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.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read any of her books yet, but I really really want to someday.