The Gardener
The new novel from Salley Vickers, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Librarian

Artist, Hassie Days, and her sister, Margot, buy a run down Jacobean house in Hope Wenlock on the Welsh Marches. While Margot continues her London life in high finance, Hassie is left alone to work the large, long-neglected garden. She is befriended by eccentric, sharp-tongued, Miss Foot, who recommends, Murat, an Albanian migrant, made to feel out of place among the locals, to help Hassie in the garden.

As she works the garden in Murat’s peaceful company, Hassie ruminates on her past life: the sibling rivalry that tainted her childhood and the love affair that left her with painful, unanswered questions.

But as she begins to explore the history of the house and the mysterious nearby wood, old hurts begin to fade as she experiences the healing power of nature and discovers other worlds.

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Salley Vickers is skilled at transforming the everyday into something haunting. This tale of a woman's search for inner peace is no exception
— Daily Express

With its sensitively drawn characters, this is a quiet and intelligent hymn to the restorative power of nature. Delightful
— Mail on Sunday

Steeped in a sense of the redemptive power of place, Salley Vickers's 11th novel is a paean to green-fingered regeneration that is both rigorous and charming'
— Observer

On writing The Gardener

Salley Vickers on a life lived in gardens

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Why we need fairies: our perception of the world has lost all wonder.

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Salley Vickers wrote her latest novel in a Wiltshire cottage during lockdown. She talks to Johnny about the importance of gardening while writing, Shropshire’s historic pagan landscapes, and the complications of family relationships.

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The idea for The Gardener was sown in my mind long ago. I was given my oddly spelled name because my father, a lover of poetry and a lifelong Republican had a fondness for W.B. Yeats’ Down by the salley gardens. My dad was tone deaf, but my mother was a lover of music and the setting of this poem as a song by Benjamin Britten was a favourite of hers.

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Salley Vickers’ new novel The Gardener champions the healing power of nature. It is inspired by her own experiences during lockdown as well as her childhood, when her family lived with her godparents who had a large garden in London.

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'Salley Vickers sees with a clear eye and writes with a light hand. She's a presence worth cherishing'
Philip Pullman

'Vickers writes of relationships with undaunted clarity'
— Adam Phillips

'No one can dig down into the shrouded recesses of the human heart quite as forensically as Vickers'
— Sunday Times