Friday, May 18, 2012

Book Review: The Forgotten Garden

Oh, Kate Morton, how I love you!
The House at Riverton was wonderful.
The Distant Hours was simply delicious.

But The Forgotten Garden? It was just, well, it was everything I could possibly want in a novel. A mystery with a ghost story feel. Romance, lost love, found love, familial love, orphans, good guys, villains, a manor, a secret garden (and speaking of that, well-done cameos with real life figures), fairy tales, and did I mention suspense?

Well, and then, of course, Kate Morton is a writer of astounding grace and perspicacity. I mean, I know that no one is perfect and all that, but quite possibly, Kate Morton is a perfect writer. Really.

OK, so here is the story in a nutshell: a little girl is lost on a big ship while waiting for the Authoress to come back to get her. But the Authoress never does, and when the ship lands in Australia, the little girl, assumed to be an orphan, is adopted by the dockmaster and his wife. When she is grown, the dockmaster tells Nell the truth—or as much as he knows of it. Chapter by chapter, the truth is gradually uncovered, sometimes by Nell and sometimes by her granddaughter, Cassandra. Who is the Authoress? Who is Nell? Why was she left alone on a ship bound for Australia?

The cast of characters reaches far back into the life of the Authoress. You'll meet a man in a black suit, a Dickensian harridan, an obsessive uncle, a kindly old fisherman, a beautiful invalid, a wicked aunt, and, of course, a garden maze that follows many twists and turns and dead ends. 

Please read this book. And please, Kate Morton, MORE!


Marbel said...

OK. I had gotten this book from the library once, and couldn't get very far. Then I took out The Distant Hours and couldn't get very far. But after years of reading your book reviews... I know how our tastes are similar, so... maybe I just picked the wrong time and I should try again. This is exactly the sort of book I'm in the mood for today.

Sarah Small said...

I think a key to Morton's books is to be able to have uninterrupted reading time. I read this one, believe it or not, while in the middle of an adventure park with 8000 other people. I just moved from bench to bench while my kids moved from ride to ride, so I read about 300 pages in one day. I think her books could be a bit disjointed without continuous reading because the chapters shift between times/characters' POVs.

Marbel said...

Maybe that was part of my problem - little uninterrupted reading time. But soon I should have some (if I plan well), so... I'll try again. Thanks!

Christine said...

I'm a reader from your homeschool blog and I love to see what you're reading over here. You and I have very similar tastes in books and I frequently use your wonderful book lists to find new reads. I love, love, love Kate Morton also! Have read all three of her books (oh, when will another one come?!) and have been so impressed with her amazing blend of wonderful story-telling and beautiful writing. Just heavenly. I think in order of favorites they would have to be The Distant Hours at the top, The Forgotten Garden next, and then The House at Riverton at a not-very-distant third place. I also loved Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale and feel that the women have very similar writing styles. I can't wait until she comes out with another one. Thanks for sharing your love of books with us! Keep the reviews and book lists coming!

Sarah Small said...

Thanks, Christine! And I read on Kate's Facebook page that her next book is at the publisher's and will be released in the fall!! So exciting!

Anonymous said...

This was my first Kate Morton. I've read them all now but I still think this is my favourite

Harvee (Book Dilettante) said...

Your review has convinced me to read Kate Morton and especially this book! Nice review.

Lori said...

I have not read anything by Kate Morton but your reviews are going to have me doing an Amazon search for my Kindle!

Thanks for posting your review - - the book cover is pretty, isn't it?

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Adding it to my TBR list! Thanks!