Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Book Review - The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

Thirty-eight year old Cassandra is lost, alone, and grieving. Her much loved grandmother, Nell, has just died and Cassandra, her life already shaken by a tragic accident 10 years ago, feels like she has lost everything known and 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 Rutherford - the Victorian authoress who disappeared mysteriously in the early 20th century - as well as a cliff-top cottage on the other side of the world, 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.


I listened to the audiobook, which is narrated by Caroline Lee, who does a wonderful job.

Sometimes when I finish a book I enjoy, I'm ready to immediately pick up the next one. That's not the case with The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morten. Morten does a wonderful job weaving the mystery through several characters, times, and places, bouncing back and forth between Australia and Cornwall, from the early 1900s to the mid 70s and then 2005. It reminded me of Rosamunde Picher's The Shell Seekers, which is one of my favorite books.

At first I was irritated with the character Nell because of how she handled the news she was a foundling. She'd been given a wonderful opportunity to be raised by a loving family, and she cast them away in search of what she'd lost as a small child. As the story unfolds, the reader discovers what Nell and later Cassandra are searching for even before they do. The book is full of ah ha moments.

But if nothing else, this bittersweet story is one of second chances, a journey of self discovery. It's a tale of love and sacrifice, selfishness and flawed (sometimes psycho) motherhood. It's the kind of saga that lingers with me, like an especially exquisite dessert. I don't want to pick up my next book right away, because I want to savor the lingering taste for while.

15 comments:

  1. This is one I'd love to read. Shall make a note of it.

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  2. I love the cover of the first one, just looking at it makes me want to read it.

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  3. I've been thinking of picking this one up. Thanks for the review!

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  4. The Forgotten Garden looks cool. It's surprising how good stories can come out of the Victorian Era:)

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  5. Awww! I love a book that lingers for a while!

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  6. This sounds like a really good book! And, I loved the Shell Seekers too, so clearly, I can trust your judgement!

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  7. Eep!..I didn't read the rest because a coworker of mine let me borrow this book a few months ago (have not read it yet *averts eyes* *hides*)

    Thanks for sharing - and unintentionally nudging me to read the copy I have. :D

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  8. I keep stumbling across this book again and again. I think that's a sign I have to read it, right?

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  9. I read it and liked it very much. And her debut book, The House at Riverton, was absolutely brilliant. Just stunning. I would read it again.

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  10. I'll have to give it a once over.

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  11. I loved Shell Seekers. I will have to check this one out too.

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  12. I love this book! I could not put it down. I'll have to look into shell seekers.

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  13. Sounds like an intriguing book, and thanks for the review! Can you believe I've never heard an audiobook? I like to read the words myself, so never have tried. :)

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  14. I love "ah ha" moments. Thanks for the review.

    .......dhole

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