The Walled Garden

American grad student Lucy Silver arrives in England hoping to solve a longstanding literary mystery, write her dissertation, and finish her graduate studies in a blaze of academic glory. But as Lucy starts to piece together the correspondence between her late grandmother and Elizabeth Blackspear, the famous poet and garden writer who’s the subject of Lucy’s dissertation, she discovers puzzling coded references in the letters—and when an elderly English aristocrat with a secret connection to Elizabeth offers Lucy access to a neglected walled garden on his estate, the mystery deepens.

As spring turns to summer in Bolton Lacey, Lucy finds herself fighting the Blackspear Gardens’ director’s attempt to deny her access to vital documents in the archives and trying not to fall in love with an attractive Scottish contractor. In the midst of this turmoil, she stumbles upon an illicit plot to turn the historic gardens into a theme park, and becomes determined to stop it. As she races against time to save the gardens, Lucy’s search for the truth about Elizabeth’s life leads her to a French convent where she uncovers explosive evidence that will change her life and the lives of everyone around her, ultimately revealing a home—and an inheritance—more incredible than anything she could ever have imagined.

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Praise for The Walled Garden

Part literary mystery, part love story, part gently ironic send-up of both, The Walled Garden captures our American tendency to romanticize all things British, particularly lush gardens, eccentric poets, Oxford, and aristocrats. Maass deftly manages to weave them all together is this witty, absorbing, warmly intelligent novel. One to savor on a long summer afternoon by the backyard roses.

Suzanne Berne, author of The Dogs of Littlefield

The Walled Garden is a truly atmospheric novel; it’s a mystery with the lyrical beauty of a spring day and the yearning of a young and broken heart. It is equal parts gorgeous and poignant, and this sadness weaves the reality of a close group together. . . It is a beautiful novel, but above all, it is powerful and memorable. A joy to read both for the story that it tells and the way in which it tells it, The Walled Garden is a thoughtful, provocative piece not to be missed. Highly recommended.

Readers Lane

This is a well-researched love story with multiple plot twists. Readers will enjoy the solving the mystery behind Elizabeth, Amanda, and their friend Sir Edmund, three layered, likable characters who were no strangers to loss. Fans of Susan Monk Kidd who like books with themes of love and secrets after death will enjoy this read.


Robin Farrar Maass is a terrific writer whose voice and vision will hold you captive from page one. But this mystery is more than a page-turner: it’s also an exquisite portrait of a young woman who is, truly and finally, seeking to solve the mystery of herself and discover who she is. This is a wonderful book. Read it!

Bret Lott, New York Times bestselling author of Jewel and Dead Low Tide

The narrative drops enough hints to ease the audience through its twists; anticipating the young detective’s discoveries as she works toward a happy ending for her grandmother, her new friends, and herself is engaging. The Walled Garden is a gentle novel about forbidden love and the cost of keeping secrets.

Foreword Reviews

All the more impressive when considering that The Walled Garden is author Robin Farrar Maass’ debut as a novelist, this remarkably well crafted and fully engaging story that deftly combines an historical mystery with elements of a coming of age saga and of college romance. A perfect choice for a summer recreational novel, The Walled Garden is an original, entertaining, and unreservedly recommended addition to community library collections.

Midwest Book Review