Monday, February 12, 2024

*Review* The Secret Garden of Yanagi Inn by Amber Logan


Genre: Mystery
Published: November 15, 2022
Pages: 466

Cracked doesn’t always mean broken.

Grieving her mother’s death, Mari Lennox travels to Kyoto, Japan to take photographs of Yanagi Inn for a client. As she explores the inn and its grounds, her camera captures striking images, uncovering layers of mystery shrouding the old resort—including an overgrown, secret garden on a forbidden island. But then eerie weeping no one else in the inn seems to hear starts keeping her awake at night.

Despite the warnings of the staff, Mari searches the deep recesses of the old building to discover the source of the ghostly sound, only to realize that her own family’s history is tied to the inn, its mysterious, forlorn garden . . . and the secrets it holds.

I received a copy of this audiobook through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

I listened to this audiobook over three months ago, and I still think about it often. For me, it was a ghost story wrapped up in a mystery. There were a lot of things about the story that didn't seem to make much sense at first, like why Mari was invited to take photos of Yanagi Inn in the first place, since the owner seems to avoid it as much as possible. But as I learned more about the inn and Mari's connection to it, everything made so much more sense. I imagine a second reading/listen with the knowledge I now have would reveal some details and clues that I missed on my first listen. 

Although the story got off to a slow start for me, once Mari started exploring the inn, I was drawn into the story in a big way. I wanted to know why she was so strongly discouraged from roaming around the grounds and why she kept hearing crying in the middle of the night. I was excited to see the reactions to her secret project. I really just wanted to ignore my responsibilities and keep listening. 

The narration fit the character perfectly, at least the way I pictured the character in my mind. Although it's possible the narrators voice led to the picture in my head. Overall I give The Secret Garden of Yanagi Inn 4.99836 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

Amber A. Logan is a university instructor, freelance editor, and author of speculative fiction living in Kansas with her husband and two children—Fox and Willow. In addition to her degrees in Psychology, Liberal Arts, and International Relations, Amber holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge.

When she’s not writing, Amber enjoys trips to Japan, exploring unusual vegetarian foods, and reading Haruki Murakami.

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