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Helen Humphreys Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Leaving Earth (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Afterimage (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Lost Garden (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Wild Dogs (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Coventry (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Reinvention of Love (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Evening Chorus (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Machine Without Horses (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Rabbit Foot Bill (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Followed by the Lark (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

Publication Order of Collections

Gods and Other Mortals (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
Nuns Looking Anxious, Listening to Radios (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Perils of Geography (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Anthem (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The Frozen Thames (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Nocturne: on The Life And Death Of My Brother (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
True Story (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
The River (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Ghost Orchard (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Field Study: Meditations on a Year at the Herbarium (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
And a Dog Called Fig: Solitude, Connection, the Writing Life (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2016(2016)Description / Buy at Amazon

Helen Humphreys
Helen Humphreys is a fiction and non-fiction author best known for her poetic writing. Her most outstanding works include her debut novel, Leaving Earth that won the Toronto Book Award in 1998, and Afterimage, which won the Rogers Writer’s Trust prize for fiction in 2000. The Lost Garden novel also become a national bestseller shortly after it was published.

This talented author also has a few poetry collections to her name, including The Perils of Geography, Anthem, and Gods and Other mortals. Humphreys’ work has been translated into many languages, and she enjoys a wide readership across the globe.

Humphreys was born in England but currently lives in Ontario, Canada.
The Lost Garden
The Lost Garden stars Gwen Davis, a spinster in her mid-thirties who deeply dislikes literature. It is in 1941, and the effects of the war are being felt in London. Gwen, who previously worked in a horticulture center in the city, decides to move to the countryside.

She has a feeling that her beloved city will crumble as the war continues, and she doesn’t want to watch the German bombs destroy everything she loved about it.
Fortunately, jobs for a woman like her are easy to come by. Gwen accepts a position at an estate in Devon where she is supposed to supervise the growing of potatoes. However, she quickly realizes that the Land Girls she is supposed to train and supervise have little interest in farming.

Most of them are focused on the Canadian soldiers staying in the estate as they await their assignment.Gwen pairs herself with the Canadian commanding officer. Gwen easily wins the girls ‘ cooperation when she agrees to organize several dances to make it easier for the girls and soldiers to meet.
With her environment now under control, this woman knows it is only a matter of time before she accomplishes the mission that brought her to the countryside. However, she also makes two discoveries that drastically change her life.

First are the feelings she had never experienced before. The Canadian commanding officer arouses a fire in her she never thought possible. The second discovery is a secret garden that no one else knows about.

This garden isn’t even on the estate plan, which can only mean that someone wanted it to remain a secret. Who designed this secret garden, and why did they keep it hidden?

This is a captivating story characterized by beautiful writing, well-developed characters, and loads of historical references. Gwen is such a no-nonsense person, but she is also easy to love. The story comes with a melancholy tone that makes it touching. Most of the characters have been changed by the war, and they know it’s impossible to go back.

This is a story of love, loss, and longing. It is a part tribute to Virgins Woolf and part mystery thanks to the secret garden. As the story about Gwen and others unfolds, the author also explores the depth of gardening and its associated mysteries. It is impressive how committed Gwen is to farming and ensuring that every garden on the estate is restored.

The Lost Garden is a captivating story of life and its unexpected twists and turns. It is a story about love and how it moves from one place or person to another and across space and time. Just like a plant, love has to be cultivated to grow.

Whatever isn’t cultivated dies, but this doesn’t stop life from moving. The writing in this story is poetic, and you will want to keep reading and interacting with characters all over again.

The Evening Chorus
The Evening Chorus tells the story of three people and their experiences during and after the second world war. James, Rose, and Enid are affected by the war in different ways, and they are forced to adjust to the circumstances as they come. However, even as the world around them is family apart, nature goes on unbothered.

James Hunter is downed on his first mission and taken captive by the Germans. To pass the time and lessen the effects of staying in prison, James, an avid birdwatcher, spends his time studying redstarts that built their nests at the edge of the camp. It is incredible what a difference these little creatures bring to his life. Many prisoners lose their lives trying to escape, but James stays put for five years until he is called to the Kommandant’s office.
Next is Rose, James’s new wife. James is taken away too soon after their marriage. Rose doesn’t have any memory of her husband to hold on to now that she is all alone. Fortunately, her cottage right next to the Ashdown forest becomes the escape she needs. Amid the devastation around her, Rose finds freedom in nature and often thinks about her beloved father.

Lastly, there is James’s sister Enid. During the Blitz, Enid loses everything, including her lover, job, and house. With nowhere else to go, Enid seeks shelter in her brother’s house. Enid and Rose stay together for years, and a beautiful friendship is born out of their interaction. However, both women have secrets that they guard jealously.

This book is a meditation on war, the human condition, and our deep connection to nature. Set in England in the 1940s, the story paints an accurate picture of what life was like for people who lived during these difficult times.
Gradually, the author reveals the characters’ lives and shows how uplifting nature can be when nothing else makes sense. There are enough life lessons in these characters’ experiences, and from their stories, it is clear that change is the only constant.

While this is a simple story, you will quickly become immersed in the characters’ lives. The author slowly draws you in, makes you care for her characters, and get invested in their lives. Amazingly, all the characters find freedom and peace even in confinement. The ending will leave you wanting to know more about what happens to James, Rose, and Enid after the war is over.

The Evening Chorus is a captivating story on war, life, and nature. It is an enticing novel that highlights the experiences of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances. If you are birds or nature lover, you will find this book irresistible. Humphreys’ writing is flawless, and she lets you into her characters’ lives in wonderful prose.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Helen Humphreys

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