The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A foundling, an old book of dark fairy tales, a secret garden, a maze, an aristocratic family, a love denied, a mystery - The Forgotten Garden is a captivating, atmospheric and compulsively readable story of the past, ghosts, family and memories from best-selling author 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 ten 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 twentieth 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.
This was a very long book, but the way it was laid out kept you reading without getting bored. This is really a tale of 3 women whose mothers abandoned them in one way or another. Eliza's mother died, Nell's mother put her on a ship and never came back, and Cassandra's mother dumped her at her grandmother's house. That may not have been how the authoress planned to have the story perceived, but that's how I saw it. The tale is fascinating. It begins on a ship bound for Australia and a little girl. The authoress gives you just enough to start you asking questions, then switches to one of the other threads. I can't tell you which one because I listened to the story on an MP3 player and I can't go back and look. Nevertheless, my point is you get a little bit here and a little bit there, then you are taken back to fill in gaps in the first bit, and so on. It really is genius. I love puzzles and figuring out plots, so this book was perfect for me. And the narrator was Australian which made it even better! The descriptions of Australia and Cornwall made me feel as though I was there. I could smell the earth in the garden and the maze. The characters seemed very real with personalities all their own. Eliza, the little independent orphan; Rose, the beloved invalid cousin; Cassandra, the obedient granddaughter; Mary, the loving village girl and true friend. Don't be discouraged by the size of this tome. You will read it quickly and long for it not to end. I'll be looking for more books by Kate Morton.
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