The Witch with the Walled Garden

Young Adult - Adventure
166 Pages
Reviewed on 09/30/2021
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Author Biography

In a pretty little village, a walled garden grows delicious food, blooms with beautiful flowers, and guards a sad secret. Entry is forbidden to all but a solitary old gardener. Little is known about him, but peculiar rumours grow like weeds. 

Daisy knows what it's like to lose a loved one, and she's going to get to the bottom of this mystery - just as soon as she's picked up the grandkids from school. Together they must seek out the powerful ruler of the garden, who lives far away - a distance measured not in miles but in bizarre lands.

Max can't believe his luck when grandma picks him and his siblings up and reveals her plan. He's craving adventure, but he's going to get much more than he bargained for, with surreal landscapes, colourful characters and delight and danger in equal measure. 

The Witch in the Walled Garden is a reminder of the magical bond between grandparents and grandchildren. It leaves us with a lasting message about our actions, looking after our world, and how we all have a part to play.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Sarah Scheele for Readers' Favorite

The Witch with the Walled Garden by Claire Carey is an inventive time-travel story that takes two families back and forth between 1931 and 2017. Two teens and a 12-year-old boy (Kelvin, who is autistic, and his younger siblings Yazz and Max) live in a tiny English village, home to a magical walled garden. Their parents never talk to them about the garden and fear it because it is owned by a witch who once cursed the villagers. But when the kids stay with their grandmother, Daisy, they end up on the adventure of a lifetime. Two little girls disappeared through a time-travel portal in the garden years ago. Grandma Daisy takes her three grandchildren and her friend Fred on a journey to find the witch Matilda and bring a long-separated family back together again.

The Witch with the Walled Garden develops the time-travel angle convincingly while blending it with magic and fantasy really well. I was impressed by the strong emotion in the story. The journey into the vintage era was very well realized. The saga of the missing girls, who have lived into adulthood lost in the 1930s, was fluid and natural in its expression—sincere and heartfelt. With its focus on journeys through time, I found the book also quite successfully showed that age is just a number and that at times grandparents are still learning while kids are capable of surprising maturity and thoughtfulness. Claire Carey has done a commendable job of showing a special-needs child in a positive light, possessing unique strengths that bring value to the team to which he belongs. The good message about caring for and reaching out to others, along with Kelvin’s character, makes this a book I’d recommend to families.

Mark Jones

Another great book by Claire Carey.