Five Star review for The Peace Garden

Today I’m doing what everyone says you shouldn’t: reading my own reviews! The Peace Garden has had its first review on Amazon Kindle. And I’m relieved to see it’s a good one. The reviewer also manages to communicate the essence of the book far better than I could!

So, at the risk of blowing my own trumpet, here you go:

Suburbia meets apartheid,11 Oct 2011
This is the  fascinating tale of an uneasy mix between English suburban values and South  African apartheid, which builds up to an unexpectedly explosive finale. The
unlikely starting-point of plants being stolen from the gardens of a quiet  Newcastle street draws you in, as does the deftly-portrayed character of young  Natalie Porter, a floating trophy of her parents’ ever-shifting
diplomatic/journalistic lifestyle, who finds a semblance of permanence staying  with her Geordie grandmother – and leaps at the opportunity to emulate her  fictional heroine, girl-detective Nancy Drew.

Natalie’s sleuthing efforts  bring her into contact with an enigmatic black South African academic and his  teenage son living at the end of the road. Everyone has them down as the plant  thieves; and issues of racial prejudice are sensitively explored both in the  English suburban context and, later, in South Africa itself.

Interwoven with the escalating mystery of the missing plants and the past lives of the possible perpetrators – which brings the reader unavoidably face-to-face with the tragic history of apartheid – is the delicately portrayed off-and-on romance that  develops between young Natalie and Thabo, the bitter South African teenager now forced by circumstances to live with his father in Britain. Is he a `good guy’  or a `bad guy’? Natalie’s doubts on this score – and the reader’s – persist
almost to the last page.

This is a great story, with a compulsively page-turning conclusion, which also gives the reader an inside look at many of the conflicting issues of racial prejudice in its most notorious institutional expression – apartheid South Africa.

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