Friday, September 23, 2011

Book Review: The Forgotten Garden

The Forgotten Garden

The Forgotten Garden By; Kate Morton

A foundling, an old book of dark fairy tales, a secret garden, an aristocratic family, a love denied, and a mystery. The Forgotten Garden is a captivating, atmospheric and compulsively readable story of the past, secrets, family and memory from the international best-selling author Kate Morton.


Cassandra is lost, alone and grieving. Her much loved grandmother, Nell, has just died and Cassandra, her life already shaken by a tragic accident ten years ago, feels like she has lost everything dear to her. But an unexpected and mysterious bequest from Nell turns Cassandra's life upside down and ends up challenging everything she thought she knew about herself and her family.

Inheriting a book of dark and intriguing fairytales written by Eliza Makepeace - the Victorian authoress who disappeared mysteriously in the early twentieth century - Cassandra takes her courage in both hands to follow in the footsteps of Nell on a quest to find out the truth about their history, their family and their past; little knowing that in the process, she will also discover a new life for herself.
Paperback, 645 pages
Published June 6th 2008 by Pan Books (first published January 1st 2008)
 3: 9780330449601) primary languageEnglishoriginal titleThe Forgotten Gardenurlhttp://www.katemorton.com/the-forgotten-garden/ charactersNell O'Connor, Eliza Makepeace, Cassandra Andrews
 
This is the second book I read by Kate Morton, the first being The House at Riverton. And in her trademark style of bridging time and place, families and centuries, she did not disappoint me. I fell in love with this book from page one.
 
The Forgotten Garden is a historical tale of family, secrets, sacrifice and betrayal. Morton takes us back and forth between present day, the seventies and Victorian times, in a seamless and flawless way that only adds to the realism of the story. You are immersed in the characters, feel their pain, and feel like you know them. At the root it's a tale that only Victorian England could give us.
 
When Cassandra's Grandmother dies and leaves her with a mysterious name tied to an old suitcase it serves to snap her out of the depression she has been in for the last ten years. Since the loss of her husband and toddler son in a horrific accident. Through flashbacks we learn that Nell was found as a young child by an Australian wharf master who had no idea where she came from. Even though she had a wonderful childhood with a loving family, Nell shuts herself up to everyone when she finds out her true origins. It is the mysterious suitcase and book of fairy tales that clues her in on her origins, and leads her to England to search for her birth parents.
 
Through further flashbacks we learn of the tragic life of Nell's birth mother, her betrayals and ultimate sacrifices.  I don't want to give away too much, so I will say that family secrets,Victorian taboos, and the stifling rules of English society play a huge role in the downfall of the family. As well as the startling choices made. There are hints at incest, child abuse and surrogate mothers. So I recommend this book for mature audiences.
 
I could relate on some level with more than one of Morton's characters, and that is in itself a indication of a great book to me. I will be keeping this book on my bookshelf and defiantly re-reading it. I was sorry to see it end.
 
Kate Morton grew up in the mountains of southeast Queensland, Australia. She has degrees in Dramatic Art and English Literature and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Queensland. Kate lives with her husband and two young sons in Brisbane.


Kate Morton's books have been published in 31 countries. The House at Riverton was a Sunday Times #1 bestseller in the UK in 2007 .
 
thanks to goodreads.com for biographical info

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