…we're keeping our name but expanding our offerings!
Hilary Kent, a Londoner all his working life, retires to Wiltshire after an estranged cousin unexpectedly leaves him an inhabitable tower surrounded by an overgrown physic garden – and that’s when graduate student Tom Laurence suddenly erupts into his life, convincing him that together they can restore the ancient garden to its former glory. Tom’s cheerful friendship is the best thing that’s ever happened to Hilary and he’s perfectly content with that until, to his astonishment and confusion, it seems that Tom’s affection for him is beginning to grow into something more … something he feels he probably shouldn’t allow.
I liken this book to a couple of my partner’s friends; they are lovely, thoughtful, kind, intelligent, well rounded and have lots of other positive attributes – but they bore me to fucking tears.
So without further ado…
I’ll start by clarifying two things: firstly, I adore May to December romances but despite this I felt this was too slow to hold my attention probably because it was too polite and too unbelievably quaint. This story is not about unbridled passion or devastating angst. It’s not about two people burning the sheets with their love. It’s about two people who have a deep commitment to each other; two people who’ve found their ideal companion and love. And secondly, I’m in the vast minority with my reaction to this book.
So these were my reactions:
If Hilary and Tom had one more cup of fucking tea I was going to murder someone. *pass me a beer.
I’m well aware that expecting Tom and Hilary to behave like stereotypical “blokes” is stupid. Men can drink tea and eat scones and still be robust examples of masculinity right? Well, yes of course, but they just seemed odd, or too pleasant to me. Odd and pleasant aren’t bad things to be but… And of course men don’t have to be masculine either… But I digress, this is a book review and not a discussion focussing on gender stereotypes. My bad.
If they held hands and petted each other one more time I was going to scream. *where was the fucking passion?
I’m also aware that not everybody likes to “do it like they do on the discovery channel” but come on, liven-the-fuck-up fellas! It’s obvious that this story is not about eroticism, but more so about their connection but… zzzzz. Sex and intimacy was mentioned but… zzzzz
“You look utterly delectable, of course, my dear, but we’re receiving a delivery at ten. Will you mind getting dressed by then?”
I was worried that any sex scenes would eventuate with more evidence of well mannered genteel behaviour. And they did.
If they said please and thank you again I was going to glass someone *cut to the freaken chase!
Then at one point, Hilary felt poorly that he wasn’t helping Tom; so here is the interaction which ensued:
“I’ll tell you what,” Tom continued, coming back to sit by Hilary at the table. “If we have a spare day or two at some stage, you can help me pull my bibliography together. It’s the sort of thing I always have good intentions about updating as I go, but of course it always gets forgotten along the way.” “Oh, I’d like that,” said Hilary, rather more cheerfully.
Um, for reals? If they have a spare day or two that can pull together a bibliography as a treat? Oh COME ON! I love nerds. Really, I do, but this was too much. I was sure they were about to schedule a date in the form of compiling an Excel spreadsheet documenting The Manor’s light bulbs.
The last chapter was pretty gut wrenching though, so I was on the edge of my seat there… but the last paragraph? That was a let down despite saying the things we wanted to hear… It felt like Bozza just tacked that on in a wild dash before handing it to her publisher.
Obviously The Apothecary’s Garden is not meant to be any of the things I was looking for, so the joke is on me – but I was so bored, I wanted to cry. I can see why everyone adores it because it’s lovely and gentle and very sweet, but yeah not for me.
P.S. Also, all those exclamation marks! All the time! Drove me crazy! ;)