Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Book Review - The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
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.