Saturday, September 15th: My Bookshelf
Monday, September 17th: StephTheBookworm
Tuesday, September 18th: Library of Clean Reads
Wednesday, September 19th: Lelo in Nopo
Thursday, September 20th: Chiot’s Run
Monday, September 24th: Mary’s Cup of Tea
Wednesday, September 26th: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Friday, September 28th: Good Girl Gone Redneck
Date TBD: OCD BloggerGirl’s Blog