Monday, 6 May 2013

The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton

In 1913 a young girl finds herself stranded in Australia with no idea who she is or where she came from. When Nell turns 21 her family tell her of how they found her and it changes her life. Finally in 1975 Nell decides to track down her real family and find out how she got from England to Australia on her own. However, things happen and Nell's determination to discover the truth is interrupted. Instead it's left to Nell's granddaughter after she has been left a cottage in Cornwall. It's 2005 now and Cassandra decides to find out the truth about her grandmother and her own family history.

I have to say that this didn't quite live up to my expectations. I think if I had read this before everyone told me how brilliant it was I might have enjoyed it for what it was that little bit more. Instead I found it to be a little bit too long and dragged a little in parts. Whilst I enjoyed the sections with Nell and Cassandra I found the sections with the authoress to be a little dull. Normally I would love that sort of thing but it just didn't feel right to me. As I got into the book though it did get better. I think the mystery unfolding helped there although I had guessed much of it before the end. I also quite liked the authoress herself. Much more than the rest of her family, including her cousin and best friend.

That family, ick. Typical, creepy, upper class family. The uptight mother who will do anything to protect her precious. The creepy father who hides away dreaming about his long lost sister (not in the good sense of dreaming - shudder). Then there is the equally uptight and spoiled daughter who takes delight in befriending the authoress in order to irritate her mother. I confess that by the end I had felt sorry for the daughter but I still didn't like her very much. Have to feel for the authoress being stuck with them.

What I really liked about the book was Nell and Cassandra trying to unlock the past. They really had very little to go on. Just a small suitcase containing a book of fairy tales which were illustrated by a famous artist. Yet somehow with little (and no internet back then) Nell managed to uncover most of it with Cassandra getting there in the end years later. I especially liked reluctant Cassandra forming unexpected attachments.

There is of course the garden element of the book. I'm not going to say much about that other than the fact that it did remind me quite a bit of The Secret Garden. Quite a lot of parallels in there such as the sick cousin being promised a trip to the garden. Anyway, I get the feeling that this author was a fan of the children's book.

It sounds like I didn't enjoy the book but actually I did. I gave it 4/5 stars on goodreads and wouldn't have done that had I not enjoyed it. I just don't think it was quite as brilliant as it's reputations suggested. As I said earlier it was a little long in parts and could have done with a little editing but that's just my humble opinion. Also don't let my review put you off. I bet most people prefer the flashbacks to the authoress than to the sections with Nell and Cassandra.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

April Overview/ Month Ahead

I have been on a blogger lull of late. Mainly because I have been doing course work and exams. All of which are over now and I think I have passed. I've also been running about doing other things. I did manage a visit to the library though. Had to renew One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and my order of Lamb had just come in. Couldn't leave without checking out a few others.

So here is my reading month;

1. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen (re-read)
2. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
3. John Dies @ The End - David Wong
4. Afterwards - Rosamun Lupton.

Yep, not a lot and I can't just blame the exams. I have been reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for about a month now and I just can't get into it. I thought I had lost my reading mojo again but since putting this aside for the moment I have read a book and a half. So it's not me it's my relationship with the book. I am going to get back to it though because I feel I should love it and so far nothing much has happened. I loved the film so I should love this.

My favourite of the bunch is Cold Comfort Farm without a doubt. I loved this book and I am thinking of picking up a copy of my own. John Dies @ The End was one of the oddest books I have ever read. The most disappointing was Afterwards. I loved Sister and this one just didn't live up to it. Having said that I still enjoyed it.

For this month I plan on working my way through this small pile of library books. I am back on placement as of next week but I am Monday-Friday short shifts so I should still get reading done. Even with course work. I picked up the Michael Connelly book because I had just read my first one. I quite liked it. It wasn't an exciting read but I felt that I wasn't done with these characters and so picked The Reversal up when I saw it on the shelf. I picked up the Jo Nesbo because so many people have raved about it but I'm not sure I am willing to splurge on the books just yet. The woes of being a student mean I have to be careful with book buying these days. Tend to feel a little guilty when it's not a nursing book. I've never read a Sebastian Faulks but I remember when I saw A Week In December on the shelves in the book shop. Someone put me off it at the time but seeing it in the library rekindled my interest.

So that's what my upcoming month looks like. Hope everyone else had a good month and got lots of good reading in. Going to leave you with a recent book purchase. I haven't completely stopped buying books and I saw this one in a sale. Haven't read On The Road by Jack Kerouac but I love this cover. All about the cover love.