I LOVE books. I love gardens too, especially mysterious old gardens with twisty turning paths and strange statuary and secret grottoes of flowers. I love history and old things, especially the sort of old things one finds in the poky corners of antique shops and in dusty old attics. And I love things that smack of magic, be it fairy tale transformations or quirky oddness a la Wonderland. When I find a book that combines all of those things in one place, well, let’s just say I am one happy, happy bookworm.
Chess Dream In A Garden is just that sort of book. For starters, it was written by Rosemary Sutcliff, which rocketed it to the top of my TBR list by that virtue alone. She is That Sort of Writer. If you aren’t acquainted with her work already, I highly recommend it. She wrote historical fiction, mostly focusing on Roman era Britain, and her ability to bring the past to life is uncanny. Her books are not always easy reads (they use challenging vocabulary and poetic imagery), but they are the sort that engulf and engross the reader and cause you to lose yourself in a world of the author’s making. Despite their antiquitous subject matter, she injects them with deeper, timeless themes of the universal human struggles of personality and power that make them relevant and relatable to modern readers. Although most of them are classified as kid lit, they are equally enjoyable to adults.