By Kate Morton
My own copy
It is 1913, Australia, a four year old is found on a wharf. Only a white suitcase and inside a illustrated copy of fairy tales. Where did she come from? How did she get here? Why would a four year old be traveling by herself? Who was she? What happened to the Authoress? If you want to find out these answers and more, you need to read the novel, The Forgotten Garden. What a wonderful novel it is.
To all my book blog readers, I recommend this novel highly. If you have not read anything this entire year. You must pick this book up. The novel, is old fashioned story telling at its best. There is two quirks I have. One can be remedied with a pad and paper. The other, quirk, nothing can change it, because that is the way the author wrote the novel.
The story is told by three voices, which works with this novel. Nell, is the foundling, then Cassandra, Nell's grand daughter, and then the story itself. The story unravels, and slowly, it is peeled away, layer by layer. Many author's I notice use this technique. Some authors do a good job, using this type of writing style. Some it does not work at all. But, Kate Morton used it successfully.
The main characters, are Nell, Cassandra, and Eliza. There were many minor characters, dates and places that made this story confusing. I suggest you have pencil and paper at your side. It does come together, with a little patience you will understand what is going on.
The story did remind me of Secret Garden, with a rich aristocratic family, and a garden, with a sickly girl, but that is where the similarities end.
On with the story, when Nell reaches maturity. Nell is told the truth about how she got to be with Hugh. But, they did not tell her until she was a adult.
Hugh tells her, when she is twenty one years old. She is about to be married. She decides to distance herself from her family, and her sisters. She breaks up with her fiancee. She begins a new life to find out who she is. She never forgives her parents for not telling her sooner. Wonder what that make a difference.
Then in England, a wealthy family disinherits a young girl, she leaves the estate, and runs off with a sailor. She has a couple of kids, one is Eliza. She is living in terrible conditions in England, after her mother passes away, the children are forced into the worst conditions possible. There is a mystery of the brooch, and that is the entire mystery that surfaces, to put the pieces together when you finish the novel.
Her mother told her never let a mean man take her. But, unfortunately, he finds her and takes her back to the family.
Here she is back at her mother's estate. Her mother's brother and wife, take her in. She is living in high society. But, she is miserable except for the child that is also living in the house with her, her name is Rose. Rose, is very sickly and her mother is over bearing and protective. Rose, and Eliza become best buddies. I set up the book, the rest you will have to read for yourself.
The novel is gothic, mystery, suspense, fairy tales, historical fiction, and much more.
I am now a big fan of Kate Morton. I did not think at my age I would find new debut authors. Usually we get stuck into a rut, and stay with the same authors. But, not this gal. I love it, when I discover new authors that I plan to read again. I definitely, will read her other books, next will be Distant Hours.