Garden of Thorns by Lillian Stewart Carl Book Review

Garden of Thorns

Book Review by Debbie Winkler

Series: sequel to Dust to Dust, but with different protagonists, can be read as a stand-alone
Author: Lillian Stewart Carl
Publisher: IUniverse (June 9, 2000)
ISBN: 0595094473, EAN: 9780595094479
Page Count: 352 pages
Format: paperback

Target Age Group: adults
My Rating: 4/5 stars, A Haunting Novel of Fatal Passion…


Mark Owen was excited that Hilary Chase had chosen to accept a position cataloguing the Coburg collecting in Fort Worth, TX, his hometown. They had met on a previous dig in Scotland (in Dust to Dust) and there was a definite attraction between the two. Mark was trying to take things slowly so that Hilary would not be frightened of physical intimacy and men in general. Hilary was trying to not be frightened of Mark and his need for a more physical relationship, but she still had not recovered from her rape years before. As Mark and Hilary try to sort out boundaries in their relationship, they also become more involved in the history of the Osborne House, where two women had mysteriously died in murders that were never solved. Mark was helping to supervise the dig and Hilary was cataloguing Coburg treasures, both of which had links in the past. But someone did not want them to delve any deeper into the past and would stop at nothing, not even murder, to keep the past buried…


Garden of Thorns was an entertaining gothic romance/mystery, but it was not of the same caliber as Ashes to Ashes or Dust to Dust, where we meet Mark and Hilary for the first time. I didn’t really have any feelings for the main characters and so wasn’t really rooting for them to get together, but didn’t mind if they did. They mystery was really good, though. In fact, Carl is very good at having a main mystery and then filling in the gaps of the story with a lot of little sub plots and secondary characters that really make the book enjoyable. Also, Carl gives the reader some good background information on the Fort Worth area and educates the reader on archaeology and artifacts all without the reader even being aware that they are being taught, which is a nice side benefit. If you enjoy romantic mysteries, you will enjoy this one, but keep in mind that her other romantic mysteries are much better.


This book deals with rape and its aftermath, murder mysteries, some scary, intense situations and the slow development of romance between two independent individuals. There are not really any gory details and some of the topics are glossed over a bit so this book is still relatively clean. Appropriate for readers ages 14 and up.

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Filed under Mystery Books, Romance Books

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