Figs, Vines and Roses by Joy M. Lilley
Joy M. Lilley’s first novel ‘Figs, Vines and Roses’ tells a moving tale of love and loss at the turn of the nineteenth century.
In 1888 eight-year-old Issy Merryweather has a comfortable family life in Cobnut Hall, Derby. Sharing carefree summers with her brother Clarence, beloved dog Molly and cherished grandma Ella, Issy enjoys the freedom of childhood innocence. But as she comes of age a move to Kent changes her life forever.
When Issy meets Terence she is enraptured by him and despite his humble background an inseparable bond is formed in secret. But, it’s a secret which Issy will never escape after a heartbreaking turn in events…
Genre: Love, Romance, Fiction, Family Saga
5 Star Review: Figs, Vines and Roses is a family saga giving insight between the upper and lower class in 1888. Author Joy M. Lilley does a good job describing life in various English towns as the reader gets to know the Merryweather family. I can relate to young Isabella “Issy” and her brother Clarence, since like them, I was sent to a boarding school. Their childhood was very comfortable, innocent and more privileged than most and with it came the best boarding school.
I invite you to join Isabella in her family life with dog Molly, brother Clarence, Grandmother Ella, her inevitable coming of age journey into young adulthood. Issy falls in love with Terence, who is the gardener. This is forbidden love since Terence is from the “wrong side of tracks”. What is the secret that Issy can’t escape?
Isabella love for beautiful gardens brings the reader here: “It did not take long before Isabella began exploring the grounds of the estate and could see the potential of the gardens that had suffered so much neglect for many years; apparently, she had discovered from one of the grounds men that the mid-Victorian landowners had built a brick farmhouse beyond the Castle building and at the same time took the estate in hand. There were remaining signs of this with shrubs and flowers in bloom, and interesting varieties of trees in abundance. Apparently prior to this the estate had lain in ruin since the Seven Years War (1756-63), when captured French seamen were incarcerated there.
Isabella spent much of her time in the garden as it was early spring and there had been yet another long, cold winter to overcome. This had taken its toll on the land, which now was in need of attention. Issy knew what was required to help the gardens come into bloom again. She had an enormous imagination and could foresee how the garden could look once again with the right care and attention. She day-dreamed of restoring the garden to its former natural beauty.”
Will she be able to turn her dreams into reality?
Author Joy M. Lilley did a good job holding my interest in this short read as the author leaves things open for a sequel. I give this book five stars for the story. Review by Theodocia McLean.
About Joy M. Lilley: Hello, My name is Joy Gerken, pen name Joy M. Lilley.
I write/blog and was a trained nurse, all my working life, until I retired in 2015.
My first novel is ‘Figs, Vines and Roses’ a tale of love and loss at the turn of the nineteenth century.
My second novel is called ‘The Liberty Bodice’. This is a completely different genre to the first novel and follows the trials and tribulations of a young girl working for the Special Operations Executive [S.O.E.] in W.W.2.
You can also find my short story ‘Lost and Found’ published in Liphar short stories Vol 1. [Liphar short stories} by Liphar magazine.
In 2016 my novella ‘Times pendulum swings again’ was published. This tells of a hospital romance that starts well, until the truth about the surgical registrar admitting to his nurse girlfriend that he is married with two sons back home in Nepal.
I am hoping to release my forth publication ‘Strawberry moon’ a crime, mystery set in the Dordogne, France.