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YA Review: Keeper of the Forest (The Lost Garden Book 1) – A Growing Adventure


Keeper of the Forest Book Review

D.K. Holmberg’s Keeper of the Forest is Book 1 in a trilogy that begins the story of Eris Taeresin, a girl who is tasked by the Mistress of Flowers with finding  her “flower,” the one that speaks to her personality. When she finds her flower, she can take lessons with the Mistress of Flowers. However, the Mistress continues to reject Eris’ choices. This puts Eris on the fringe of her family and makes her a bit of black sheep. Her friendship with one of the gardeners raises a few eyebrows as well. Add this to a threat from mages coveting the kingdom, Eris finds herself in situations she never imagined.

Throughout the book, I found the flower imagery and the magic they hold an interesting plot point and loved the descriptions of the flowers in the garden. Gardeners and their keepers protect the land from evil magic, most of whom have been killed by power hungry mages. Eris, of course, stumbles into the plot by accident which sets up her own adventure in this imaginative world. The book is rather slow, but not ill-conceived. I just felt like I was waiting around for something big to happen most of the way through. There were spots of action, like when Eris finally finds her flower and her sister gets married. The real action, however, takes place at the end of the book with a magic showdown and revelations about Eris’s place in the world. Still, if you prefer a faster pace, then this book isn’t for you.

As far as characterization goes, I liked Eris’s character because she is a bit of an outsider. She has seemingly perfect peers who are way ahead of her in looks and in the Mistress’s classes. Because of this, her mother and father despair of ever marrying her off or finding her some place in the kingdom. Eris (much to the disappointment of her parents) spends most her time in the vast gardens talking with Terran, one of the castle’s gardeners. This earns her derision from her family and the Mistress of Flowers. Eris is kindhearted and knows she doesn’t fit in with the rest of family, and while this saddens her, it doesn’t stop her from completing her goal of finding her flower and saving her homeland. I admire Eris’s guts and dedication in the book. She is a heroine most young women can relate to and understand.

There is also a hint of romance in the book. Terran and Eris become fast friends and there is some attraction implied. Eris enjoys seeing his smile and does help him in a big way near the end of the book (I don’t want to give away a big spoiler). Eris is just not used to romance and doesn’t know quite how to act on it. She is a princess and he is gardener so that presents some social class issues. Still, the scenes Eris and Terran have together are light-hearted and make you eager to see where the two will end up.

Overall, this book is a fun read and perfect for fantasy and flower lovers. However, I don’t think the first book would make a great movie or TV show. There just wasn’t enough plot twists and actions to fill in a movie. Eris does spend most of her time roaming around the garden.


Four corset rating

“Hello, Gorgeous.”


three heart rating

“Happiness in marriage is entirely a

matter of chance.”

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By on December 3rd, 2015

About Mandi Harris

Mandi Harris is a freelance writer and blogger. If she isn't writing, she has her nose in a book. Books are her ultimate addiction. Her other weaknesses include period dramas, chocolate, and her pets. She is working on her own novels now and hopes to one day get published. You can read her book blog over at thepennedpiper.com.

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