John Armitage knows he has met the one woman he wants to spend his life with, but telling her how he feels proves harder than he expected. World War and the fact that Evelyne is already married are only two of the problems. It's a rocky start, but this is a love that lasts nearly a century.
Walk to Paradise Garden is a beautifully written love story, but not the typical boy meets girl, happily ever after kind of love story. John and Evelyne face uncounted trials during their lives together, from war and personal tragedy to secrets and crisis of heart.
The field of characters is deep. You meet many characters that leave an impression and none that seem shallow or pointless. Many of the characters are only in the story for a short while due to the span of time this story covers, but readers will enjoy each one while they are present.
John and Evelyne are the overall focus of this story. Their relationship contains a lot of depth. This couple faces many of the challenges every couple faces, but they also face multiple tragedies that are life-altering. I was impressed with the way Campbell was able to balance the day to day trials with the more profound ones. Just when you thought everything was beginning to even out, their whole world was shaken again. My only issue with these two characters was that they occasionally lacked deeply emotional responses. They were of a generation where proper etiquette was valued even during tragedy, but this did make it hard to connect with them at times.
Bertie was a favorite of mine. He was quite different from his parents in some ways. The Armitage's were eager to make a difference in the world. While this was very admirable, Bertie was a bit more of an average person. He was building his own life while still being a part of theirs. I never had any trouble connecting with Bertie. His emotions were easy to connect with and I became very invested in his story.
There were a few areas that gave me a little trouble, and they mainly had to do with the style this story was written in. Walk to Paradise Garden is written in a memoir-like style. As often happens with this style, this book's format occasionally caused the story flow to be a little disjointed and some rather interesting events were only skimmed over. The murder of John's uncle could have been a whole story by itself, but was instead solved quickly and the characters moved on to continue the main story. I'm not a big memoir reader for these reasons, but those who enjoy the style will have no problems with this at all.
Would I recommend this book? Yes. It was very well written, had engaging characters, and was an impressive love story.
Who would I recommend this book to? Even though this is not a memoir, it reads like one. This could have been a real family. Memoir readers will love this. Historical fiction readers will also enjoy this book. This is a romance, but not the type serious romance readers will be looking for. This book is a journey. Those looking for an inspiring story will want to pick up a copy.
Walk to Paradise Garden is available from Amazon and Kindle.
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