The Kew Gardens Girls by Posy Lovell

A heart-warming novel inspired by real life events, about the brave women during WWI who worked in the historic grounds of London’s Kew Gardens.

Posy Lovell is a pseudonym for British author and journalist Kerry Barrett. Born in Edinburgh, she moved to London as a child with her family. She has a passion for uncovering the role of women in the past. She lives in London with her family and is the author of The Kew Gardens Girls.

Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.” Alfred Austin

The Kew Gardens Girls combines the “glory of gardening” with the glory of love, friendship and forgiveness. Posy Lovell’s three main characters who answer the ad for gardeners at London’s Kew Gardens in June,1915, are each hiding from loss and heartache. Louisa, at 35, escaping an abusive husband in Kent, flees to London in order to establish anonymity. Ivy, sixteen, compensating for her shameful conduct as a rebellious teenager, wants to be near Jim, assistant to the supervisor at Kew.  First to be hired by supervisor Mac is sweet natured, gentle Bernie who is suffering personal humiliation from a past relationship and his pacifist beliefs. He knows nothing about gardening, but he IS a man. Mac must overcome reservations about women working at Kew Gardens, along with personal disappointment.

Readers will learn about World War I, the Conscription Act, Suffragettes, and the effects these each had on the early workings of London’s Kew Gardens. Posy Lovell’s characters are developed through reflection and slowly learn to share thoughts and feelings with each other, finally revealing personal truths and growing bonds of friendship. Examples of forgiveness, mentoring, trust, handling of grief through generosity and genuine care for others are character traits lovingly cultivated in The Kew Garden Girls. A bonus for poets and gardeners is the language of flowers Ivy weaves through the tasks of weeding and planting the ‘miles” of herbaceous flower beds.  A bouquet of daisies, roses, and fern fronds from the Grateful Reader. (Language of flowers code in link below.)

1911 Map of Kew Gardens

What does each flower symbolize? Which flowers represent love, hope, healing, loss, and good luck? See the Almanac’s complete list of Flower Meanings and Plant Symbolism. Whether you are picking out a flower bouquet for a wedding, choosing a single flower for a loved one, or planting a garden, discover the secret language of flowers! This site has a fabulous chart!

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