Cover image for Night gardening
Night gardening
Swann, E. L.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Hyperion, [1999]

Physical Description:
215 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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A timeless tale of love and healing that proves it is never too late for romance

Within the shadows of night, in a grand old city, in a graceful neighborhood, there was a garden where lives would be changed and hopes renewed and two hearts forever restored.

Maggie Flaherty Welles is a vibrant, sparkling, Irish-American widow whose feisty, determined spirit is matched only by her love of life. While she is recovering from a life-threatening illness, Maggie's passion lies in her beloved garden, now thrown into disrepair with the passing of time.

When Maggie meets Tristan Mallory, the handsome landscape architect remodeling the garden next door, they begin a friendship that transforms them both, blossoming along with the exotic flowers in Maggie's garden that Tristan secretly tends to by the light of the moon. Brought together by a shared passion, Maggie and Tristan discover the sensuous pleasures of a relationship neither one had ever dared to imagine. Their romance gives proof to the restorative powers of love.

Set in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Night Gardening is an enchanting journey into a real and metaphorical garden. It is a story of love and healing that celebrates passion in all its forms in such a way that it will touch your heart and linger at the edge of your dreams.

Author Notes

E. L. Swann is a pseudonym used by award-winning children's book author Kathryn Lasky. She resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Tristan Mallory is a well-respected landscape artist working on a new garden for a client in a posh section of Boston. One day he catches a glimpse of the woman next door, and is instantly entranced. Maggie Welles is the widow of an old-school, alcoholic husband who tripped his way through life protected by his money and good family name. She is also a recovering stroke victim. Tristan sees the spark that still lights her eyes, hears the quick wit in her garbled but improving speech, and can't get her out of his thoughts. Soon the two become friends, and Tristan helps Maggie replant and repair her once beautiful but now neglected garden. As the garden begins to revive and becomes lovely and green once again, Maggie's own health begins to improve under Tristan's patient and loving eye. Swann's tale of love will thrill romantics and gardening enthusiasts alike with its lush descriptions of gardens and flowers and the sweet story they compliment. --Alexandra Shrake

Publisher's Weekly Review

Newbery Honor-winning children's author (for Sugaring Time) Kathryn Lasky, here adopting the pseudonym of Swann, successfully turns her hand to adult fiction with a moving tale of 60-something love. Divorced Tristan Mallory is a top-notch landscape architect imported from New Hampshire by a wealthy couple in order to make magic on the grounds of their Cambridge, Mass., estate. Tristan, however, soon finds himself making even more magic next door. Through a crack in the brick wallÄand with a nod toward the children's classic The Secret GardenÄhe observes Maggie Welles in her own long-neglected garden. The widow of an alcoholic, Maggie has recently survived a stroke, and at first Tristan merely admires her resilient personality from afar as she bravely undertakes the grueling exercises necessary to regain her speech and motor skills. After the two dramatically meet, they conspire to revamp Maggie's garden, working nocturnally for privacy from Maggie's therapists and her pestering, alcoholic children. Having cultivated their shared passion, Maggie and Tristan awaken sensual feelings in each other, their erotic interludes a gateway to the true love that has eluded them for a lifetime. Swann seamlessly blends a Zen philosophy of gardening into her radiant tale of second chances, using her love for horticulture as a richly nuanced metaphor for the regenerative nurturing and flourishing of characters. Sentimental in the most heartfelt way, without resorting to the maudlin, Swann scripts wonderful dialogue for her principals, crafting sharply witty relationships, a believable setting and a deeply satisfying romantic plot. Line drawings throughout. Major ad/promo; movie rights to New Amsterdam Productions; audio rights to Brilliance; foreign rights sold in Germany, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Maggie Welles is recovering from a severe stroke that has paralyzed her left side. She is at home and receiving physical and speech therapies when she crosses paths with Tristan Mallory, a well-known landscape architect. During the summer evenings Mallory spends restoring Maggie's long-neglected and once extrordinary garden, the pair find restoration for their spirits and embark upon an unusual affair that fulfills them both. The garden is described in great detail that may bore non-aficionados, and Swann seems to be reaching for a grand, tragic Love Story that somehow eludes her. Even so, with its slight literary flavor, this is an enjoyable romance that proves love isn't something that only happens to the very young or the physically perfect. Not great literature, but how refreshing! E.L. Swann is the pseudonym used by award-winning children's book author Kathryn Lasky.ÄBettie Alston Shea, Charlotte-Mecklenburg P.L., Charlotte, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.