Small Eden – Jane Davis

Smash All the Windows.     A Funeral for an Owl.     I Stopped Time.

Just when you think Jane Davis can’t get any better, she comes out with a new book.

In Small Eden, her latest release, Davis employs her subtle, sometimes sparse style, to masterful effect as she weaves a spellbinding tale of one man’s dream, his success and failure.

Davis explores the terrible tragedy of grief. Isolating themselves from each other after the death of their young sons, husband and wife grow apart; a gulf that defies healing. Will the pleasure garden Robert builds bridge that gap?

Robert’s wife and daughters, his employees and their families are impacted by his decisions, sometimes uplifted by his success and suffering their own disappointments and downfalls when he fails.

Davis has truly captured the realities of life and our interconnectedness in this novel.  


A boy with his head in the clouds. A man with a head full of dreams.

‘With an eye for precise detail balanced by a sweeping imagination, this beautifully constructed book is built on deep foundations.’ – JJ Marsh, author of the Beatrice Stubbs Series

1884. The symptoms of scarlet fever are easily mistaken for teething, as Robert Cooke and his pregnant wife Freya discover at the cost of their two infant sons. Freya immediately isolates for the safety of their unborn child. Cut off from each other, there is no opportunity for husband and wife to teach each other the language of their loss. By the time they meet again, the subject is taboo. But unspoken grief is a dangerous enemy. It bides its time.

A decade later and now a successful businessman, Robert decides to create a pleasure garden in memory of his sons, in the very same place he found refuge as a boy – a disused chalk quarry in Surrey’s Carshalton. But instead of sharing his vision with his wife, he widens the gulf between them by keeping her in the dark. It is another woman who translates his dreams. An obscure yet talented artist called Florence Hoddy, who lives alone with her unmarried brother, painting only what she sees from her window…


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