Book: The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ★
For: Book Club
From: A Christmas gift a year or so ago
I've been looking forward to this book for a long time. So happy to have finally read it! Good old book club for making it happen!
This is an epic saga type book. We travel in back and forth in time and back and forth in view points between three different generations of this family. There's one story in 1900 or so. One in the 70s and one in current 2005 time. Back in about 1913, a strange incident occurred, a young girl was abandoned on a boat going from England to Australia. The whole focus of this big book is to find out what exactly happened and why.
It's a wonderful tale where we get a glimpse of life at a huge manor house in England, complete with a maze and a mysterious cottage, all ruled over by a witchy mistress and her crippled and sort of sadistic husband. We get a glimpse of life in the middle of Jack the Ripper London. And we come back to visit those places later on the future and see them all again through the eyes of later family members as they try to solve the mystery.
I loved it. The going back and forth didn't bother me at all once the people and setting were well established. I was trying to think if there was a certain character whose story and/or point of view I enjoyed the most, but they were all fun. Of course, I had fun with the little tiny romance that started to happen with our present time girl. That was sweet.
I also thought it interesting that Frances Hodgson Burnett made a cameo and was fascinated with the garden locked behind a wall with no door! Hmmmmm... great story idea, eh, Frances?
Bottom line: I totally loved it. A really great, deeply layered story
The historical details and the crazy family secrets drew me in more than the other stories. I also really enjoyed the fairy tale aspect - several stories weaving in and out. From One Librarian's Book Reviews
The quiet, intricate way the story carries along revealing little by little the mystery it holds was done very well indeed. It kept me guessing, that's for sure. From Alternate Readality
Morton balances this gothic, obsessive side of love with the lighter theme that certain people make us whole and bring us “home”, wherever that may be. From The Literate Mother
Like her previous novels, it's not only the time period and location that sucks me in, but how she writes her characters. This one was no exception. It's amazing to see how secrets change lives. From A Library of My Own