Reviews | Written by John Townsend 15/11/2021


Ghosts and gardening. Gardening and ghosts. Not a combination that springs to mind when one thinks of haunted house stories, but writer W. M. Cleese has germinated an idea to bring this Gothic story to fruition, and it’s better than you might think.

Seeking adventure and distance from her smothering family, Ursula journeys to Argentina and after a false start or two secures the position as Head Gardener at the long-abandoned and remote Las Lágrimas estate. The new Don is keen to bring the place back to life but there’s a reason it was abandoned, and that reason still lurks amongst the trees.

Firstly, it's important to note that The Haunting of Las Lágrimas isn’t scary. Not in a traditional sense that is. This is not the sort of ghost story that will give you nightmares after reading in bed at night, but it will plant some creepy ideas in your subconscious that may grow roots. In fact, in true Gothic style, this is really a love story, a young woman with a passion for planting and desperate to live up to the love and belief bestowed in her by her late grandfather. That there is some horticultural haunting going on in is almost secondary.

If you’re looking for a book to curl up with on a winter’s evening, perhaps with a sherry or a nice cup of tea, then Las Lágrimas could be what you’re looking for. There are few thrills and little in the way of real excitement, but it is an intriguing story that will keep you engaged until the end.

And if you like your gardening, well, there’s an awful lot of that.