‘The Garden Lady’ Isn’t Your Average Diva [REVIEW]


Beauty can bloom even in the most forlorn places. (Photo by Russ Morris, Flickr)

A fashion icon whose beauty is fading. A best friend who is unshakably loyal. And a businessman who protects his secrets above all else. When their worlds collide, will it end in disaster or in a romance for the ages? Find out in Susan Dworkin’s new novel, The Garden Lady. 

Susan Dworkin's THE GARDEN LADY

Divided Light Projects, LLC

If Maxie Dash looks familiar to you, it might be because she’s the face that has launched a thousand ads. Renowned for her striking good looks and stunning body, she’s had a long and successful career making the fashion industry some serious bank. Or perhaps you recognize her from the last time you visited a museum and saw those unforgettable nude photos her first husband took of her so many years ago. Wherever you’ve seen her, her face is probably emblazoned on your neural pathways somewhere.

But now that Maxie is getting up in years, at least according to her chosen profession, she realizes that something’s got to give if she wants to keep living the life she’s grown accustomed to. After all, models who reach a certain age aren’t in demand like they used to be. So what’s a gal to do? Find an eligible and wealthy bachelor to sweep her off her feet, of course. Nothing like a little wedded bliss to provide financial security.

When she meets Albert, he seems perfect. Not only do they love all the same music and philanthropies, but he loves to indulge her spending habits and projects, like building gardens on top of a toxic dump in New Jersey. But there’s a catch… Albert has secrets. Lots of them. Ones he’s not willing to share. And if Maxie wants to stay married to him, she can’t ask any questions. Yet as suspicions of heinous crimes start to arise, sometimes a wife has to risk it all and pull her head firmly out of the sand and face the truth. But what will that mean for Maxie in the long run? Find out in The Garden Lady. 

As my first encounter with Dworkin’s writing, The Garden Lady provides an intelligent, insightful, caustically funny slice of women’s fiction that is as bold and brassy as it is engaging. Initially, Maxie is reminiscent of a Jackie Collins character, one which is unabashedly glamorous and who isn’t afraid to take life by the horns and make her own rules. Yet she’s more than just another diva. She has a conscience, despite her faults, and that is what makes her compelling to read and why readers will want to see what becomes of her.

However, The Garden Lady is a very short read. Clocking in at only 220 pages, it feels like more of a novella than a full-blown novel. Because there is so much action, so many plot twists, and loads of characters milling about within the short span of the book, it can become confusing at times trying to keep up with everyone because they are so concisely described. Yet the idea behind the book is  good, thus it left me wanting more, including ample time with this intriguing cast which would allow Dworkin to flesh out the storyline a bit more. It all just seems a bit rushed and reads more like a treatment for a movie of the week than the potential potboiler it is.

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Susan Dworkin

Susan Dworkin


Susan Dworkin wrote the New York Times bestseller The Nazi Officer’s Wife, a tale of love and terror in the Third Reich, with the woman who lived the story, the late Edith Hahn Beer Other books include Making Tootsie, the inside story of the great film comedy with Dustin Hoffman and Sydney Pollack; The Viking in the Wheat Field about the eminent seed banker, Dr. Bent Skovmand; Miss America, 1945, Bess Myerson’s story; Stolen Goods, a novel of love and larceny in the 80s; and The Commons, about an agrarian revolt led by a pop star and set in the not-so-distant future.

Susan was a long-time contributing editor to Ms. Magazine. Her plays are often performed in regional theatres. A longtime resident of New Jersey, she now lives in Massachusetts.

To find out more about Susan, visit her home on the Web at SusanDworkin.com. You may also like her on Facebook and follow her on LinkedIn.

By Susan Dworkin
220 pp. Divided Light Projects, LLC. $14.99

TLC Book Tours Tour HostPurchase The Garden Lady at one of these fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

The Garden Lady is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

4 Responses to ‘The Garden Lady’ Isn’t Your Average Diva [REVIEW]

  1. Pingback: Lemon Ice for The Garden Lady « Eliot's Eats

  2. eliotthecat says:

    I agree with the review. I really enjoyed the first half of the book but the last half left me asking “What?”

  3. Sara Strand says:

    I love that it’s a short novel but full of action… I’m going to have to put this one on my list. Thanks for being on this tour!

    Sara @ TLC Book Tours

  4. Pingback: Susan Dworkin, author of The Garden Lady, on tour March/April 2019 | TLC Book Tours

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