Edith Stoker’s father is building a wall in their backyard. A very, very high wall—a brick bulwark in his obsessive war against their hated neighbour Edward Black.
It is 1969, and far away, preparations are being made for man to walk upon the moon. Meanwhile, in the Stokers’ shabby home in the East Midlands, Edith remains a virtual prisoner, with occasional visits from her grotesque and demanding Aunt Vivian serving as the only break in the routine.
But when shy, sheltered Edith begins to quietly cultivate a garden in the shadow of her father’s wall, she sets in motion events that might gain her independence... and bring her face to face with the mysterious Edward Black.
Rosie Chard’s followup to her award-winning debut Seal Intestine Raincoat unfolds like a grown-up take on The Secret Garden, an engrossing, often mordantly funny portrait of a young woman who miraculously finds her own pathway to freedom within the most stifling of environs.
Praise to The Insistent Garden
"Blood feuds and family secrets boil under the respectable surface of 1960s small town England in Chard's second novel ... While the lead up is long, readers who persevere are rewarded with a satisfying and well-crafted dénouement."
~ Publishers Weekly
"Has all the simplicity and lingering menace of a Victorian fairy tale ... [i]t evolves quietly into a cross between rosy mystery and romance that carries its sheltered protagonist to the threshold of the bigger world."
~ Dave Williamson, Winnipeg Free Press
"If you take nothing away from The Insistent Garden other than the desire to plant a bed of blue flowers and a feeling of deep unease, you will know the conflicted heart of Edith Stoker, and Chard will have done her job."
~ Angela Hickman, National Post
"The novel is populated by baroque characters, vivid in their oddity, but they are not allowed to distract us from Edith, for this is the story of a lonely, marginalized individual in transition, the beginning of the rest of a life."
~ Margaret Thompson, The Coastal Spectator