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The Garden of Eden


The Garden of Eden

Young state policeman Sam Neely has been assigned to the tiny
village of Eden (population: 47) where he fears he will go mad with
boredom. But he never gets that opportunity, because things start
happening immediately.

Eden banker Ed Harris arrives home unexpectedly to find his best
friend, Hayden Elkins, in bed with Ed's wife, Anne. With a gun
pointed at them, Ed orders Anne to pack her belongings. Anne, he
announces, will now live with Hayden, who will treat her as a wife.
When Hayden reminds Ed that he already has a wife, Ed replies that
now he has two. Ed orders Hayden to make Anne happy. And so the
couple head home to Hayden's wife, Matilda, who faints when she
hears the news.

The town is abuzz with the news of Hayden and his two wives. Some
of the more upright women approach Trooper Neely to swear out a
complaint of bigamy against Hayden, and a complaint of felony
menacing against gun-toting Ed. Neely must investigate. When Neely
interviews Anne, she blithely divulges how she and Matilda plan to
divide their wifely duties, with Matilda doing the housework, Anne
washing the windows, and so on.

That is just the beginning of the happenings in Eden, the young
policeman discovers. There's gorgeous Crystal Ice, with whom Neely
falls madly in love. There's also a young retarded Peeping Tom, a
wealthy author who has escaped from city life, and a deputy sheriff
who has quite the photo collection. And then there's the comely
woman preacher, who has an amazing secret.

As one might expect from the author's name, the book is written
under a pseudonym, which drove me into a frenzy of deciding on the
identity of the writer. After some research, I discovered I was way
off on my guess of the author ("Eve Adams" is the pseudonym for
bestselling thriller writer Stephen Coonts --- who would have
guessed??) The book reminds me very much of the Mitford series by
Jan Karon, although THE GARDEN OF EDEN is a bit racier. Like the
Mitford stories, the characters' lives fit together in a pleasing
manner, which is very satisfying and uplifting. Besides the
interesting characters, a decidedly Southern backdrop, plenty of
understated humor, and a lively pace make this a pleasurable

I have one small quibble: all the women of note are extraordinarily
gorgeous goddesses. Descriptions of these beauteous lasses wore
thin rapidly, and made the characters seem less real. Despite this
minor drawback, I thoroughly enjoyed losing myself in THE GARDEN OF

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon ( on January 22, 2011

The Garden of Eden
by Eve Adams

  • Publication Date: May 1, 2005
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • ISBN-10: 0312323638
  • ISBN-13: 9780312323639