Garden (Unabridged) [Audio Download]
by Jane Yates (Author), Anna Parker-Naples (Narrator)
Garden is British Steampunk and available in both Paper back and Kindle all over the world.
Review of Garden by Anna
Rated 5 stars Garden the book
“** spoiler alert ** This review contains spoilers, as I want to mention the bits I liked best! If you would prefer to remain in suspense, skip the review and go read the book!
Jane uses the basic story arc and elements of the setting of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic The Secret Garden as a kind of greenhouse skeleton to support her brilliantly coloured and exotic steampunk flowering story-plants: space ships, secret societies, copper piping, gas masks, post-apocalyptic regeneration, rose-scented psychedelics. Fabulously sophisticated clockwork animals contrast with clunky old computers in frequent need of that standby remedy, unplugging and plugging in again. I love that the Maisy version of Martha is made a real friend for Aberdeen, and especially her compassionate explanation of how ‘Lenard [the Colin character] can be a bit of a pain sometimes.’ Half-chapter numbers bring to mind arcane street address systems and certain station platforms, and provide Maisy with opportunities to tell her framed stories to Aberdeen. And this garden has a potting shed! well of course it does! Burnett can’t have been much of a gardener herself to leave it out… Ben Weatherstaff has become a garden robot (I picture a sort of C-3Threepio with a flat cap). And just as I was getting into stride, enjoying the parallel secret gardens – in come the Voynich Manuscript and hidden tunnels!
My favourite Jane hallmarks are all here: humour, emotional perceptiveness, a love of food and dogs, her scientific background and her work at Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum. I am also grateful for her sensitive insights into dyslexia. Already looking forward to Octopus Pirate!
#gratitude for the review by
How difficult was it to settle down on earth and adjust to the life here?
It was pretty hard, everything was new to me and I was used to my guardian robot that looked after me. But I found Earth better than that halfway station. I think that was the lowest point in my life.
There were some really good things. I was excited to see my first bio-dome close up, and snow. Oh snow was the most wonderful thing ever. I got to make my first ever friend and felt close to a relative for the first time ever.
Have you discovered the wonderful world of books on earth? So who are you favorite authors so far?
Oh yes, my cousin Lenard has a whole bedroom full of wonderful books. I like the books with pictures in best and the gardening books, of course.
However my friend Maisy introduced me to the chapter machine, which stores all types of stories and facts.
There are lots of new stories in the books and on the machine, but the stories I like best are dragon ones, and Maisy makes up the best once of those.
Once, she made up a story about a tiger, which was like nothing I had ever heard before. Another time there was one about a flying fish and a girl locked in a tower. Maisy really is the best.
Have you discovered movies? Which actor do you drool for?
Blush….. Boys are smelly!
What is your favorite place here?
I have discovered a secret garden on my uncle’s land and it is filled with the most amazing plants, a maze and orrery – and a far greater secret, which I can’t tell you about, as it’s a secret.
Tell us about Maisy, Peter and Lenard.
Maisy is my best friend, she is so kind, and at first I was worried she was going to be like all the other girls I had met at school and on the halfway station. At school, the other girls teased me, so I hit them hard, that shut them up, but I got sent back home. My mother was not pleased. At the halfway station the children teased me there. So I was worried at first about Maisy, but she was always nice.
Peter OMG! He is the cleverest boy I know. He can build things out of just about anything. He can talk to robots, even the ones he did not build. He knows the secrets of their coding. Plus, he knows all about plants and nature.
Lenard, my dear sweet Lenard. I have to say he grew on me. I was angry with him at first. I guess he was as spoilt as me, then I felt sorry for him. Then I was proud of him, and respected him too. The way he tried to walk the long way down the corridor under the house. It was scary and full of spider webs and felt like there was no air. I was staggering. But he was a real solider about it.
Tell us about your author Jane Yates!
I have never met her, but I have heard that she is a dyslexic like Maisy and Peter. I hear she paints also and has two spaniels. Maybe I will invite her to my secret garden to have tea with Maisy and the boys one day, I’m sure she would come. I hear she has a weakness for tea and cake!
Are you happy with the way you and your life shaped up? Or do you have a bone to pick with Jane?
I think from day one Jane understood me. She realised that I had felt unloved and unwanted by my parents and that I felt like I did not fit in the world.
Jane did not chastise me about not feeling grief when they died. She understood that my coldness was just a protective shell. I had to learn to trust and make friends. Garden has been a path of self-discovery. All in all, I think she understood me, only one thing I would have changed is that I wish Jane had written me firing a bow and arrow. Maisy talked about them in her stories and I would have loved to have tried that. Oh well, I will be still sat here in the garden, if Jane ever wants to come back and write that be for me.
I read online that you kind of like dragons. Why is that?
I love all dragons, but I guess if I had to choose, I’d pick green and red ones. Maisy has told me loads of stories about dragons. There is a painting in my playroom of two dragons under a tree which I love. Also my family have an old heraldic shield which has two dragons blowing fire. How cool is that?
I read that you like castles too. Have you ever lived in a castle? If not, have you ever seen one? What was it like?
Oh, sadly I have never been to a castle. But my uncle’s house here on Earth is as big as one, plus it has a secret tunnel that goes underneath it, with spiders! Very scary and creepy.
My cousin Lenard has lots of old books and there are some great pictures of castle in them. Maisy got out the old family suit of armor once. She told me that’s what people used to wear around castles. When I am older I and going to travel around the world with Maisy and visit all the castles. But don’t tell her as I have not asked her yet.
What was your life like before you went to live on earth with your uncle?
It was completely different. We lived in deep space on a large ship. My mother always held lots of parties. She sent me to school, but the kids were mean to me, so I got sent back.
I love my life now, I have friends and a garden.
Do you like dogs?
I have not met any real dogs. My mother had a robot dog, but it was shut down when people started dying. My friend Peter made a dog, FRANK. Frank is really clever, I read about a famous detective in Lenard’s books called Sherlock Holmes, and I think frank is as clever as he is.
Did you have a dog at home? Or a cat? Or a sister?
No nothing like that. I have a robot snake, but I never gave it a name. When we had to get off the spaceship I made sure I took it. It was the only possession I was worried about. Maisy has lots of brothers and sisters – her mother lets me come around on her day off with her sometimes. Oh they are a handful but I do envy Maisy having them all to play with.
What do you miss most about home, and what do you like most about earth?
I have to admit I do occasionally mis my guardian robot – it did everything for me, whatever I wanted 24/7.
But in a way it’s kind of fun doing things for myself.
The best bit is the garden on Earth.
But mostly all my new friends and the adventures we have.
Tell me something about yourself?
My name is Mrs Merryweather. I am not going to tell you my age. I am a widow with no living relatives. I am head housekeeper and have been working for the master for 20 years. I started as a cleaner and then gradually worked my way up to this position. Of course, I have my beloved Keys, my robot – he’s my right hand man.
Do you enjoy your job, why does this role interest you?
Well I have to keep all my staff on their toes, more so since the accident. I don’t want people giving up and getting down. I am a firm believer that hard work is good for the mind and the soul. So I sometimes invent jobs or make my staff do the job over, just to keep them busy. It’s a kindness really.
My husband when he was alive was a deep fish seaman. He used to tell me that when they transported the tanks of cod long distances, they would put a few large cat fish in the tank with them. The fisherman did this to keep the cod on the toes, as it were. They needed the cod swimming and moving about to keep them fresh and in good shape. Cod are clever fish and knew if they didn’t keep moving and sink to the bottom the cat fish would eat them! I think of my role as a bit of a cat fish, with a touch of dragon thrown in for good measure.
What is your greatest strength?
I have so many strengths, so I will list a few here. I am physically fit and strong for a lady of my age. I am honest, trustworthy and loyal. Polite, I believe manners make a man.
What is your greatest weakness?
I have to admit that I am not very flexible, I don’t like change. I think that’s why I may have been a bit hard on Aberdeen when she came. Everything was ticking along, and she set the cat amongst the pigeons, as it were. However, no, I have to admit I am glad she did come after all, and I’d not change her or any of it. But don’t tell the child that! I shall deny it if you do.
Do you have any hobbies outside of work?
I am a collector, and I like to collect historical items that are used for cleaning a home. Vacuums and other cleaning gadgets. I have an extensive collection with some very unusual ones, rare and unique. I even have the original boxes!
Are you ambitious? Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
This is my home, I look after the master and Lenard. I want to see in the next generation. I can’t imagine being anywhere else.
Before you go, Mrs Merryweather, where were you when the gamma ray hit Earth? What did you think was happening?
Luckily I was inside the house when it hit, unlike the poor mistress who was in the walled garden. I had no idea what was happening. I understand now that the government had prepared for it. However the likes of me weren’t told.
We had to move to an underground shelter to begin with. But it was not long before the master arranged for the bio-dome to be built.
It was good to be back in the house again, even if we could not see the sky. Looking back, I guess we were lucky; it could have been a lot worse. Lots of people died, my husband was out at sea when it happened. He never came back.
What is your full name? Do you have a nickname?
My name is Peter. I don’t have a nickname, or at least not one I know of. LOL
I give the robots I make names that suit them.
There’s FRANK – my dog. I think I have already told you what FRANK stands for. It is certainly explained in the book!
Hercules is really strong and can bend anything, I named him after the Greek hero Heracles, who was the son of Zeus. My father was keen on the old myths and legends of the Greeks.
I have some more robots I made which live at home and help mother with her gardening. There is Luna, who works in the night. I named her after the moon she’s just a basic security robot, not that we need security really.
Mrs Merrywether has keys – his name suits him as he is like a key, he can change his hand to move and make any key shape, but also he can open anything, even safes.
Aberdeen has a robot snake that’s really cool, she grew up with a guardian robot that did everything for her.
And shut in the secret garden was Ben, who is a gardener. Oh and there is Aaron the bird robot, he just appears randomly; he’s friendly, but is wild like a real bird and does not belong to anyone.
is your hair color?
My hair is dark and has blue tips to it. My sister Maisy cuts it for me. Aberdeen loved my hair and bugged Maisy to cut it for her and dye it blue at the ends also. It was such an honor to have Aberdeen style her hair like mine.
is in your refrigerator right now?
No idea!! Nothing very special that’s for sure. Since the disaster happened, we mostly live on reconstituted mushrooms. The best thing I like to eat is strawberry jam and marmalade. Aberdeen loves marmalade also, she had never tasted it before she came to Earth.
are the people you are closest to?
Maisy is probably the person I am closest to. We are the most nearest in age. My other brothers and sisters of course and Mother. Verne, my oldest brother and I are quite close. He was the one who found me after the death of my birth parents. He is really clever, works on the power grid. It’s dangerous work and he’s out in all weather. Verne gives must of his money to Mother but he has told me he is saving up, and when he gets enough together he’s buying an old car and we are going to fix it up together. I build robots out of bits and bobs, and Verne and I have a few ideas for this car. It’s not going to be ordinary, it is going to be awesome.
I have become really fond of Aberdeen and Lenard too since meeting them. We have a fantastic little gang!
is your biggest fear?
My birth parents were killed when there was a bad storm. A tree fell on their workshop. I guess I have never really got over it, as whenever there is a storm, I don’t like to go out in it. I also worry if Maisy or any of the others go out and there is a storm.
is your most treasured possession?
Well, this is a secret, I am not sure that anyone knows this. My most treasured possession is a soft toy that’s in the shape of a horse. My mother knitted him for me when she was pregnant with me, and she used to tell me that she always tucked it in my cot every night to watch over me.
I have a photo of me as a new born baby and the hand knitted horse in in the cot next to me looked nearly as big as me in the photo.
I called the horse, Clumpy Plumpy; I can’t remember why. LOL. When I was a small child I used to always have it tucked up in bed with me. It used to smell of my mother’s perfume. Now I am older, it lives in a box under my bed. Sometimes I take it out to look at it, but the perfume smell has all gone now, it smells a bit old. But I will never throw it out, as Clumpy Plumpy is my most treasured possession
talent would you most like to have?Do you know what, this may sound like an odd talent to ask for, but I would love to be better at time keeping. I get distracted so easily and am always late for things.
Dear Reader If you have any questions for these or any Character from the book Garden please leave a comment at the bottom of this page and I will ask them for you. Thank you. Jane
I believe that ”Garden” will be made into a film.
English actor Paul Redfern Paul a most talented Actor Has read Garden and will be playing the role of Mrs Merryweather, and I know he will be super at it and is sure to win an Oscar for it.
Paul is a versatile Actor who has many outstanding performances so far. Please check out his facebook page. Paul is also has a top of the range steampunk jewellery collection.
Garden Book Trailer
I made a necklace, out of second hand one which i took apart and rearranged and add a few extra bits. It was inspired by the Paul Redfern collection. Paul has made me the necklace show below on a new Daisy, which is inspired by my book Garden which part of the money from sales will go to making Garden into a film.
My friend and very talented photographer Eve Swanevelder who is local based, and is an amazing wedding photographer, If any of you are getting married out there? Is coming soon to take some real photos. http://www.oxfordshirephotography.org/
Photo’s of people with my book Garden
Dan Thompson, English poet and my hero.
Emily Yates Artist
Radio Star Irish Jinger
Below Garden Held by Ant a film maker
Maisy. She was the inspiration for the character Masiy in the book.
Dan with Garden. Dan was the first editor of Garden.
#Gratitude to Shari Klase
Just found this photo on my phone YAY! Mum and Daughter Janet and Emma. Not sure who the other lady was, but she bought Garden at a book signing event 2015.