Historical Suspense, Gothic
Date Published: July 18, 2016
Publisher: Blunder Woman Productions
It is Chicago. 1910. Eleven-year-old Lillian March looks over her mother’s dead body with a sense of relief.
As a poor woman, her mother, Cora, never had any real choices or happiness with her life. Cora and Lillian flee to the bustling city of Chicago, where she is certain she will have the life of opulence she deserves.
Cora and Lillian face deep hardships in turn-of-the-century Chicago as Cora’s mind continues its downward spiral. With no money and no hope for income, Cora sells Lillian to The Garden Room, a brothel, where young girls and desperate women are kept like flowers in a jar.
John March comes looking for his daughter and his wife in an attempt to rescue them, but even if he finds them alive, is rescue really possible?
IN THE GARDEN ROOM is an exploration of madness, desire and two women’s choices in a time when they weren’t really allowed to choose.
In the Garden Room was a welcome reminder that sometimes it’s good to step outside of my usual genre of reading material, and try something a little different! While this novel is historical fiction, which is what I like, it is set in a period of time that I very rarely read about. I was immediately drawn in by Cora’s character. She the beautiful mother, who lives her life thinking about the “what if’s” and dreaming about being anywhere else in the world other than where she is at. She’s in a loveless marriage, which she believes she is too good for, and has a child who is something she considers to just be in her way. She a dreamer and she is naïve, which is the perfect combination for Zeke to take advantage of. She ends up leaving her husband, and dragging her daughter, Lillian along with her to Chicago. Cora has high hopes that she will end up wealthy and worshipped by Zeke, but things turn out nothing like she expected. Lillian loves her father, but now believes he is dead (thanks to her mother). The hard-scrabble city life turns Lillian into something she completely different than what she was when they arrived. Both Cora and Lillian change drastically, and do what it takes to stay alive in a city without mercy. Lillian’s father, John, is alive and well, and is determined to find his daughter and bring her home, but he has no soft feelings towards the wife who turned his life upside down.
It is definitely a darker novel, and it’s easy to get caught up in the strong emotions that each of the characters displays. I definitely felt a little depressed and shocked at times as I read. As a mother, it was difficult for me to imagine ever putting my children in the position that Cora placed Lillian. It is definitely the type of book that is hard to put down once you get into it. I typically read historical fiction that is set prior to the industrialized age, but I am glad that I gave this one a chance. I definitely suggest picking a copy up, you won’t be disappointed! A solid FIVE out of FIVE stars from me!
About the Author
Tanya Eby is a writer and an award-winning audiobook narrator. She has published a variety of novels from romantic comedies to mysteries to dark historical pieces. While her writing crosses genres they all share quirky characters and complicated relationships. Visit her at tanyaeby.com or follow her on Twitter @Blunder_Woman.
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-the-garden-room-tanya-eby/1124115482
Audible Download of Tanya Eby novel In the Garden Room!