The Mermaid Garden

the mermaid gardenLast weekend I read The Mermaid Garden by Santa Montefiore.  I LOVED every last 419 pages of this novel, and I will be checking out more books by this U.K. based author.  The original title of this book is The House by the Sea.  The elements of romance and mystery makes The Mermaid Garden delightful to read.

In the beautiful Tuscan Valley, 10-year-old Floriana Farussi meets 18-year-old Dante Alberto Massimo and they become friends. Dante is the very handsome son of one of Italy’s richest men and his family owns the Villa La Magdalena, where they spend the summer months each year.  Floriana, who is practically an orphan, is invited in by Dante to see the beautiful gardens of Villa La Magdalena after he spots her staring in from the other side if the iron gates.  Dante is a very kind young man and he begins to see life through the innocent eyes of his new friend Floriana.

She is an innocent girl in more ways than one.  Floriana recognizes and loves the beauty of nature.  Each day during this particular summer Dante and Floriana enjoy each others company on the beautiful grounds of Villa La Magdalena, especially the Mermaid Garden.  Floriana secretly falls in love with Dante and vows that one day she will marry him when she comes of age, and that is all I will say. You will have to read the book to find out what happens.

If you have any brains you will figure out the mystery before it is revealed in the last chapters, such as who is Rafa Santoro and what is Marina Turner’s deep dark secret.  I love the metaphysical messages about life.   The stories within this novel spans four decades, two generations and several European countries.  I could not put this books down and the story will stay with me for quite some time.

I give this novel 4 out of 5 Stars.  I didn’t give it 5 out of 5 only because the storylines in this novel did drag on a bit.


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  1. Mary Lewis Soileau says:

    Adore mermaids!! The very first Disney movie (or any movie) that I took my daughter to see was THE LITTLE MERMAID. Mermaids bring back fond, happy memories for me. This sounds like a mermaid tale (ha!) to fall in love with! Thanks for a great review.

    • Xenia says:

      Hi Mary,

      I have actually not seen the move The Little Mermaid. I think it is time to check it out.

      I loved the growing romance in this book between Floriana and Dante. Not many 18 year-old teenage guys would be so open enough to let a 10 year-old girl have such an impact on his life. I loved the man that Dante became.

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