THE WHITE GARDEN
In March of 1941, Virginia Woolf filled her pockets with stones and drowned herself in England's River Ouse. Her body was found three weeks later. What seemed like a tragic ending at the time was, in fact, just the beginning of a mystery...
Six decades after Virginia Woolf's death, landscape designer Jo Bellamy has come to Sissinghurst Castle for two reasons: to study the celebrated White Garden created by Woolf's lover, Vita Sackville-West, and to recover from the devastating wound of her grandfather's unexplained suicide. In the shadow of one of England's most famous castles, Jo makes a shocking find: Woolf's last diary, its first entry dated the day after she allegedly killed herself.
If authenticated, Jo's discovery could shatter everything historians believe about Woolf's final hours. But when the Woolf diary is suddenly stolen, Jo's quest to uncover the truth will lead her on a perilous journey into the tumultuous inner life of a literary iconwhose connection to the White Garden ultimately proved devastating.
Rich with historical detail, The White Garden is an enthralling novel of literary suspense that explores the many ways the past haunts the presentand the dark secrets that lurk beneath the surface of the most carefully tended garden.
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"Barron, a pseudonym for thriller writer Francine Mathews, puts her talents for suspense to good use examining the death of Virginia Woolf from the vantage point of present-day England. Barron invests the text with a quick pace and an absorbing plot, making this a dynamic thriller with a well-tempered literary fixation."
"Barron is a master at crafting English period pieces."
The Denver Post
"This central World War II story and the role Leonard Woolf, Virginia's husband, and others may have played in it is intriguing and highlights not only Barron's ability to alchemize historical fact into fiction but also her ability to present absorbing details of Sissinghurst's gardens, history and the surrounding Kentish countryside."
The Los Angeles Times
"THE WHITE GARDEN is an onion of a novel, with successive peelings revealing much to Jo Bellamy as she and Peter travel around England in his Triumph car. It's a remarkable literary achievement and readers who are fascinated with English cultural history in the early years of the 20th Century as I am should enjoy it as much as I did. The book includes reading group questions and is an ideal novel for a reading group."
"THE WHITE GARDEN grows an intriguing tale, weaving together the tendrils of past and present, growth and corruption, love and despair into a landscape of hope. This is a mystery in a garden: a garden in war; a garden beset by modernity; a ghostly white garden haunted by the dead."
Laurie R. King
"Stephanie Barron has concocted a delicious exploration of what could have happened to Virginia Woolf in the weeks between her disappearance and the day her body floated to the surface of the River Ouse. Part mystery, part a search for redemption, readers will be entranced from the moment they open THE WHITE GARDEN."
Stephanie Barron also writes contemporary thrillers under the name Francine Mathews. Click here for more information.
All content copyright 2011, Stephanie Barron/Francine Mathews.