Monday, October 06, 2014

The Writer's Garden: How Gardens Inspired Our Best-Loved Authors by Jackie Bennett, Photography by Richard Hanson

My where-I-want-to-go travel list is already very long, but I am adding to it. I have just finished reading The Writer's Garden: How Gardens Inspired Our Best-Loved Authors by Jackie Bennett with photographs by Richard Hanson. Bennett recounts how nineteen British authors tended to, wandered around, and settled in gardens to write some of their best-known books. Many had little huts among the flowers and trees. All had windows overlooking the gardens. Through his colorful photos, Hanson shows those gardens today. Most are open for the public to visit.

Among the authors included are Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, and Rudyard Kipling. I recognized all of the names except John Clare, who was a gardener first and then became a poet. Some readers might be surprised by the inclusion of Winston Churchill, known mostly for being British prime minister; he also wrote a series of large history books about his country. Some might argue that Henry James is an American author, but he spent most of his writing life in Great Britain.

I think I'd most want to see the gardens of Beatrice Potter, Thomas Hardy, and Walter Scott. I'd get a good dose of rural England and Scotland from them. Not wanting to limit myself, I would also see all of the estates, many with grand houses as well. Seeing beautiful gardens and learning more about great authors. What could be better? A summer trip to Great Britain goes on my list.

The Writer's Garden is a British publication that will be released in the U.S. in November. I am happy I got one early. The perks of being a book reviewer.

Bennett, Jackie. The Writer's Garden: How Gardens Inspired Our Best-Loved Authors. Frances Lincoln Limited, 2014. 176p. ISBN 9780711234949.

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