The Illegal Gardener – Book 1 in The Greek Village Collection.

The Illegal Gardener - Book One of the Greek Village Series
The Illegal Gardener - Book One of the Greek Village Series

Book One of the Greek Village Collection.

Driven by a need for some control in her life, Juliet sells up on impulse and buys a dilapidated farmhouse in a tiny Greek village, leaving her English life behind.

The house is habitable by local standards, but the job of restoring the garden is too big. It requires strength. Juliet cannot bring it to life on her own.

Around the olive tree, hidden beneath the covering of bindweeds, are mattresses, broken chairs, shepherds’ crooks, and old goat bells, the remains of past lives intertwined in a slow decay. The beauty of the garden is lost with the years of neglect and no one to appreciate it.

Juliet reluctantly enlists casual labour. She has no desire to share her world with anyone. The boys have grown, Mick has gone. This is her time now.

Aaman has travelled to Greece from Pakistan illegally. His task is to find work and raise money for the harvester his village desperately needs to deliver them out of poverty. Poverty that is sending the younger generation to the cities, dividing families, and slowly destroying his community.

What he imagined would be a heroic journey in reality is fraught with danger and corruption. He finds himself in Greece and follows the work, a little here, a little there. As time passes, he loses his sense of self. He is now an immigrant worker, illegal, displaced, unwanted, with no value. Some days he does not have enough money to feed himself, let alone to return home to Pakistan.

In the village square, he waits for work, dawn not even broken.

Juliet hires Aaman.

Neither is entirely comfortable with their role. Juliet the Westerner, who has money and a valid passport, resents the intrusion even though she wants her garden cleared. Aaman needs the work and money but resents the humiliation.

As the summer progresses, even though they are from vastly different backgrounds, cultures apart, they discover they have something in common, an event that has defined how they interact and even how they view themselves.

Pieces of their lives they have kept hidden even from themselves are exposed. They are each other’s catalysts to facing their own ghosts…

  1. Hi Sara,

    I just finished reading all 4 of your Greek Village series and I am in love with the village, the people and I want more! I went to Amazon hoping there was a book 5….but, but….I was disappointed. I really hope you are writing another!

    These books to me, are like pulling up a chair at a friend’s home and listening to them tell me a story about their life. The stories flow seamlessly and pulled me in immediately, leaving me wonder what I’d find on the next page ~ would it be friendship? Would it be heartbreak, joy or just the wonderful enjoyment of sitting with the sun on your face? I found all of those and just can’t get enough! I have recommended your books to all my friends and can’t wait to read another one.

  2. Hi Sara! I’ve just started “The Illegal Gardener” and am enjoying it very much. I lived in Greece for 20 years where I was a tour guide then an English teacher. I spent lots of summers in the Mani and have guided trips to Mystras, Pylos, Ancient Olympia, Methoni and Monemvasia. I had to leave because of family reasons and the economic crisis. I hope to go back. I collect books like yours with a contemporary Greek theme and also love Anne Zouroudi and Marjory McGinn’s books. Please keep writing them. I speak Greek and do some translation/interpreting work. All the best, Elizabeth (McIndoe)

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      So many people have had to leave Greece because of the economic crisis. It’s a real shame, and of course as those with talents leave there is a ‘brain drain’ that does nothing to help the situation.

      But the Greeks have endured worse and will get through it! (And the sun’s still shining…)

      Sara

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