I just finished reading “The Garden of Promises and Lies”, the most recent installment in the Found Things series by Paula Brackston, and I while I absolutely loved the first two books, this one just wasn’t quite as good. But while I had some issues, I really enjoyed following Xanthe on her newest adventures and taking Liam along for the crazy ride. In the first book “The Little Shop of Found Things” you are introduced to Xanthe and her dear Mum (Flora) who have had some hard knocks but are still fighting. In the midst of all their trials and tribulations Xanthe finds that simply by touching an object it will start to “sing” to her, which allows her to connect with the previous owner of the item. At this point you have to accept that impossible things are possible because Xanthe accidentally discovers that she can travel back in time to try and help the owners of these found things. I encourage you to read the first two books, “Little Shop of Found Things” and “Secrets of the Chocolate House” before you read this newest book. You can certainly jump into the new one first, but it will be like jumping into the deep end and flailing around for a few minutes before you get your head above water and figure out what is happening.
In this latest installment Xanthe is beginning to accept that she is a Spinner and using the tools she has discovered along the way is beginning to understand how to control her “trips” through time and maintain her sanity while taking care of her Mum.
The story itself focuses on a wedding dress that “sings” to Xanthe and takes her back to 1815 where she runs into her old nemesis Benedict Fairfax who is preparing to marry the young woman who owned the wedding dress.The beginning was very slow with what seemed to be setup for the story but in retrospect was just filling pages. All of the detail about the items in the store, like the vintage clothing, and the visit from Flora’s friend just slogged along. But once Xanthe, along with Liam, set off back in time to thwart Fairfax the pace picks up and the story gets interesting. This book, like the first two, provides lots of historical references that are informative and illustrate the level of research required to write these stories.
Overall I feel this book was a prologue to the next book, since it ends on quite a cliff hanger, and I look forward to the next book just to find out what happens next. This book will be published on December 15, 2020 and I was provided an ARC by NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review. I consider this series an excellent gift for readers who love Alice Hoffman, Deborah Harkness and Sarah Addison Allen.