Someone told me The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton was good. They were right. It's long--549 pages--but I found it impossible to put down. Starting in 1913 with a child playing on a London dock, moving to Australia where a present-day woman is haunted by her past, following a grandmother in the 1930s and an orphan in the 1900s, each seeking secret leads that will find or lose their families--the scenes move from London to Cornwall to Australia and even to America, with each location and time convincingly drawn and beautifully portrayed.
Kat Morton's characters are delightfully believable and flawed. The selfless mother and beloved child, the fiercely honest father, loving sisters, wandering daughter, the grandchild loved and rejected and wounded and alone... And elsewhere the family that struggles to disguise its secret hurts and lies and histories...
Nell's world is shattered the day she learns she's adopted. She longs to find the family who abandoned her, to recover her self-worth. One thread of the story follows Nell's search from Australia to London to Cornwall, but in another time it's Nell's granddaughter Cassandra who's taken up the quest. All roads lead to secrets like flowers in a garden, beautifully planted and waiting for a gardener to help them grow. And the mysterious Authoress looms at the end of the maze, an indefinable figure of threat or of hope.
This story enthralled me. Even as I began to guess the past I would find it slipping from my grasp, and I had to turn the page. The author keeps the different storylines perfectly separated and beautifully balanced. She fills in the characters, flaws and all, turning them into friends the reader follows eagerly. And she draws it in to a beautiful conclusion where all is exposed and revealed.
The Forgotten Garden is a rare treat of a book and a masterful example of multiple storylines and timelines perfectly told, a powerful and beautiful tale.
Kate Morton's second novel, The Forgotten Garden, tells of a family mystery that spans more than 100 years. The book opens with a young girl waiting on a boat deck for the mysterious "Authoress" during Edwardian times. As an adult, Nell tries to discover who she really is what happened to the Authoress. However, life gets in the way of her search. Until, 30 years later, after Nell's death her granddaughter picks up where her grandmother left off. … more
The Forgotten Garden is a family saga, a captivating tale of three generations of women, each of whom was abandoned. First comes Nell, found alone at age 4, on a wharf in Australia, and adopted by the harbor master. Eliza, orphaned in London by the murder of her mother, is the center link. Finally there is Cassandra, deposited with her grandmother by a mother who never returned for her. Author Morton has fashioned her story around a pervasive mystery: who is Nell, who were her parents, and why was … more
Kate Morton admittedly loves the classic Gothic tales. In her second novel, "The Forgotten Garden," this Australian author attempts to treat her audience to a beloved melding of styles and themes, the likes of which have been tested successfully before in Bronte's Jane Eyre (Vintage Classics), Du Maurier's Rebecca and Victoria Holt's Mistress of Mellyn. Morton gives it the old college try and she creates an interesting albeit long and sometimes ironically tedious labyrinth of characters whose secrets … more
This story follows the lives of three women, set in three time frames (early 1900's, 1975 and 2005) but all linked together through a garden, on an estate in Cornwall. The story mostly revolves around Nell and the mystery of who she is, where she came from and how/why she ended up where she did. Nell was abound on a ship from England to Australia. She was found stranded on an Australian dock at the age of four. At that time, she was taken in by Hugh (who oversaw the dock) and was given a family … more
One of life's pleasures is sinking into a sprawling book like The Forgotten Garden: A Novel. Author Kate Morton weaves a story around the lives of three women in different time frames, linked by the mystery of a four-year-old girl arriving alone at an Australian port in 1913. The child has no name, no history that she can tell, nothing but a tiny suitcase with no hints to her identity. The child, Nell, is raised as his own by the dockmaster, having no idea until her 21st birthday about the mystery … more
Sheila Deeth's first novel, Divide by Zero, has just been released in print and ebook formats. Find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, etc. Her spiritual speculative novellas can be found at … more
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Amazon Best of the Month, April 2009: Like Frances Hodgson Burnett's beloved classic The Secret Garden, Kate Morton'sThe Forgotten Gardentakes root in your imagination and grows into something enchanting--from a little girl with no memories left alone on a ship to Australia, to a fog-soaked London river bend where orphans comfort themselves with stories of Jack the Ripper, to a Cornish sea heaving against wind-whipped cliffs, crowned by an airless manor house where an overgrown hedge maze ends in the walled garden of a cottage left to rot. This hidden bit of earth revives barren hearts, while the mysterious Authoress's fairy tales (every bit as magical and sinister as Grimm's) whisper truths and ignite the imaginary lives of children. As Morton draws you through a thicket of secrets that spans generations, her story could cross into fairy tale territory if her characters weren't clothed in such complex flesh, their judgment blurred by the heady stench of emotions (envy, lust, pride, love) that furtively flourished in the glasshouse of Edwardian society. While most ache for a spotless mind's eternal sunshine, the Authoress meets the past as "a cruel mistress with whom we must all learn to dance," and her stories gift children with this vital muscle memory. --Mari Malcolm