There seems to be a real glut of these books recently; the hybrid 2-in-1 genre of modern romance and historical fiction. Most of them have a sad woman who unravels a family mystery in order to reconcile her present day problems, with flashbacks to her intriguing forbearer.
The Moonlit Garden is no exception. Lily is a young widow running an antiques shop in Berlin. When a stranger leaves her an antique violin she goes on a journey to discover its original owner, world-renowned concert violinist Rose. With the help of conveniently qualified love interest Gabriel (a musical professor of history) and a conveniently rich best friend, Lily follows Rose, taking her across the globe to London and Indonesia.
All the sections set in colonial Sumatra were interesting and atmospheric. When Rose goes to traditional shadow puppet shows or rides into the Sumatran jungle, we’re delighted to accompany her.
My real bone of contention is Lily. Incredibly selfish and annoying, I don’t care if she succeeds in her quest or not. I would forgive the frankly outlandish coincidences and plot twists (why do so many people get shipwrecked in the olden days?) if she were even a modicum more sympathetic.
Beautiful cover though.
Read: As an upmarket Mills & Boon