Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Julie's Review: The Forgotten Garden

Summary: 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 with very little to go on, "Nell" sets out on a journey to England to try to trace her story, to find 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. At Cliff Cottage, on the grounds of Blackhurst Manor, Cassandra discovers the forgotten garden of the book's title and is able to unlock the secrets of the beautiful book of fairy tales.

Review: Ok I admit it, I've never read The Secret Garden (HarperClassics). I did see the movie a long time ago with my dad, so there will be no literary comparisons in this review. That being said, The Forgotten Garden: A Novel is brilliant and compelling. I just loved this book. I loved how Ms. Morton wrote it. I loved the character's voices. I loved how the book itself is a maze that you slowly find your way through.

We see the events of the book uncover through the eyes of Nell, Eliza and Cassandra. All three of these are strong, distinct voices in the book. As with all books where the narration goes back and forth, it takes a bit to get into the flow but once it does, you don't want to put it down. Each of these three women has been through their share of pain and suffering, each in different ways.

I'm not much of a fairy tale girl but the stories that Ms. Morton weave throughout The Forgotten Garden add another layer of storytelling to an already tightly woven novel. I'm going to have to do a little research to see if Ms. Morton wrote them herself.

I don't know if I would call this book a fantasy as I would a historical fiction with some fantasy aspects wrapped into it. There's something about a seaside cottage that just sounds romantic and wonderful.

The true story is about families and finding out who you are not matter what bloodline flows through you.

As with a lot of books I can't really delve into details without giving away the twists and turns. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, the book would move in another direction, causing me to think twice about what I had just thought I figured out.

I highly recommend reading this book. In fact, drop what you are reading and pick this up now. Anyone who likes to get wrapped up in a great book and get carried away in a novel will love The Forgotten Garden.

Final Take: 4.5/5

Related Links: Lisa's Review


A Bookshelf Monstrosity March 4, 2010 at 5:05 PM  

This book just sounds so cozy! I want to curl up with it and read it from cover to cover on a Saturday afternoon :) Thanks for your review.

Sheila (Bookjourney) March 10, 2010 at 11:53 PM  

This book is on my shelf and I really need to get reading it!

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