Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Review: The Beast's Garden by Kate Forsyth

Title: The Beast's Garden
Author: Kate Forsyth
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 3rd August 2015
Pages: 512
Book Source:  Author, Random House AU & NetGalley

Synopsis: It's August 1939 in Germany, and Ava's world is in turmoil. To save her father, she must marry a young Nazi officer, Leo von Löwenstein, who works for Hitler's spy chief in Berlin. However, she hates and fears the brutal Nazi regime, and finds herself compelled to stand against it.

Ava joins an underground resistance movement that seeks to help victims survive the horrors of the German war machine. But she must live a double life, hiding her true feelings from her husband, even as she falls in love with him. 

Gradually she comes to realise that Leo is part of a dangerous conspiracy to assassinate Hitler. As Berlin is bombed into ruins, the Gestapo ruthlessly hunt down all resistance and Ava finds herself living hand-to-mouth in the rubble of the shell-shocked city. Both her life and Leo's hang in the balance. 

Filled with danger, intrigue and romance, The Beast's Garden, a retelling of the Grimm brothers' 'Beauty and The Beast', is a beautiful, compelling love story set in a time when the world seemed on the brink of collapse.

My Thoughts: 
Kate Forsyth is one of my 'keeper' authors, a favourite author whose storytelling is a rare gift. Bitter Greens and The Wild Girl will always have my heart but The Beast's Garden was another beautiful addition to her repertoire. 

The Beast's Garden is a retelling of The Singing, Springing Lark, a Grimm Brothers' variant of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. I love fairy tales, and I adore retellings ... they keep our love of fairy tales alive for generations to come, inspiring us to share both the traditional and re-imagined with our children and grandchildren. 

The Beast's Garden had a slightly different feel to previous works, the historical story line extensively researched, as always, but the fairytale re-imagining, more subtle, delicately woven.

The main characters and their families are fictional but the rest of the cast are actual historical figures. 

The story opens on Kristallnacht, the Night of the Broken Glass and young German woman Ava Falkenhorst races to aid close family friends, the Feidels. Ava encounters Leo von Löwenstein, an officer in the Abwehr, the German military intelligence service and their story begins ...

Kate is very respectful of the history; the terrible atrocities committed against the Jewish population and I really appreciated the fresh perspective and focus on the many Germans who were part of the resistance, actively working to bring down Hitler and the Nazi regime. Admiral Canaris, chief of the Abwehr and Harro and Libertas Schulze-Boysen of the Red Orchestra resistance group, to name just a few. 

This tale of love, courage and resistance was everything I expected ... and more.


Wonderful blog post from Kate ... insight into the birth of The Beast's Garden.


Connect with Kate Forsyth:


15 comments:

  1. This sounds so good I raced over to Amazon to purchase it. To my dismay, I realized that it's not out in the US yet :( Maybe it will give me time to clear my tbr shelf a bit before it's available here. Definitely going on my wishlist.

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    1. I'm glad ... you can't go wrong with Kate, her writing is exquisite. Have you read Bitter Greens or The Wild Girl? I know they're both out in the US. Hope you don't have to wait too long for this one!

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  2. I have Bitter Greens by this author but have yet to get to it (story of my life) though I'm really looking forward to it. This sounds like a book I would very much enjoy and I do like how respectful it sounds like Forsyth is of the history. I'll add this to the TBR!

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    1. I hear you Katherine, not enough hours in the day for all the amazing books. Bitter Greens is one of my books-to-be-buried-with faves, but I did love this one too. Hope you get to it soon lol

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  3. I NEED to read one of her books

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  4. I really liked this one, I put off reading it for awhile because I was a little nervous, but wow it was amazing. I loved the setting of Germany, gave another perspective to me.

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    1. I liked reading about the many Germans involved in the resistance, so many faced torture and execution too. So glad to hear you enjoyed it Kathryn, looking forward to your review!

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  5. I took a long time to get into Bitter Greens as magic is really not my scene. This one sounds more me! Thank you for the review.

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    1. I think you'll love this Mystica. Did you end up reading The Wild Girl? I really think you'd enjoy it too.

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  6. Wow!! This sounds powerful!! And I just FINISHED Black Eyed Susan's today and WOW!! That was one AWESOME book!! But danggit ... I still have QUESTIONS!!!! What about the peanut butter???? Ummmmm did I miss WHY it made sick???????

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    1. Have you tried any of Kate's books yet? I really need to keep nagging lol you won't be sorry.

      And yay for Black-Eyed Susans. Remember the snickers bar, she used to buy one for the old guy when she ran ... but she had to eat it in the grave ...

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  7. I've actually given this one a miss as I really don't think it's for me. I read Dancing on Knives last year and quite enjoyed that, but am happy everyone's loving this!

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    1. It would be a dull old world if we all liked the same thing. Case in point, Dancing on Knives, it's my least favourite out of all Kate's books :)

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  8. This sounds wonderful and your high praise of the author's writing has me itching to pick this up. I love retellings.

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