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Publisher's Summary

A hidden family legacy. An enchanted relic. An ancient magic just waking up.

Julia Giardano's ordinary life changes in an instant when she feels an inner mystical force awaken. Her father tells her she's a witch, but before he can reveal the family secret behind her powers, he's murdered in cold blood.

Armed with only three clues from her father's dying breath, Julia leaves her California hometown to seek out her ancient inheritance on shores of the Mediterranean. Along her quest, Julia teams up with a handsome Russian parapsychologist. Together, they explore her budding psychic talents...and their forbidden attraction. As they travel closer to her ancestral Tuscan village and a mighty relic hidden at its heart, her father's murderer follows in close pursuit.

With time running out, Julia must fulfill her legacy before the killer claims another victim...and the gift of immortality.

The Gardens is the first book in the riveting Witches of Tuscany supernatural suspense series. If you like mysterious paranormal realms, lush international settings, and irresistible romance, then you'll love Alexis Masters' visionary thriller.

Buy The Gardens to lose yourself in a spellbinding adventure of legacy and love today!

©2017 Alexis Masters (P)2018 Alexis Masters

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Looking forward to the next one!

A very enchanting and thrilling novel about a young woman learning about her family and the powers the woman has. After the death of her father, she heads to Italy to find out more about her cultural heritage of witches. Yet, things go array and one from the past is determined to stop her. Will he? Can he? You must listen to this audiobook to find out and you will not be disappointed. I look forward to the next novel in the series.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic Paranormal Mystery!

As a professional Clinical Parapsychologist (and psychologist) myself, I especially appreciated the character Andrei Anatolin—a former Russian Parapsychologist. . . His (and the author’s) easy knowledge on the subject was clearly well researched and well integrated into the story. The main character, Julia Giardano, depicted in great detail the upside and downside of psychic and spiritual awakenings. Julia’s psychic development, growth of awareness and increasing psychic skills are like those I have personally experienced and also witnessed in my clients. Because of that, this story will be very confirming for anyone who is a natural empath dealing with telepathic imprints, clairvoyant impressions, past-life memory bleed through or natural healing abilities. I will recommend it to some of my clients for that reason alone.

The Gardens is wrapped around a mysterious ancient relic that dates back to pre-history’s Goddess worshipers. Julia Giardino must find and claim her ‘legacy’ ...before an evil, former KGB agent, Danilenko, finds it and usurps its powers.

If you like Katherine Kurtz and Deborah Turner Harris books (like the Adapt series) you will love the Gardens. This book is full of secret societies, good versus evil self-serving power mongers...only instead of Christian Knights Templar, Scottish Rites and Masons and German throwbacks—this good versus evil battle is between a hidden ‘Alliance’ led by the mysterious Madam Racine, and a group of Tuscan Strega (Italian for Witches) versus a rogue, power hungry Danilenko seeking immortality; and the innocent, unsuspecting Julia Girardano, who discovers she is the lineage bearer of an ancient Etruscan-Goddess.

Replete with ancient Europe’s pre-Christian sacred sexual ritual practices, Alexis Masters’ well paced story-telling leaves no doubt that love and power are both to be transformed—and that ‘love’ is so much more than our objectified Hollywood notions. Julia’s magnetism, beauty and charm seem to reveal her to be Aphrodite incarnate. The story exposes you to so many expressions of love it will make your head spin—distinguishing erotic magnetism from lust, from platonic love, from agape, and friendship, family love and humanitarian love with loyalty to group and a cause...plus....(of course), passionate sexual love, which is built on an erotic tension that includes and goes way beyond mere romantic notions. Pretty amazing that Masters got all that into one novel. It really describes the power of ancient Goddess cultures perspectives on love. Another example of the author’s obvious depth of knowledge and research masterfully woven into the story.

As for the audio-reader: Claire Calverley was outstanding—easily sliding between a variety of accents (British and American English, Italian, French , and Russian). I found the voices chosen for the two protagonists, Julia and Andrei, took a little getting used to for me—but not so much so that it distracted from the listening.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The beginning of a new series!

This wonderful book is an evolving story, unfolding through Greek and Etruscan history to present day Berkeley and Tuscany. Memorable characters, mystical rites, and psychic powers blend with vivid historical details that draw the reader/listener into the scenes, keeping one engaged on several levels simultaneously. The reader navigates through several languages, accents, and characters with ease. It is an auspicious first book, and I look forward to the two to follow!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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the author is very enthusiastic and knowledgeable

This is the first book in a proposed trilogy called "The Witches of Tuscany". It was previously published in 2000 under the name "The Giuliana Legacy" and has now been re-edited. The second book in the series is due to be published later this year.

After her father's suspicious death, the search for her legacy takes Julia Giardani from her native California to Cyprus and on to Tuscany in a quest to find a mysterious artifact that has been in her family's possession for centuries. As the Giardani heiress, a witch serving the Goddess Aphrodite, Julia learns of psychic and spiritual gifts she possesses. But Julia isn't the only person in search of the mystifying relic. Looking for eternal life, former KGB member, Gregor Danilenko, wants the powerful object for himself.

The premise of The Gardens sounded really interesting, and I was waiting for some suspense, some adventure, but none of that ever materialized. I'll be honest, I was bored and found it wasn't holding my attention. There basically wasn't an awful lot happening. The villain wasn't wicked. There was a large cast of characters, but not many were memorable. I assume some of them will play a role in the next book. There was some romance involved. All very clean and quite cheesy, and I didn't feel the connection between Julia and Andrei.

It is obvious that the author is very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about her subject. Some of the descriptive passages about the Tuscan countryside and its people were nicely done. The way history and more contemporary issues, e.g. the struggles of Italian farmers, were interwoven into the plot was interesting. But ultimately, this book dragged for me and I was glad to get to the end. I'm more of a dark-and- disturbing-thriller or a fast-paced romantic-suspense person, so this just wasn't a good fit.

However, I think this will definitely appeal to listeners who have a very keen interest in spirituality, inspirational literature, parapsychology, ancient goddess lore and history, witchcraft, and/or cozy women's fiction.

The Gardens is read by Claire Calverley who was a new-to-me narrator. Her general reading voice was very pleasant and her pacing very good. She did quite an admirable job coping with the different accents (Italian, Russian, French etc.) and also with some vast age ranges. Her child voice was pretty good and her male voices were believable. Where I struggled - and again, I think this is a very personal niggle - was her performance of the main character, Julia. That voice, that accent, drove me up the wall. Because of that I actually found it rather difficult to like the protagonist or feel invested in her fate. But overall, the narration was proficient, and I would certainly listen to Claire Calverley again.

There were no issues with the production of the audiobook.

Audiobook was provided for review by the author.

Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog.

[If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great book, a little long

After Julia's father passes away, she heads to Italy to discover her heritage. Upon arriving, people there seem to know who she is, but she's not really aware, but slowly, she is reawakening.

I loved the premise of this story and the history behind it, but it was a little long.

Overall, Claire's narration was very good and quite of few accents were used, however, the American accent that was used for Julia and Julia's father, I had a hard time listening to. It was almost a Valley Girl accent. Besides that, I did enjoy this book


This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review

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The Gardens

This was a book I wanted to like.It was SO long and just dragged.I fell asleep several times.Claire Calverty was a fine narrator.I was given this book by the narrator,author or publisher free for an honest review.

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The Gardens: Witches of Tuscany

Julia is on kind of a self/family discover after her fathers tragic death. The book has great details and wonderful descriptions of Tuscany. I liked the descriptions of the village and the realistic villagers. I thought the book would have more action/adventure but it was more self discovery. I will assume the next book will perhaps have more adventures. The story has a lot of characters and I found it challenging to keep up in the beginning. I think most of the book would have been easier to follow and more enjoyable in book format. It also jumps back and forth from the past to present which can get confusing. The book is very long and I found it difficult to stay focused. This is my first by both author and narrator and I would try them both agin. I enjoyed the narration and her different accents were nice. I personally did not think her male characters stood out though. She kept a great pace in the book moving it along. I was given this audio per my request in exchange for an honest review.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Just not what I expected.

I'll have to admit that although this one sounded fun, I found it to be too long and an odd stretch in the story line. I have read other supernatural and witch related stories but this was a mix of witchcraft, mythology and teleconnectic phenomena and I found the combination weird and a bit too out there for me. Had the story maybe been shorter and moved more quickly I might have enjoyed it more. My other problem was even though it revolved around the goddess of love, I simply found the dialog and build up in the relationship a bit hard to stomach toward the end. This just wasn't my personal favorite but if you enjoy an unusual romance and want it to take you several days to get through then this might be the book for you. It does have some sex scenes and I would say in the R rating category but not quite the 50 shades of gray depth either.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good story, difficult narration

While this story was good, it was difficult to follow with the way it was narrated. I love an accent on a narrator, but this one had a disadvantage. Something about her voice was hard to understand at times, and I feel like I missed a good portion of the story. But it does make me want to go purchase the physical book and read it myself.

The story is captivating and intriguing. Characters are relatable and interesting. I will definitely keep an eye on this author, but will likely turn to the paperback versus the audiobook.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Hard to keep focused

This book was ok, it was a little to drawn out and I had a hard time wanting to listen to it. The narrator did a great job but the storyline just couldn't hold my interest. I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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  • Inishowen Cailin
  • 06-25-18

A gently paced novel

The best thing about this book is the history and descriptions of Tuscany and mythology of witches. I love all things to do with Italy so I found this aspect of the book to be very enjoyable. The writer is obviously very knowledgeable about her subject area.
I was disappointed in the story. I didn't like the prologue as it was quite technical and to do with ancient history. After that I got into the story quite well. I enjoyed the early chapters where Julia was discovering her ancestry. However, by mid point in the novel I got bored. The story wasn't going anywhere and it was very dragged out. I put the book down at this point to pick it up again at a later date. The book lacked suspense and excitement which was why I felt the need to stop and read something different half way through. It was just too long for a story that wasn't developing fast enough to hold my attention.

This is a gently paced story and very interesting but it is just too slow for me.

I voluntarily reviewed a gifted copy.