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The Forgotten Garden: A Novel

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Book Overview

From the New York Times bestselling author of Homecoming comes a novel that takes readers on an unforgettable journey through generations and across continents as two women try to uncover their... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

10 ratings

Forgotten Garden is definitely hard to put down once you start reading.

An intriguing tale of family secrets that span over three time periods. Full of twists and turns that keep you guessing right up to the very end. While the story jumps forward and back in time and across 2 continents the author does an amazing job of keeping the reader on track so you never feel confused or lost. Anyone who enjoys mysteries or scandal would enjoy this book.


I thought I might be the only person who didn’t like this book. The reviews are so wonderful until I looked at another website I won’t mention. There are others who agree that this book is tedious and confusing. It’s difficult to understand who is whose mother and father. Unfortunately I have another Kate Morton book to read too.

simply un-put-downable

I absolutely loved this book. twists and turns all the way through, completely captivating.

Another Great Book

This is another one of Kate Morton's books with the twist and turns that my book club love to read and discuss. We find ourselves as we read trying to figure the outcome before the end and always find ourselves surprised!! I personally liked this book because there was a light "romance" in the story but not "sappy love" story!

I loved the storyline! I had a hard time putting the book down and recommend this story to others th

The Forgotten Garden

I'm an avid reader, reading two or so books a week. Over a year obviously I consume a lot of books. Many of the books I read I enjoy but then the details of the book slowly vanishes from my memory. Not so with The Forgotten Garden. It is an excellent story. After I finished it I bought two more of that book and gave one to two of my daughters. Their reactions were the same as mine. A delightful story that will hold you enthraled.

Storytelling at its best

The Forgotten Garden is that best and rarest type of book: a story skillfully written and clean. By clean, I mean none of the foul language, graphic sex scenes or sordidness that is all too common in today's books. Kate Morton tells her story in a way that is lyrical and gentle -- almost like one of the fairy tales that are a recurring theme in the book. Although she includes some truly warped characters in her book - namely Adeline, Linus and Mrs. Swindell -- she conveys their demented-ness in a way that draws a very clear picture for the reader without being disturbing. She had plenty of opportunities to descend into the sordid -- Eliza's childhood in London and Linus' obsession with his sister and later his niece offered opportunities that most of today's writers would have taken full advantage of. And yet, Morton never did. And her novel is so much the better for it. What appealed to me about this book was the connection and empathy I immediately felt for each of the main characters: Nell, Cassandra, Eliza and even Ruby (who wasn't a main character). Each of them suffered loss, isolation and loneliness in a way that I could identify with. And the very best line in all of the book was that uttered by Ruby to Cassandra: "You make a life out of what you have, not what you're missing." Wow. What is best about Morton's story is the creative way in which she tells it. She weaves back and forth between 2005, 1975 and 1900, between Australia, London and Cornwall, and gradually reveals the story, peeling back the layers as it were to reveal the truth a little at a time. It is like a journey through the garden maze that is another central theme of the book. I will be careful here, so as not to spoil it for those who haven't yet read the book, but as she gradually reveals bits of the truth your mind will race ahead and leap to conclusions, then as the end draws near you will be disappointed that it wasn't as you thought but was only the obvious, then at the very end you will discover that you actually were right all along. Only Morton adds a little twist of her own to surprise you. What is worst about Morton's story is the insipidness of all the male characters. They never emerge much from the shadowy background, and are controlled by the women. Nathaniel seemed particularly weak -- I wanted to slap him. Although I think the book would have been even better with stronger male characters, still Morton's crafting of the story is successful -- because this is a book about women written for women, after all. Seldom do I venture outside of books by Christian authors and Christian publishers. In this case, I'm glad I did. This is wonderful writing. The book is over 500 pages long but is fast reading, especially as I picked it up at every opportunity. If only there were more books like this! I look forward to reading more works by Kate Morton.

A novel you will never forget.

Part of The Forgotten Garden is reminiscent of Frances Hodgson Burnett's, The Secret Garden published in 1911. An unwanted cousin finds herself at her uncle's manor house, where she develops a bond with a sickly and lonely cousin. The similarity between the two novels ends there. Like Morton's, The House at Riverton, The Forgotten Garden shifts back and forth through time and attempts to solve a mystery that occured over a hundred years ago. The House at Riverton's mystery was the death of poet, Robbie Hunter. The mystery in this novel is why Ivory Walker, a four year old year old girl from a wealthy and aristocratic family, was abandoned and placed on a ship to Australia. Ivory Walker grows up to be Nell. On her eighteenth birthday, her father revealed a secret which ended her life as she knew it - not only was Nell not his real daughter, neither he or his wife knew Nell's real identity. She was found on the docks when she was four years old. The only link to her past is a little white suitcase the child carried on her when she was found. Cassandra, Nell's granddaughter, inherits the mystery surrounding her grandmother's lost identity. After the elderly Nell dies, Cassandra embarks on an adventure in the Cornish countryside in an attempt to put together the pieces of Nell's past. Crucial to the mystery is a childrens book author by the name of Eliza Makepeace, who Nell not only vaguely remembers was the last person she saw before she boarded the ship, but her little suitcase also contained a book written by the mysterious authoress. I loved the way the author scattered subtle clues throughout the book. I guessed the big mystery long before it was revealed, but it didn't make the novel any less compelling. Ms Morton knows how to write a mystery that will grab you from the start. The only gripe I have with The Forgotten Garden was the way the author jumped back and forth across generations. The story didn't transition as smoothly as in her previous book. In fact, the decade jumping was downright confusing at times. Still, I cannot bring myself to give this book any less than five stars. Ms Morton has proved herself a master storyteller. I will gladly pre-order any future books this author publishes.

Let's your imagination run wild!

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton is a wonderful book, weaving the past and the present in an intriguing mystery spanning a century! A little girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913 with nothing but a few clothes and a book of fairy tales. Taken in by a kindly man and his wife who eventually decide to keep her as their own, the little girl is never told her true origins until her 21st birthday. With her world shattered, "Nell" as she came to be known known, withdraws from the family and starts out on her own, determined to find out who her real family is and where they are. Through the span of time, Nell never finds all the answers she needs; it takes her granddaughter, Cassandra, to unravel the mystery. As Cassandra attempts to find answers to Nell's puzzling deathbed tale, she uncovers a mystery that's like a spider who has weaved his web, each piece belonging to another one. "The Forgotten Garden" works not only through the actions of its strong female characters, but also through the fairy tales of Nell's past, providing clues to the generations-spanning mystery. Although a hefty book, almost 600 pages, this is the best book I have read in many years, filled with love, heartbreak, deep soul searching, tears and laughter. It's really hard to put down once you start reading. I cannot give enough praise to this fine writer, the book is amazing!

The Forgotten Garden: Another Blockbuster for Kate Morton

A four-year-old girl waits alone on a dock in Australia for parents who never come. Her only possession? A tiny white suitcase containing no information about who she is or how she came to be abandoned. Nell is a foundling, and what a rare foundling she is. A stow-away on an ocean liner, she refuses to tell even so much as her name. Until in her 60s, over-protected by a loving foster father, she has no clue how she came to be alone on that dock. Hers is the mystery that unfolds in this long novel spanning more than a century, five generations, and two distant continents. Enthusiastic fans of Kate Morton's first novel, "The House at Riverton," will thrill to her second, "The Forgotten Garden." Like her first, this is a novel whose female characters are finely and fully drawn, and whose males are wispy and insubstantial. How its women interact, how they love and hate one another, how their interplay moves through tragedy and redemption will provide hours of pleasure for her fans. Morton's excellent pacing creates a page-turner that is hard to put down, although its length might give pause to those who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. Morton tells her story not only through the actions of her characters but also through fairy tales that work on several levels and provide clues to the mystery's final solution. Many readers will have guessed the solution long before the end of the book. Nevertheless, Morton maintains reader interest throughout. Overall, this is a highly satisfying read. It's fun to watch the author weave the lives of women into a rich tapestry of life and love, anger and betrayal. However, the novel is not without its weaknesses. First, as mentioned above, Morton's male characters are weak and insipid and never come to life. Second, the love interest at the end of the book does not mesh with the rest of the work. It is almost as though an editor said, "You'd better add a little love story here," so Morton did. The book's flaws, while mildly unsettling, are not serious enough to spoil a great read. If you enjoy long stories about generations of women, you will love "The Forgotten Garden."
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