Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Forgotten Garden Book Review

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

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A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a single book - a beautiful volume of fairy tales. She is taken in by the dockmaster and his wife and raised as their own. On her twenty-first birthday, they tell her the truth, and with her sense of self shattered and very little to go on, "Nell" sets out to trace her real identity. Her quest leads her back to Blackhurst Manor on the Cornish coast and the secrets of the doomed Mountrachet family. But it is not until her granddaughter, Cassandra, takes up the search after Nell's death that all the pieces of the puzzle are assembled.

Review by Brittany:

After having read other works by this author, I was looking forward to reading this one. Morton has become a regular read of mine after how much I've loved her other books.

That being said, this one was a bit of a disappointment for me. I didn't enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed other books by her; I didn't invest as much. Nell searching for her origins was interesting, and I definitely wanted to know what happened, but throughout the story I occasionally found myself ready to get there. I think part of the reason I didn't invest in this one as much was because there were more major time hops than in Morton's other works that I've read. In this one, the story jumps around between four different time periods, making it a bit difficult to keep up with. I understand that there were pieces of the mystery in each time period that the author needed to provide, and she did it quite well. The time changes just didn't work for me in this book.

That being said, Morton did use one of her storytelling techniques that I love by making a book central to the novel. In The Distant Hours, a children's book played a large role. This is seen again in this novel with the collection of fairy tales by Eliza Makepeace that play such a huge role in Nell and Cassandra both chasing down Nell's family. The author also shared some of the fairy tales that were inside the collection, a beautiful and neat addition to the story.

Overall, I do think this book is worth reading because Morton writes so beautifully. While it wasn't my favorite by her, it is still a wonderful book that I'll be adding to my Morton collection on my bookshelf.

Notable quotes:

But sometimes, when no one was looking, she liked to do forbidden things.

Happy as larks they'd been, back when the future still stretched, unmarked, before them.

So much in life came down to timing.

It seemed she was a real person after all, a solid human being, moving in and out of the orbits of others. No matter that she so often felt herself to be living half a life, to be a half-light.

There was no accounting for memory, which things stuck and which didn't.

All was not as it has been. And that knowledge made Rose's heart thump - strongly now - with unexpected, unexplained, unadulterated joy.

The particular type of quiet which presages a firming of heart, a clearing of view. Like someone nursing a secret, keeping it close for a time before unleashing it to do its worst.

"You make a life out of what you have, not what you're missing."

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