“As Yarrow slept and the moon rose high in the sky, a breeze rustled through stalks of onyx-hued basil and deep gray sage, tall as sunflowers. Starlight fell in slants across petals of black violets.”
In the Shadow Garden by Liz Parker was the perfect novel to tuck into on an autumn night with a coffee in hand. It is a story that is not light and airy. Instead, it embraces some of the darker themes of literature with a perfect blend of storytelling, the supernatural, and the strength gardeners know of plants that reach through the rich dark soil toward the light.
“Stalks of basil to keep the evil eye at bay. A head of broccoli to heal the body. A bunch of cilantro to mend the soul. Three tomatoes for passion in the bedroom. A cucumber to keep that passion from burning a relationship to the ground. The finishing touch— one piece of fruit from the shadow garden to amplify it all.”
The story is about a power struggle in a small town between two prominent families whose roots go deep. The Haywood and Bonner families could not be more different. One is a high and mighty whiskey manufacturer, the other a family of witches, and the tension between them simmers for decades. Still, this story starts with the death of the Bonner Patriarch and the return of the Bonner prodigal son after 25 years. His return is met by a community that barely remembers him, so much so that it edges on the bizarre.
The Haywood side of town can take the darkest emotions from people and settle them into the ground, essentially feeding The Shadow Garden, their garden. They are three generations of witches who will meddle if asked to. But their magic starts to go haywire as well. What follows is a “who done it and why” that delves deep into the very root of things 25 years ago and what happened on that fateful summer in 1997.
I loved the juxtaposition of this high and mighty whiskey family and this Earthy family of witches. They couldn’t be more different, and their hate could not be stronger. Their stories intertwine and involve magic, gardens, history, and love.
In the Shadow Garden was a whiskey-soaked story that was exciting as it is lyrically beautiful. There are second chances to be had, even for families like The Haywoods and the Bonners.