Genre: Historical fiction
1894. Why would one man create a pleasure garden in a Surrey village at a time when London’s great gardens have failed? Robert Cooke keeps the reason a secret from his wife. Another woman will translate his dreams. An obscure yet talented artist called Florence Hoddy, who lives with her unmarried brother, painting only what she sees from her window…
A boy with his head in the clouds. A man with a head full of dreams.
‘With an eye for precise detail balanced by a sweeping imagination, this beautifully constructed book is built on deep foundations.’ (JJ Marsh, author of the Beatrice Stubbs Series)
1884. The symptoms of scarlet fever are easily mistaken for teething, as Robert Cooke and his pregnant wife Freya discover at the cost of their two infant sons. Freya immediately isolates for the safety of their unborn child. Cut off from each other, there is no opportunity for husband and wife to teach each other the language of their loss. By the time they meet again, the subject is taboo. But unspoken grief is a dangerous enemy. It bides its time.
A decade later and now a successful businessman, Robert decides to create a pleasure garden in memory of his sons, in the very same place he found refuge as a boy – a disused chalk quarry in Surrey’s Carshalton. But instead of sharing his vision with his wife, he widens the gulf between them by keeping her in the dark. It is another woman who translates his dreams. An obscure yet talented artist called Florence Hoddy, who lives alone with her unmarried brother, painting only what she sees from her window…