Guardian of Eden

Rated 4.35/5 based on 20 reviews
What would you do if you had one chance to kill the man who raped your 12-year-old sister?No judge. No jury. No witnesses. More
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About Leslie DuBois

Leslie DuBois lives in Charleston, SC with her husband and two daughters. She also writes as Sybil Nelson.

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Reviews of Guardian of Eden by Leslie DuBois

Aparna Sethuraman reviewed on Sep. 25, 2011

This is the best of the three books that I have read fromm this author. Guardian of Eden is the story of a brother and sister duo Garrett and Eden, who have survived through hard times by depending on each other. Now when they feel things are improving and they can have a good life, disaster strikes.. Garrett has to decide on what is the right thing to do.. Kill the person who hurt his sister .. or let law take care of it..

An excellent read..
(reviewed 6 months after purchase)
Elizabeth Miller reviewed on Sep. 3, 2011

What an excellent book. This was hard to put down. Young Garrett, brilliant and protective, takes care of his younger sister Eden as they face a life that no child should have to face. Well written story with a bittersweet ending. I will proably read this one again. GREAT JOB!!! Nice way to spend an afternnon in the sun and well worht the price!!
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)
Shirley S. Simon reviewed on Aug. 12, 2011

This must be the first time that i actually cried while reading a book. A very touching story. It covers racial discrimination, poverty, single motherhood, alcohol abuse, child exploitation, sexual abuse, and so many such issues that we face everyday happening around us or with those that we love and care for. There is so much pain and suffering - it makes you feel sad for Garett and Eden, and you wish for their happiness. The vicious circle of misfortune does not leave them alone. By the end you realize that Garett really is a superhero- sacrificing everything, even his own happiness for those he loves and cares for. A true hero.

This is a very well written book. Easy to read through. Simple, free flowing words. Really worth it. Would recommend everyone to read it.
(reviewed 25 days after purchase)
Ezinwanyi reviewed on Aug. 2, 2011

I really enjoyed this book. It appealed to the mother in me and just tugged at the my heart strings. The issues it dealt with such as incest, child abuse/neglect etc are such delicate subjects, but the author approached them with a tender hand and with sensitivity. Leslie DuBois did a fine job in making this story relatable.

First of all, I don’t think the author’s/publisher’s description of the book does it justice. In fact, I found it quite misleading. I would have named this book “Keeping Secrets” or the “Past Revisited”. This is a book about how the past shaped and continued to shape a family’s future.

In this book, we are introduced to Garrett Anthony, a young man who is struggling to find himself in addition to taking care of his sister Eden. Garrett is seventeen, but with all life experiences he is more like forty years old. Their mother Holly was a recovering substance abuser but she just lacked serious parental skills. Also, Holly was just a lost soul. She lacked the mental fortitude to deal with anything. So at a young age, Garrett began to parent himself and Eden. It was clear that Garrett had emotional and psychological issues because all that responsibility was traumatic. The two kids are forced to go to counseling by Child Protective Services case worker, which doesn’t seem to have a positive effect on Garrett.

But he starts to find happiness with Madison McPhee, a young girl who works at his school’s newspaper. They were outsiders who seemed to connect, except for the fact that he is a black boy and she is a white daughter of a US senator.

Garrett’s mother Holly meets a photographer Corbin, and finally they seem to have a normal family life. But then Garrett meets his biological father, who is in prison. Garrett starts learning about his father’s past as well as his mother’s past. The wall of secrets begins unraveling and a new tragedy is set into motion.

The author did a great job developing the story and the characters, peeling layer after layer until we got to the heart of the issue plaguing this family. The story was sad but realistic. I wish Holly had developed more as a mother and had been strong enough to fight her demons in order to protect her children. I would love a follow-up novella to see how the family coped after the tragedy.
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)
Avid Reader reviewed on July 10, 2011

Rape, incest, mayhem and murder is just business as usual in this violent coming of age story.


A coming of age story about Garrett, a genius product of incestuous rape, abandoned at birth, reclaimed at age five, as he grows up in an ugly dysfunctional codependent mixed-race family. Leslie DuBois carefully treads the line between the tremulous minefields brought on by alcoholic mother Holly’s careless random abandonment mixed with her unacceptable boyfriends’ behaviors, Garrett’s exploration of his own sexuality with girlfriend Madison “Maggie” McPhee and ultimate responsibility for Eden, his young, near perfect, innocent angel sister.

This story thoroughly explores the neglect, abuse, success and happiness of these vulnerable children. The author fails to address the shortcomings in adult relationships, (i.e. mother, boyfriends, father(s), therapist, social workers, etc.) that contributed to the ongoing violence, suffering, and cover up of a family’s dirty and shameful secrets.

In the end, the reader has to decide if violence and silence is an acceptable price to pay for love in a world with few alternatives.
(reviewed 75 days after purchase)
The Book Diva's Reads reviewed on May 27, 2011

To say that The Guardian of Eden deals with complicated issues is an understatement. This book portrays child neglect and abandonment, dysfunctional family drama, child abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, incest, molestation, and murder. When we first meet Garrett he is a happy 5 year old child living with his paternal grandmother. He has never met his parents and only knows that his father is in prison. It is not until his grandmother dies that he meets his mother, his very pregnant mother - Holly. He is stunned to find out that she is white, and her boyfriend at the time is stunned to find out that her son is black. His mother shortly gives birth to Garrett's half-sister, Eden and his life begins to dramatically change.

Over the years Garrett has assumed the role of protector of his younger sister, often missing school to take care of her, as well as tend to his mother. Not to sound trite, but to say that Holly has issues is again an understatement. She is needy in so many ways and often attempts to drown her sadness and sorrows in alcohol or drugs, which means neglecting not only herself but her children. Things seem to change for the better when she meets and then marries a successful photographer, Corbin. Corbin decides he wants to make them all a real family and tries to adopt Eden and Garrett. This decision results in Garrett meeting his birth father for the very first time, in prison. Even though there is apparently a stable adult in the picture, Garrett still insists on protecting his mother and Eden. It doesn't help that at only 11 Eden is 5'8" tall and beautiful. None of these people are perfect, although they may appear to be superficially. They are all tall, beautiful, smart and flawed. Garrett evidently scored a perfect SAT score when he was in the 9th grade and had a 4th grade reading ability when he was only 5 years old. Both he and Eden show an aptitude for the linguistic arts and are quite fond of poetry.

Enter Madison McPhee, the daughter of a US Senator and presidential candidate. She and Garrett hit it off immediately and begin a tumultuous relationship. Madison is somewhat afraid to tell her father about Garrett but only because her father is extremely over-protective. Eden is jealous of all of the time that Garrett is spending with Madison. Garrett is feeling that he's letting Eden down and is considered inferior by Madison. Just when you think things couldn't possibly get worse, Eden is hospitalized and it comes out that she was raped.

I enjoyed this story up to the end. I found it hard to believe that Garrett could receive "psychological treatment" for a number of years for his "anger management" issues and nothing ever be resolved. Why doesn't the psychologist suggest a referral to another counselor if he isn't able to help? Why doesn't the social worker step in and try a different counselor if this is an ongoing issue? I know, children fall through the cracks of our social services system daily, but this didn't seem to make much sense. The story is often gritty and ugly but then so are the indignities these children are forced to suffer. This is not a light-hearted read but it does pack a punch.
(reviewed 31 days after purchase)
Sheryl Calmes reviewed on May 26, 2011

I loved this book. I read the book in one day because I did not put it down. It was a very emotional book for me. It's really the story of damaged people and the damage they do unknowingly to others. I also reveiwed this book on librarything.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Jamie Hardy reviewed on May 23, 2011

A contemporary tragedy, Guardian of Eden, is the tale of Garrett Anthony, 17 years old and burdened with being the sole responsible member of his family. A neglectful mother with a history of substance abuse and relationships with abusive men have taught Garrett not only how to keep himself alive but also to care for his young half-sister Eden.

Over time we witness Garrett’s growth into a young man who is trying to overcome all the childhood neglect and abuse while still caring for the now 11 year old Eden. While Garrett still struggles with issues of anger and fear of abandonment his priority is young Eden and caring for her. In counseling, his mother is apparently reformed and happily married, life is beginning to look good to young Garrett. When he finally begins to relax and notice things and people around him he meets beautiful, young Madison McPhee.

Now things begin to become more complicated as issues of race, class and status are introduced to the mix. You see, Ms. McPhee is not only wealthy and white, she is the daughter of an aspirant to the Presidency. Garrett feels inadequate and the relationship suffers because Madison also has trepidations about introducing the young man she loves to her father. Eden, fearing the loss of her brother, begins to act out. The repercussions resound throughout the remainder of the novel.

There is a lot to admire in this novel and I would like to thank the author for the complimentary copy to read and review. Overall, it was a good reading experience. The characters were well drawn but I thought that so many sub-plots, while it kept things moving, detracted from exploring more detail in other relationships like Madison’s relationship with her father, and the relationship between Holly and Corbin. What could have been lacking that made a man with no prior history of his acts suddenly become a predator? In some ways it felt implied that once he got internationally recognized he became less morally sound. While I wasn’t stunned by the revelation it didn’t feel as genuine as it could have.
(reviewed 26 days after purchase)
Brandi C reviewed on May 22, 2011
(no rating)
This novel describes the life of Garrett, a boy who has had a troubled life. While his mother suffered from alcoholism, he had to take care of his younger sister, Eden. As they grow older, his mother overcomes her addiction and marries Corbin, a photographer. Just as Garrett finds happiness with lover Maddie, Eden becomes consistently more anxious as time goes on. When Garrett discovers the cause, he takes matters into his own hands.

This novel was quite good. What I received was in need of some editing, as there were some grammatical and punctuational mistakes, though this was easily overlooked. While the story line was interesting, the writing seemed a bit forced. I'm sure this could also be fixed with editing. Overall, a good novel, and one I would recommend
(reviewed 26 days after purchase)
Maria reviewed on May 21, 2011

Guardian of Eden by Leslie Dubois is a gritty, raw tale of a young boy, Garrett Anthony, taking care of his baby half-sister while his mother leaves them for days at a time - doing anything he can to feed her. He doesn't want to go back to living in foster homes like before. Things improve, he even gets a scholarship to a prestigious private school where he meets his girlfriend, the daughter of a Senator. But then he finds out his twelve year old sister was raped and he knows who did it...what will he do?

This was a gripping book, I connected quickly with Garrett and kept rooting for things to get better for him. Ms. Dubois did an excellent job creating the characters, they all had distinct personalities with good and bad qualities. The story flowed smoothly and I never got bored.

If you have a really soft heart, this book isn't for you, or you'll be crying through it. There's a lot of drama and trying times, interspersed with just enough happiness to keep you hooked. I can't say I loved the ending, but give it a read and see for yourself.

*Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review.
(reviewed 25 days after purchase)
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