The Forgotten Garden: A Novel by Kate Morton
I kept running across Kate Morton’s name and book titles, and was curious by them. Their length gave me pause though; at over 500 pages they’re a hefty investment of reading time and I would have preferred to have someone I trust tell me they’re worth it.
My impatience to give Morton a try got the best of me and that, combined with an upcoming vacation where I expected to have extra reading time, led me to get the first one of her books that the library had available.
The Forgotten Garden is what the library provided, and it ended up being a fun vacation read.
I had some complaints with the book, and am not sure that I’ll make a lot of effort to seek out her other titles. Maybe on another vacation.
I loved how she drew me into the worlds she depicted, and got me to care about (most of) the characters.
My complaints about the book included:
- Length. It felt bloated, and like it could have easily been edited to lose 200 pages without compromising much of the story.
- Structure. The format of jumping back and forth in time, and into the story of different characters annoyed me more than anything. I know why she did it; I just wish she’d figured out another way to create suspense and continue the mystery.
- Pacing. Related to the length of the book, but it felt off, and certain parts especially dragged.
- Plot. The so-called mystery involved wasn’t very mysterious. I know it wasn’t written as a mystery, but if you’re going to present something as mysterious, it’d be nice if it wasn’t telegraphed quite so obviously, from such an early point in the book.
- Characterization. Certain actions by some of the characters felt completely unrealistic.
With all those complaints it may seem surprising that I liked the book as much as I did. I really liked some of the characters and was very interested in their story. Also, I think reading it on vacation made a big difference in my overall feelings toward the book, so I’m not sure how much I’d have liked it under usual circumstances. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you like long, sweeping stories about multiple generations of women. Or you’re going on vacation and want a book that will pull you in to its setting and you don’t mind a slow pace.
From the #1 internationally bestselling author of The House at Riverton, a novel that takes the reader on an unforgettable journey through generations and across continents as two women try to uncover their family’s secret past
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-fi rst 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 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. A spellbinding tale of mystery and self-discovery, The Forgotten Garden will take hold of your imagination and never let go.
Title: The Forgotten Garden: A Novel
Author: Kate Morton
Category: Fiction / Historical
Length: 560 pages
Release Date: 2010
Publisher: Washington Square Press
ISBN: 1416550550 / 978-1416550556
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
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