Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Book Review: The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

Another book highly recommended by friends - shout out to Katie and Ann - was Kate Morton's novel "The Forgotten Garden". Perfect timing - I'd just finished David Baldacci's Hell's Corner and had a new road trip coming up. Perfect for a twenty hour audio book {GRIN}.

The publisher's summary was nice - sweet even:
"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 a compulsive listen about 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 10 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 20th 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."
I was due for a "sweet" chick-lit anyway, so I invested the credit and resisted the temptation to start the book in short snippets - after almost giving up on Garth Stein's "Raven Stole the Moon" - I promised myself I wouldn't start a new audio book unless I had a full two hours to invest into the novel.
Having read the publisher's description I expected certain plot twists - they weren't immediately forthcoming. Readers or listeners will definitely have to pay attention to the time contexts in the novel - particularly 1900, 1935, 1976 and 2005 - and who's point of view is delivering the story. Nell, Cassandra, Eliza, Rose - generations of women - so intricately linked in and out of time.
The Forgotten Garden is not a deeply complex novel - If you pick up this book and expect Withering Heights on the moors of England, you WILL be disappointed. However, if you pick up this book and recall that first time you read Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic "The Secret Garden" than I believe that you will love the story - slow to evolve, magically crafted and worth waiting for. Yes, "The Forgotten Garden" is suitable as a young adults' novel - but the story does not over-simplify content for a more sophisticated reader.

Caroline Lee's narration flips between Australian and English accents - including a relatively convincing Cockney. Ms Lee's narration while not as dramatic as other Audible narrators - and isn't without flaw (there are bobbles here and there) - all is forgiven and it does not detract from the story...Now that I'm shopping for my next audiobook listen I've discovered that Ms Lee has narrated all three of Ms Morton's works. I'm considering Ms. Morton's latest novel "The Distant Hours". I'd best make up my mind soon!

The Forgotten Garden was written by Kate Morton and published by Bolinda Publishing release date July 18th, 2008. The Forgotten Garden was narrated by Caroline Lee and has a runtime of 20 hours 38 minutes.


WCTs said...

I just finished reading Kate Morton's novel, The House at Riverton. It was wonderful & a great mystery. Loved The Forgotten Garden.

Your pups are gorgeous. Found you via @acheerfulpet Twitter!

The Whippy Curly Tails

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