NEW BOOK: The Gardener’s Daughter

Share on

Compelling tale of abandonment and the search for love and identity
A quest to find a father and a place called home
Weaves core biblical themes into an exciting plot
Shows forgiveness and grace triumph over evil 

A survey carried out by the Bible Society showed that children and parents were largely ignorant of the contents of the Bible (BBC News, February 2014). 800 children aged eight to 15 and more than 1,000 parents were polled, the results of which showed that almost one third had no knowledge of the story of creation or of the crucifixion of Christ.

This is compounded by the influence of political correctness which has further led to restrictions on Christians sharing their faith in the workplace, particularly in schools. Author Kathryn Hitchins volunteered for a time with a Christian organisation that goes into secondary schools to help with assemblies, religious education lessons and Christian Unions. They were not allowed to directly present the gospel but were only given permission to respond to students’ questions.

She says, ‘Whatever question the children asked, they lacked the background knowledge of the Bible required for a quick answer. So we had to incorporate a potted overview of the Bible from creation, fall, incarnation, sacrifice, repentance, salvation and eternal life. All the best questions seemed to happen in the last few minutes of the sessions, which robbed us of the opportunity to continue the discussion.’

Kathryn, whose previous two novels were short-listed for Woman Alive Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award 2017, decided to write a book which, on the surface, would be a young adult adventure, but would weave in the thematic sweep of the Bible, from creation and fall through sacrifice, repentance, forgiveness and restoration, so that in any later discussion someone could say in answer to their question, ‘It’s a bit like …’ referring to an aspect of the plot, until they were able to go away and read more of the Bible for themselves.

Kathryn writes, ‘This book is targeted at young adults with the aim of conveying Christian truth through fiction in a subtle and non-preachy way. However, it can also be read by adults, and I hope it will help people have a better understanding of the Christian gospel and want to encounter Jesus for themselves.’

The story’s central theme is identity and touches on fatherhood. Motherless nineteen-year-old Ava has always believed brilliant botanist Theo Gage to be her father. But when a chance discovery reveals she is not his daughter, her world falls apart. Determined to discover her true identity, Ava impetuously runs away and enlists the help of inexperienced private detective, Zavier Marshall. Pursued by shadowy figures, she takes on a new name and follows in her dead mother’s footsteps to work at the mysterious Fun World Holiday Camp. Penniless and cut off from everything she’s ever known, and trapped in a deadly game of cat and mouse with a ruthless criminal gang, will Ava survive in a world where she’s more valuable dead than alive? Will she discover the shocking truth behind her mother’s death? And will she find her real father before it’s too late?

Christian themes are subtly woven into the story, allowing the book to be read as a gripping thriller or as a metaphor for salvation.

What reviewers say:
‘Grab a hot drink and send out for a pizza before starting this – you won’t want to put it down before the end. A gripping story with vivid characters and a satisfying outcome, plus real wisdom to make you think. I loved this book. It’s a corker.’
Penelope Wilcock, author of The Hawk and the Dove series

The Gardener’s Daughter is a poignant story of loss, searching, exile and return. Get on the ride to damnation or salvation and you will not be able to step off until the very last page.’
Dr Anne Richards, National Advisor for Mission Theology for the Church of England

‘K A Hitchins has done it again! This beautifully crafted story was all absorbing, and I thought about it long after I had put it down. I thoroughly recommend it to everyone who loves a good read.’
Hazel Paine, author of Soulsight and Soulvision

‘An all-round fabulous read you do not want to miss.’
The Gardener’s Daughter by K.A. Hitchins (ISBN: 9781909728820) is published by Instant Apostle and available on 15th March 2018 from Christian bookshops, bookstores and online retailers. Fiction, 336pp, £8.99.


  • K A Hitchins

    K A Hitchins studied English, Religious Studies and Philosophy at Lancaster University and obtained a Masters in Postmodern Literatures in...

  • The Gardener's Daughter

    K A Hitchins

    Motherless nineteen-year-old Ava has always believed brilliant botanist, Theo Gage to be her father. But when a chance discovery reveals she is not...