Book Review: The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

Forgotten Garden The

I picked this book at the local used bookstore for a $1. I’m not sure what attracted me to it, other than perhaps the artwork on the book cover, and then when I flipped thru a few pages thought it sounded interesting. I almost put it back, but decided to keep it.

It is a rather thick book, 549 pages. On the front it says that it was a New York Times bestseller, but to be honest, such reviews mean nothing to me. The back of the book in bold, describes the story as “A novel that takes the reader on an unforgettable journey through generations and across continents as two women try to uncover their family’s secret past.” Essentially a little child is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. She arrives with only a small white suitcase and a book of fairy tales.

All I can say is wow. This is another book that I started and found it difficult to put down. Any spare moment I had, was spent reading. Lunch breaks, long baths, anything to keep the story going. The story starts off the Nell, the little girl who was found abandoned at the ship docks. A man finds her, and takes her home. No one ever comes to claim her, and his wife, who had recently miscarried was more than happy to keep her. She grows up happy, until on her 18th birthday her father tells her the truth. That she wasn’t their birth child. That in turn sets the stage for the rest of the book. Her quest to find out who she is and why she was left abandoned on the ship.

Even sitting here, the book freshly closed behind me, I’m recalling details of the book. It sends you on twists and turns, especially when you are in the midst of finding out what happened. The story starts off in modern day, but then various voices are picked up. Three generations are found in the dialogue, however while initially it seems unnecessary, you soon discover that you are eager to read more. Delve into why what happened in another dialogue.

Very well written, suspenseful and sad, yet joyful. Rich with details, every piece having a place in the story. It’s a book that I will be passing off to others to read, with the understanding, I must get it back. It is a book that I will be reading over and over in the future.

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