The Gardens that Mended a Marriage offers the promise of paradise. It tells the story of how the writer and her husband, an architect, built a contemporary Moorish house on the top of a mountain and created a Persian garden, following the recipe laid down in the Koran for a paradise on earth.
Except it wasn't as easy as that. The land slipped down the mountain, the neighbors sued, the town hall went into paralysis and wouldn't allow them to finish the house. The Spanish builder turned out to be incompetent, the lawyer disinterested and the project manager seriously ill. In between times, she visited gardens all over the world for ideas and tended her precious vegetable patch in north London and waited. Through all this, they argued, made up, disagreed about the garden, argued again, invested a lot of money and almost gave up.
But over the years they came to understand that a significant shift happens in a relationship when you let go. It was the creation of the garden that taught them. Nature will allow you to sculpt her land, nurture her plants and take control only if you agree to her conditions. So it is with a marriage. You can fight human nature only to a certain extent. It's a trade-off. Accepting that fact is the real recipe for a paradise on earth.
Dr Karen Moloney is a business psychologist, leadership coach and a futurist. She travels the world meeting remarkable business people and helping them become even more remarkable. At least, that's her day job. But by night, she's a writer.
She has written a novel, a business book, a funny self-help book about guilt written with her sister called I Should Shag More, and this one - gardening as a metaphor for marriage.