The discovery of a secret garden with unknown powers fuels this page-turning and psychologically thrilling tale of women yearning to become mothers and the ways the female body has always been policed and manipulated, from the award-winning author of The Illness Lesson (“A masterpiece” – Elizabeth Gilbert)

Miscarriage, medical trauma.

In 1948, Irene Willard, who’s had five previous miscarriages in a quest to give her beloved husband the child he desperately desires and is now pregnant again, comes to an isolated house-cum-hospital in the Berkshires, run by a husband-and-wife team of doctors who are pioneering a cure for her condition. Warily, she enlists herself in the efforts of the Doctors Hall to “rectify the maternal environment,” both physical and psychological. In the meantime, she also discovers a long-forgotten walled garden on the spacious grounds, a place imbued with its own powers and pulls. As the doctors’ plans begin to crumble, Irene and her fellow patients make a desperate bid to harness the power of the garden for themselves—and must face the incalculable risks associated with such incalculable rewards.

With shades of Shirley Jackson and Rosemary’s Baby, The Garden delves into the territory of motherhood, childbirth, the mysteries of the female body, and the ways it has always been controlled and corralled.

Don't just take our word for it...

“Few novels of literary fiction are written as well as The Garden, let alone given its sadly relevant retro setting, a 1940s country-estate obstetrical program.”
– The LA Times, 10 Books for April

“The Garden renders beautifully the uncanny, haunted space that pregnancy both occupies and creates. Beams’s glancing, needle-prick prose reminds me of Shirley Jackson’s work in its ability to conjure up women–their histories, their fears, the complexity of their desires, and their power. I loved this novel.”
– Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble

“Clare Beams casts an intoxicating spell with The Garden, a gothic tale about nature’s dark whims and the unknowable chaos of matrescence. Prepare to be haunted.”
– Rachel Yoder, author of Nightbitch

Taste the very first page

The house held still, and behind it the garden rested, brown turning green.

Doctor and doctor, Mr. and Mrs., came out onto the steps to watch the approach. They did this when they could. Welcome made a difference.

Without turning to him she said, “Remember not to talk too much.”

As if he ever did or could or wanted to when she was there.

George and Irene drove toward the house that held their future and saw the doctor and doctor standing at the top of the main stair, right in the maw of the gaping door. That was the way things looked to Irene: the steps the tongue, the portico the brow, the facade the wide marble face.

George slowed the car, just enough, Irene feared, to be noticed. “Jesus,” he said. “What is this place? Why are they watching us like that?”

“Speed up. They’ll think we’re afraid of them.”

“Reny, we are.”

Fear wasn’t the feeling Irene had been aware of before this moment. But as the car neared and Irene kept an eye on the doctors, waiting for them to move, she understood that all along…