REVIEW: Mr Romanov’s Garden In The Sky by Robert Newton

Published: 27th February 2017

Publisher: Penguin Books Australia

Pages: 219

Format: Paperback courtesy of the publisher

RRP: $17.99

4/5 Stars

From the Prime Minister’s Literary Award winning author, Robert Newton comes a novel full of heart, warmth and friendship.

A violent incident sparks an unlikely and surprising friendship between a young girl and an old man, leading to an adventure that brings both drama and understanding to their lives in contemporary Melbourne.

Mr Romanov’s Garden in the Sky is a delightful and compelling tale with a strong sense of contemporary multicultural Australia and a vivid cast of characters.


As an avid reader, I read hundreds of books, but never has there been one quite like Mr Romanov’s Garden In The Sky by Robert Newton.

Relatively speaking, Mr Romanov’s Garden In The Sky, is a super quick read at only 219 pages long. But don’t be fooled by the low page count, because this book is a hidden gem that packs quite the emotional punch.

Coming it at a mere 219 pages, it is easy to fooled by Mr Romanov’s Garden In The Sky, for looks can be deceiving, and sometimes the sweetest of stories are laid bare on the page.

Simply put, Mr Romanov’s Garden In The Sky, is a coming of age story. It’s a narrative about finding yourself, learning who you are and accepting (and creating) your own family (both biological and the one you choose) for who they are. In a world that is often bleak and walled in, this book is a shinning light of hope for those in need.

It’s a book about finding yourself in a world that rushes past. About finding those special people in your life, the ones that instantly make you ‘you’ and the world a better place to be. About overcoming obstacles both seen and unseen, and about realising your dreams.

At the very least, Mr Romanov’s Garden In The Sky, is a road trip through the highs and lows of life. It’s the Australian answer to stories like Paper Towns by John Green and Amy And Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. Instead of the infamous highway 59, we have the Hume Highway. Instead of two love birds, we have a group of mismatched kids and an old man who are trying to find that ‘thing’ that makes them alive again. That makes them who they are.

If you are looking for a light and fluffy read, this is perhaps not the book for you at this time. For while relatively short, the narrative itself deals with some pretty heavy themes: mental illness, alcoholism, drug dependency, bullying, dementia and abandonment. Yet despite these bleaker moments, Newton employs the right amount of humour and escapism that  allows the reader to lend their mind outside the immediate possibilities and suspend disbelief in some of the more outlandish things the kids get up to, so that you are taken on a journey that even you couldn’t predict.

Mr Romanov’s Garden In The Sky is a book about finding your people in the world, about finding hope, friendship and family in the most unlikely of places.


To purchase a copy of Mr Romanov’s Garden In The Sky, visit the following online retailers:

Penguin Books Australia | Dymocks | Booktopia | QBDAngus & Robertson’s Bookworld | ibooks AUS | Amazon AUS | Kobo | Google Play




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