Welcome to the Winter Garden. Open only at 13 o’clock.
You are invited to enter an unusual competition.
I am looking for the most magical, spectacular, remarkable pleasure garden this world has to offer.
On the night her mother dies, 8-year-old Beatrice receives an invitation to the mysterious Winter Garden. A place of wonder and magic, filled with all manner of strange and spectacular flora and fauna, the garden is her solace every night for seven days. But when the garden disappears, and no one believes her story, Beatrice is left to wonder if it were truly real.
Eighteen years later, on the eve of her wedding to a man her late father approved of but she does not love, Beatrice makes the decision to throw off the expectations of Victorian English society and search for the garden. But when both she and her closest friend, Rosa, receive invitations to compete to create spectacular pleasure gardens – with the prize being one wish from the last of the Winter Garden’s magic – she realises she may be closer to finding it than she ever imagined.
Now all she has to do is win.
‘Magic, mystery and the hard truths of life for even the most privileged Victorian women make for compelling reading in this dark but enchanting historical fantasy… Bell delights in the spectacular creations of both women, their inventive gardens a dazzling backdrop to the rivalry and remorse that engulfs their complicated friendship.’
The Daily Mail
‘A mesmerising, stunningly crafted story of loss and the importance of dreams, The Winter Garden sees a young woman enter a competition to design a spectacular pleasure garden, with a promise to revisit the magical place of her childhood if she wins.’
‘The Winter Garden is an enchanting and moving story of love, loss and rivalry. Alexandra Bell writes her two central characters with complexity and affecting emotional depth, balancing the more serious themes – mental health, grief, identity, oppression and Victorian patriarchy – with a captivating sense of magic that brings to mind tales like Alice in Wonderland, The Night Circus and Paris by Starlight. It’s the perfect novel to read as autumn settles upon our gardens and the icy chill of winter begins to creep in.’