A modern-day, grown-up Secret Garden with echoes of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  

Susannah Misselthwaite was gazing up at the brightness of the blue sky when the deer leapt in front of the car. She never knew what happened. Her husband Guy, Professor of Botany, hides from his grief in his greenhouse – without Susannah, everything is lost. Meanwhile, little Felix pores over photographs of his mother who is slipping from his memory more each day. Happiest sitting in the branches of a tree in the university’s botanical garden, away from the emptiness of home, he presides over the dreams and dramas of those who pass beneath him. Teachers and students, young and old, happy, sad, or filled with longing, all find sanctuary and space for contemplation in this few square feet of soil.

‘A thoroughly charming, original and hugely readable novel.’
– Nina Bawden

‘She’s the perfect antidote to all the heavy / miserable / pedantic / too-clever-for-their-own-good novelists whose work I may admire but whose novels I finish thinking thank God I’m done. I do so love her sense of humour.’ Margaret Forster.

‘She’s the perfect English miniaturist.’
– Barbara Trapido.

‘I loved it and let her eye for detail lead me through her delightful world… Truly touching, believable and gently compelling. I was sorry when I’d finished it.’
– Mavis Cheek.

Read an extract


Rebecca Smith writer, author, novelist, Jane Austen, UK