Book Reviews of The Forgotten Garden

The Forgotten Garden
The Forgotten Garden
Author: Kate Morton
ISBN-13: 9781416550549
ISBN-10: 1416550542
Publication Date: 4/7/2009
Pages: 480
Rating:
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 160

4.2 stars, based on 160 ratings
Publisher: Atria
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

115 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 330 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
In the beginning this book had me a little confused. Keeping the characters and their time frame straight was a bit of a challenge, but as soon as I grasped the feel of each individual, their own voices came through and the overall story and flow was much easier to follow.

Having quite enjoyed The House at Riverton, I knew that Morton wouldn't let me down with this telling of Nell who as a very young child was left on a ships dock in 1913 with no note or adult and only a little white suitcase containing some clothes and a volume of fairy tales. The dock master took pity on her and brought her home and raised her as his child. On her 21st birthday, a day that she had so looked forward to, her father told her the truth. Destroying the dreams that Nell had had for her future she was then determined to find her true history.

Unable to find the answers before her death, Nell's granddaughter Cassandra finds the suitcase and takes up her grandmothers search. What ensues is a slow unwrapping of family, betrayal, fear, and greed. The reader has to pay close attention since each chapter is told in a different time frame and the story is slowly revealed with quite a few, "oh, I get it now" moments.

Morton creates a beautiful setting with mystery and intrigue at a Cliff Cottage on the Cornish coast. Don't rush this book, take your time and find the clues along the way.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 16 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
My favorite book, since first hearing it read aloud by my teacher as a 3rd grader has been THE SECRET GARDEN. Who would have dreamed that this book was a grown-up version with the same breath-catching excitement. The character's histories are woven together beautifully as the author skips from one viewpoint and point in history to another. Love, love, love this book!
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
Enjoyable read. Great book for a trip or a few afternoons. Easy to read, and connect with the characters. A story filled with travel, discovery, surprise, love, and connection. This book would be good for a book club since it has many themes throughout the story that could be discussed. However, even if you read it for the simple joy of reading...you won't be disappointed. Enjoy!
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 23 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
This was a pretty good book but I felt it could have ended much sooner than it did. I had it all figured out many chapters before it ended. Seemed to drag a little. Also I kept getting mixed up about who some of the minor characters mixed up. Don't know...maybe they weren't developed enough but I would get frustrated when they would pop up and I'd have to go back and figure out who they were. All in all and okay book but not a favorite for me.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 36 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
Compelling story, pedestrian writing.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 636 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
What a beautiful book! A beautiful story in a beautifully bound book! I REALLY enjoyed this epic story. It was fascinatingly plotted, with rich characters and historical detail. I loved the whole fairy tale-angle, as well. The book just reminded me of stories from when I was younger. All in all, I really enjoyed it. A wonderful read and I definitely want to read anything else she writes!
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 231 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
I enjoyed this book immensely. It is very layered wth three generations and skips back and forth from past and present, but it is riveting once you know the pace of the book. Very engrossing with mystery and history.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
This is the best book I've read this year, probably the best book in the last couple of years. The story swaps between three time frames, the first and last separated by over 100 years, and also through a couple of fairytale stories written by one of the characters of the book. The fairytales are delightful just by themselves.

There is a mystery and there is a murder. It is not a conventional crime fiction story. It is evocative of books I read many years ago - authors like Victoria Holt, Daphne Du Maurier and Dorothy Eden. The setting is Cornwall, London, Brisbane Australia and a walled in garden with many secrets from the past.

The writing is excellent and the build up of the story and characters top notch. I highly recommend this book. You can watch a trailer of the book on YouTube, do a search.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 109 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Great author. Great premise. I could not take the slow length of this book. I was engaged, but at a point I became totally bored with the back and forth time periods, the flashbacks, the dry language. I think this book should have been edited down by 100 pages or so. Not a great read based on the pace and the boredom factor.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 246 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
This book grabbed me from the very beginning. The story weaves its way through 3 generations of women. How they end up connecting is breathtaking.
I highly recommend this book!
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
This is one of the best books ever wrote. It keeps you right in there untill the end then you wish there was more
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 721 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
If you are looking for a absorbing, satisfying, long read -- this is the book for you! This saga stretches over 100 years, told in the voices of the characters through the years. It constantly jumps from the turn of the 20th century to the present century, back to the 1970's and so on, slowly revealing the entire truth of the story as the characters live it. This was one of those books that I couldn't wait to finish and didn't want it to end at the same time. I really enjoyed "The Forgotten Garden" -- it is one of my top 10 reads of the year!
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Very interesting storyline from the perspectives of Eliza circa 1907, Nell circa 1975 and Cassandra 2005. Slipping between these times seamlessly, they all work to discover the mystery of their ancestors.

Nell (a four year old) was found by herself on the dock after a steam ship was unloaded in Brisbane Australia. Discovered and later "adopted" by the harbormaster and his wife. She learns that she is not their natural child on her 21st birthday. Many years later, as her stepfather lays dying, he asks that a small white suitcase be delivered to Nell.

Excellent character development, and a very engaging mystery. This is one of those books that you realize 3/4 of the way through that it is really a good one. Four stars.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 16 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Such a wonderful book, not what I would call a 'beach' read because the mood of it is more set to a rainy or snowy weekend, inside snuggled under the covers unfolding a mystery into the past. Morton is such a fantastic writer, characters come alive in your mind and the land in which they live settle around you. She seems to have an innate gift of using the overlapping timelines in history to lead the reader through the story she has created. I highly recommend this book, especially if you have a soft spot for history, both her books I've read use history in such a intriguing and lively way. Can't wait to start her next novel!
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 1729 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Title: The Forgotten Garden
Author: Kate Morton
ISBN: 9780330456968/Pan Books UK
Protagonist(s): Eliza, Nell and Cassandra
Setting(s): Brisbane, Australia and Cornwall, England in 1900, 1914, 1975 and 2005
Historical Fiction
Rating: A

First Line: It was dark where she was crouched but the little girl did as she'd been told.

It's 1913 and a dark, rainy night in Maryborough, Queensland, Australia, when a little four-year-old girl is found abandoned on the dock. The port master simply cannot believe that someone would walk away and leave such a tiny child, and he waits for hours for someone to claim her. No one does. Eventually he and his wife adopt the girl, name her Nell, and raise her as their own. When Nell becomes engaged to be married, her adopted father tells her the truth about that dark night, and she is changed forever. In 1975 Nell has the chance to try to find out her true identity and flies to England. Buying a cottage in Cornwall, she fully intends to return to Australia, tie up a few loose ends, and renew her search for her roots in Cornwall. Once back in Australia, life intervenes, and years later it is up to her granddaughter, Cassandra, to resume her grandmother's quest.

Having read and enjoyed Morton's previous book, The House at Riverton, I looked forward to reading this one. Morton proved skillful at weaving together the stories of three generations of women torn apart by another family's pride and sense of entitlement. The three main characters--Eliza, Nell and Cassandra--are presented warts and all, and as a result I felt as if I knew each one of them and had a personal stake in how their stories would end. The Cornish setting in particular came to life, and if the book's title reminds you of Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden, it should. At over 600 pages, it's a hefty book, but I was mesmerized by Morton's tale, and it did not seem overly long. Morton has become an author for me to watch.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 112 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I first read this author's other book, House at Riverton and that was great - this one was fabulous! I would give this one a 5 or more star rating! It bounces back every chapter which may get alitte confusing at first, but once you are in a few chapters, you want to read ahead to find out what happens!
This one is an import and won't be available until 2009 but it is totally worth the wait!
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 470 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
took me a while to get into this one, but it wasn't the books fault! I loved this saga of love lost, family plots and secrets, and finally resolution to the mysteries of the past! Book review: "Kate Morton's second novel is a rich and satisfying mystery set in England and Australia of a woman's search for her identity." Well written - a definite recommended book!!!
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 198 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This book took some time to get into and keep track of the 3 points of view but once I was into it, I was hooked! Some parts of it were a bit long and in some cases a bit unnecessary but overall, a really enjoyable read!
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 30 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I thought this was a great read. Even though I guessed toward the end what had happened, I was connected with the characters so that I kept reading. If you like Thirteenth Tale, you will like this one.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 29 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This book kept me spellbound from the first page to the last!
It is filled with love, heartbreak, deep soul searching, tears and laughter. It intertwines three generations (each chapter a different time) beautifully! Often, I have trouble keeping track and end up putting those type of books down. Not so here.... I loved the fairytale aspect and reminded me of old books from the past. Wonderful... you get to know the characters(love some ,hate some) When it ends you are filled with emotion!
A must for my private library!
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 38 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Good book. Liked the history of black hurst castle in Cornwall England. As with so many well to do families there is great tragedy but also great beauty in this story.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
It has been quite a while since I found a book I enjoyed as much as this one. If you loved The Secret Garden as a child or The Thirteenth Tale as an adult, this book is a "must-read".
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 43 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I must admit I liked her first book better. For me this book started off slow and there were parts I didn't think needed to be in the book it just made it that much more longer. The story bounces between three diffferent time periods. Over all the story was intersting but kinda long and there were some spots that seemed to drag on.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This is one of the best books I have read! It is filled with love, heartbreak, deep soul searching, tears and laughter. Very hard to put down once you start reading!

Be forewarned! The story is told through several points of view spanning a little over a century - Cassandra (Nell's granddaughter - 2005); Nell (1975); and Eliza (early 1900's). At first it was a bit disconcerting all the jumping around from character to character, but I quickly got over that and I absolutely loved it.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 116 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I enjoyed reading THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN by Kate Morton. It is an epic, magical tale stretching out over some 100 years, two countries and five generations of women. Once you get a handle on all the characters and the jumping between time periods, the reader is pulled into an engrossing story. I particularly liked the story of Eliza Makepeace and her fairy tales. I had minor quibbles with some of the story-- why did Nell's father wait 40 years to give her the suitcase? Why did Nell not share her story with Cassandra or return to Cornwall once Cassandra was grown? These issues did not distract from the heart of the story--the mystery of Nell's identity and why she was left alone on a ship bound for Australia. Two quotes from the novel: "You make a life out of what you have, not what you're missing" and "All wanting things they shouldn't or couldn't have" sum up this novel about abandonment, identity, regret and lost loved ones.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book. A great story with a twist
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 14 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I don't intend to go on and on about this book, but I must give it the proper credit. I literally fell into this book, it was not until about the middle that my attention wandered a bit. Also I did figure it out shortly after the middle but I forged on and I'm so glad that I did. The book was a bit long and I felt if I had to sit through one more "cuppa" I would scream...but sit I did. The story comes together so well in the end and even though you may figure it out its still worth it to make it to the finale. This writing is almost poetic. The characters are so well developed and you find those you love and those you hate. This is so far from my reading style, I'm a thriller reader but because of this book I think I will delve a little further out of my genre in the future. Actually this was a thriller/mystery but written in a softer tone. Loved the book and think that Morton is fast making a name for herself. 4 Stars only because of the parts that could have been left out....a few cuppa's to name a few.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 19 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Such a wonderful place to escape to. I found myself getting lost in the forgotten garden. Such a magical tale. You truly fall for the characters. Bittersweet at times, but all together such a hope filled story. I can't bear to part with this book, I would rank it in my top five books that I have ever read. I can't wait to read more by Kate. I feel like this is the type of book that you could read over and over, and discover new things each time. Don't let the length put you off, it is so hard to put down, that when you hit page 500, you are sad that it will soon be over.
Also, I love that they included some of Eliza's fairy tales throughout the book, it just made it that much more magical. :)
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book was fantastic! The historical twists and turns are engaging, and the parallelism between various characters keeps it very engaging.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 29 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book kept me spellbound from the first page to the last!
It is filled with love, heartbreak, deep soul searching, tears and laughter. It intertwines three generations (each chapter a different time) beautifully! Often, I have trouble keeping track and end up putting those type of books down. Not so here.... I loved the fairytale aspect and reminded me of old books from the past. Wonderful... you get to know the characters(love some ,hate some) When it ends you are filled with emotion!
A must for my private library!
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Very good book. Enjoyed the cast of characters, even if I did sometimes have to remind myself of who was who! Great story told in three different time periods, very entertaining. I did figure out the mystery but it was great fun getting there! Thoroughly recommend. I will keep my copy to lend out and to read it again later on!
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 27 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A well written book, with a lot of mystery throughout the whole story!! Really holds your interest and it's a pass-on book. The only thing that I found to be distracting was flipping through 3 generations. Had to keep checking back to keep the characters straight and you only get the surprise in the last 2 chapters. Highly Recommend!!!
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on
Helpful Score: 1
I ended up loving Morton's first novel, "The House at Riverton." But I was disappointed in her second, "The Forgotten Garden." She uses many of the same plot devices in both novels, but to less effect in the second, which continually flashes forward and backward among 3 different women from 3 generations. The mystery is less urgent and less interesting here than in The House at Riverton, and, for me, the characters less varied and narrow. I had a hard time reading to the end, perhaps because I didn't have much emotion or interest invested in the plot or characters this time around.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 85 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Bookclub selection for August. This was a forgettable book. Set in 3 different times eras. A 4 year old was supposedly abandoned on a ship to Austrialia. She was taken in but found out when she was 21 that her parents found her. She eventually tries to find out who her mother was but does not suceed. The task falls upon her granddaughter after she dies. Good story, long book, at times storyline seems contrived.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 32 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I love this book. I've read the Distant Hours and have another one of her books on my wish list. Can't wait .Kate Morton has a way to pull you in and then just when you think you have it all worked out she puts another twist here and turn there. I really loved it!I could hardly put in down,Great read!
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 31 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I haven't finished the story yet (about 3/4 of the way through), but felt the need to write a review early. I disagree with the reviewer Sherry S. who says the writing is pedestrian. This is a well written book. I have a good grasp on vocabulary and still needed to look up a few words I was unfamiliar with. I like that the author didn't 'dumb down' her writing. The story is a little hard to follow at first as it jumps around in time (2005, 1913, 1975, etc.), but you get used it and are able to follow the flow of the story lines. I have my guess as to what the answer is to the mystery, but I am still interested in reaching the end/conclusion.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 16 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I loved it so much, I don't think I can part with it! It kept me guessing and made me fall in love with the characters. Parting with it would be like saying good bye to good friends.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 203 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A memorable read, but be patient when you pick this one up! The author is very detail oriented. She goes back and forth between time periods and at times I found myself skimming through some of the fluff. Overall, the book was worth reading... just not a site-down-and-read-in-one-day kind of book.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 120 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I enjoyed this book. The author pulled me into it and did not let go throughout, even after it was clear to me what the answer to the 'mystery' was. I kept sneaking just one more chapter before I left for work or in bed at night, and I stayed up last night fairly late just to finish it. So clearly, the author succeeded in making me like this book.

The author's plotting (strategy? gimmick?) is to have the reader jumping back and forth through time, between the grown granddaughter's narrative, the grandmother's narrative, the faity tale author's narrative and the child's narrative. I thought it was a little choppy at first, but stick it out and you will become comfortable with these leaps. I enjoyed how an event in the past would be viewed one way, and then when the same event was told in the present tense by someone else, the reader would see how the event was not at all what it seemed. The author also inserts a few of the fairy tales throughout the book, and this is a pleasant diversion. The characters are interesting - it seems that no matter how minor a character is, they have a back story, which creates a really layered experience. Altogether I would group this book with "The Thirteenth Tale" and maybe even with "Shadow of the Wind." If you enjoyed either of those books, you will probably like this one too.

However, the mystery is pretty hokey. Nell's parentage was clear to me from about halfway through the book, and I do not think I am especially clever.(There is a spoiler at the end of this review so stop reading after this paragraph if you haven't read the book.) And I think the author packed it a little too full of eccentric behavior - Did Linus really need to have a limp? Did the kids really need to play "The Ripper"? Who was the ghost with the key in the door? Did Eliza really need to have a skill at catching rats? Did Ruby really need to have an abortion in her backstory? Did Davies have to be a recluse? What exactly was the point of having Francis Hodgson Burnett in the story (I know, "The Secret Garden" and all that, but was this really necessary in a book already jam-packed?) But the thing that bothered me the most was Cassandra's tragic backstory of her husband and son - was that really necessary? Still, despite my quibbling, I enjoyed this book tremendously.


SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!SPOILER ALERT!!!! SPOILER AHEAD!!!!

It seemed pretty obvious to me that Eliza was Nell's mother, but my initial theory was that Walker had fathered two kids - one by his wife and one by Eliza, and they were switched because Rose's daughter died at birth. Wasn't Nell hair supposed to be red, and Rose was always described as a dark beauty and Walker had brown curls, so where did Nell's red hair come from if not from Georgiana and Eliza? I also thought that Walker and Eliza had some great love affair which was not actually true, although there was an indication of a spark. I also could not figure out where Eliza had gone. So while I figured out part of it, the author managed to keep me guessing. I still do not think that Cassandra had to have a son who died - a husband who died would have gotten us to the same point plotwise, and frankly, that seemed a little over the top pathos-wise.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 77 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book! By an Australian best selling writer, the story is set in Australia and England. I was hooked right away by the riveting opening situation. The chapters jump back and forth between time periods and characters, which only adds to the suspense in the 2nd half. This is a mystery. If you've ever been to Cornwall, you will picture the descriptions...I read a lot, and had just put down our book club selection as boring and hard to remember which character is which. Picked this up instead, and am sorry it ended. Very satisfying read.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 902 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I will probably be in the minority for this review, but here it is anyway...

First, I am a huge fan of Kate Morton's debut novel, "The House at Riverton." Because of that I held very high hopes for this, her second novel, but I walked away a little disappointed.

The characters were interesting but I found them to be a little too severely, or perhaps too stereotypically, drawn. The main character, Nell, frustrated me immensely. I have no issue reading long books, but this one seemed long simply for the sake of its own length and not for the necessity of its content.

I found the multiple time jumps from distant past (1907), to past (1975), to present (2005) to be just as jarring as they were informative. The pacing started to drag and it threatened to bog down under the weight of its own sluggishness. There was something of a "twist" at the end, but I found it poorly hidden and I saw it coming from a mile away.

I read Diane Setterfield's "The Thirteenth Tale" prior to reading "The Forgotten Garden" and I found myself experiencing more than a little bit of deja vu. The plots of these two books are frustratingly similar and I had to make an effort just to keep the plots straight. Morton is a good writer who tells engaging stories, but this particular novel could have benefited from some serious editing and a touch more originality.

In all, it was a 3-star offering. I liked it. I stayed up late to see how it would end. But I will hold out hope that her third novel will prove to be more like the first and better than her second.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on
Helpful Score: 1
This is not "my type of novel" at all. I'm not usually interested in books with this style or subject matter. But I am so glad that my coworkers were passing it around and raving about it, because it made me curious enough to take a turn. It was a really nice departure from the books I normally choose. At times it did feel a little pedestrian as another reviewer describes it. But overall, it was enchanting and fast paced. In particular, the "longest ago" portions of the book felt unexpectedly vivid and believable!
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is a great book. Suspenseful, yet touching. An interesting way of telling a story through intermingling stories of the paths of different people in different time periods.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 88 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book. The story is long and convoluted but it kept me engaged. I had read The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton before reading this one. I really liked The Secret Keeper and was surprised to find that I liked The Forgotten Garden even more.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 75 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This story takes root in your imagination and grows into something enchanting--from a little girl with no memories left alone on a ship to Australia, to a fog-soaked London river bend where orphans comfort themselves with stories of Jack the Ripper, to a Cornish sea heaving against wind-whipped cliffs, crowned by an airless manor house where an overgrown hedge maze ends in the walled garden of a cottage left to rot.

This hidden bit of earth revives barren hearts, while the mysterious Authoress's fairy tales (every bit as magical and sinister as Grimm's) whisper truths and ignite the imaginary lives of children. As Morton draws you through a thicket of secrets that spans generations, her story could cross into fairy tale territory if her characters weren't clothed in such complex flesh, their judgment blurred by the heady stench of emotions (envy, lust, pride, love) that furtively flourished in the glasshouse of Edwardian society.

While most ache for a spotless mind's eternal sunshine, the Authoress meets the past as "a cruel mistress with whom we must all learn to dance," and her stories gift children with this vital muscle memory.

I love finding new writers and ones that are not from the States. Love all of her books and have them in my personal library. Waiting for her next one to come out. Fantastic read.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 54 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Having enjoyed "The House at Riverton" by this author, I looked forward to reading "The Forgotten Garden," and I think I actually enjoyed it more than the former. There's something for everyone... Mystery within mystery (without being heavy and difficult to read), love, betrayal, intrigue. Interesting characters that hold your attention. The story moves back and forth through time, and you have to keep up with who's who, but it's pretty well done.

I read it on a long car trip and it made the miles fly. Can't wait for her next book! *thumbs up*
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 96 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Loved this book. It's one of those kinds of novels that you become good friends with, hating to part company with at the end of a chapter, or the end of the day. So full of enchanting and engrossing details, the characters as real to life as can be in any book. I am now moving on to other Kate Morton books, as they are meaty, engrossing, and a fully satisfying read.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 18 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A beautifully written book. Goes back and forth through 3 time periods but is very easy to follow. What an amazing twist at the end! Read it, you won't be sorry!
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is a wonderful book by Kate Morton and after reading it, I went back and looked up her other books to read. I love the way she "crafts words" and the characters are very real. I really became lost in the story and when I had to sit it down, I couldn't wait to get back to the book! It is a lovely touching book that reminds us how important our past is to our todays and tomorrows.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Not really knowing what this book was about I was unprepared for the journey it would take me on. Set in three eras and following the lives of two women across two continents it might have been confusing. But each chapter had a place and time as the title and each woman had a distinctive voice so there was not trouble. An epic historical mystery that gave away none of its secrets until the proper time. Kate Morton creates portals back and forth in time and place and introduces us to two interesting strong female characters whose lives were different but who shared an incredible bond. Beautifully written. Fans of historical fiction and mystery both will enjoy this book.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 29 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book kept me spellbound from the first page to the last!
It is filled with love, heartbreak, deep soul searching, tears and laughter. It intertwines three generations (each chapter a different time) beautifully! Often, I have trouble keeping track and end up putting those type of books down. Not so here.... I loved the fairytale aspect and reminded me of old books from the past. Wonderful... you get to know the characters(love some ,hate some) When it ends you are filled with emotion!
A must for my private library!
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 188 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A delightful escape into a magical place. I absolutely loved this book and found it hard to put down. I love fairy-tale types of stories and this was 500-plus pages of blissful reading. Not classy literature, but a well-done fantastic read with memorable characters.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 12 more book reviews
I truly liked The Forgotten Garden and had a hard time putting it down. That being said I often found myself looking back over past chapters to link the parts together; I felt like I was reading 3 books within one. Even with that distraction I earnestly read to find out the whole story. It is a long read, but after the first page I was hooked into the mystery of the lives of the characters.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 10 more book reviews
Absolutely amazing! I truly enjoyed this book and can't believe I put it off for so long due to the length of the book. If you like a little bit of history and a bunch of family secrets, this is a great read!
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 1049 more book reviews
The story and the characters pull you in. Even though the resolution was clear before the ending was reached, it was still a good story to read.
reviewed The Forgotten Garden on + 902 more book reviews
I will probably be in the minority for this review, but here it is anyway...

First, I am a huge fan of Kate Morton's debut novel, "The House at Riverton." Because of that I held very high hopes for this, her second novel, but I walked away a little disappointed.

The characters were interesting but I found them to be a little too severely, or perhaps too stereotypically, drawn. The main character, Nell, frustrated me immensely. I have no issue reading long books, but this one seemed long simply for the sake of its own length and not for the necessity of its content.

I found the multiple time jumps from distant past (1907), to past (1975), to present (2005) to be just as jarring as they were informative. The pacing started to drag and it threatened to bog down under the weight of its own sluggishness. There was something of a "twist" at the end, but I found it poorly hidden and I saw it coming from a mile away.

I read Diane Setterfield's "The Thirteenth Tale" prior to reading "The Forgotten Garden" and I found myself experiencing more than a little bit of deja vu. The plots of these two books are frustratingly similar and I had to make an effort just to keep the plots straight. Morton is a good writer who tells engaging stories, but this particular novel could have benefited from some serious editing and a touch more originality.

In all, it was a 3-star offering. I liked it. I stayed up late to see how it would end. But I will hold out hope that her third novel will prove to be more like the first and better than her second.
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I will probably be in the minority for this review, but here it is anyway...

First, I am a huge fan of Kate Morton's debut novel, "The House at Riverton." Because of that I held very high hopes for this, her second novel, but I walked away a little disappointed.

The characters were interesting but I found them to be a little too severely, or perhaps too stereotypically, drawn. The main character, Nell, frustrated me immensely. I have no issue reading long books, but this one seemed long simply for the sake of its own length and not for the necessity of its content.

I found the multiple time jumps from distant past (1907), to past (1975), to present (2005) to be just as jarring as they were informative. The pacing started to drag and it threatened to bog down under the weight of its own sluggishness. There was something of a "twist" at the end, but I found it poorly hidden and I saw it coming from a mile away.

I read Diane Setterfield's "The Thirteenth Tale" prior to reading "The Forgotten Garden" and I found myself experiencing more than a little bit of deja vu. The plots of these two books are frustratingly similar and I had to make an effort just to keep the plots straight. Morton is a good writer who tells engaging stories, but this particular novel could have benefited from some serious editing and a touch more originality.

In all, it was a 3-star offering. I liked it. I stayed up late to see how it would end. But I will hold out hope that her third novel will prove to be more like the first and better than her second.
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This book kept me spellbound from the first page to the last!
It is filled with love, heartbreak, deep soul searching, tears and laughter. It intertwines three generations (each chapter a different time) beautifully! Often, I have trouble keeping track and end up putting those type of books down. Not so here.... I loved the fairytale aspect and reminded me of old books from the past. Wonderful... you get to know the characters(love some ,hate some) When it ends you are filled with emotion!
A must for my private library!
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I will probably be in the minority for this review, but here it is anyway...

First, I am a huge fan of Kate Morton's debut novel, "The House at Riverton." Because of that I held very high hopes for this, her second novel, but I walked away a little disappointed.

The characters were interesting but I found them to be a little too severely, or perhaps too stereotypically, drawn. The main character, Nell, frustrated me immensely. I have no issue reading long books, but this one seemed long simply for the sake of its own length and not for the necessity of its content.

I found the multiple time jumps from distant past (1907), to past (1975), to present (2005) to be just as jarring as they were informative. The pacing started to drag and it threatened to bog down under the weight of its own sluggishness. There was something of a "twist" at the end, but I found it poorly hidden and I saw it coming from a mile away.

I read Diane Setterfield's "The Thirteenth Tale" prior to reading "The Forgotten Garden" and I found myself experiencing more than a little bit of deja vu. The plots of these two books are frustratingly similar and I had to make an effort just to keep the plots straight. Morton is a good writer who tells engaging stories, but this particular novel could have benefited from some serious editing and a touch more originality.

In all, it was a 3-star offering. I liked it. I stayed up late to see how it would end. But I will hold out hope that her third novel will prove to be more like the first and better than her second.
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This book weaves together several generations of women of a family in an intriguing way - mysteriously and rather romantically, though some of the characters are less than attractive in their adherence to their own psychoses, which are informed by various mores and tragedies in their lives. A really entertaining and well written read, even with an homage to Frances Hodgson Burnett whose famous book "The Secret Garden" perhaps inspired this author's title The Forgotten Garden.
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I was attracted to this book because it seemed to promise a fairy tale vibe, which is definitely the kind of vibe I like to read. From the synopsis, I didn't think it could go wrong: a young girl abandoned on a dock in Australia with only a book of fairy tales as a clue to her true identity.

My expectations were too high, because I just didn't dig it. I wanted more fairy tales (there were only three told in entirety, with the rest referred to by other characters - only making me wish I were reading those fairy tales instead of this book.) "The Forgotten Garden" also suffered from the multiple narratives and time-jumping. There were too many characters in all three timelines: the timeline of the lost girl trying to find the key to her past, the timeline of her granddaughter trying to finish putting together the mystery, and the earliest timeline of the authoress of the book of fairytales. I had trouble keeping track of what side characters went with which storyline (because they were so insignificant that their names and personalities didn't matter to me), not to mention that I felt like I was constantly being ripped out of one setting and plopped into another with flawed integration. Also, I felt that the author spent too much time delving into the psychoses of other characters that just didn't matter to the central plot of the book (which was "WTF is this little girl doing on this dock and where'd she come from anyway?")

It's overlong and it seemed as though the author was just a little too impressed with herself for masterminding this whole thing. That being said, I did knock out the final 300 pages in one sitting on my sick bed one afternoon. But that was only because I couldn't reach another book. Yes, it was engaging enough to keep me reading. But no, it wasn't really worth my time.
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I will probably be in the minority for this review, but here it is anyway...

First, I am a huge fan of Kate Morton's debut novel, "The House at Riverton." Because of that I held very high hopes for this, her second novel, but I walked away a little disappointed.

The characters were interesting but I found them to be a little too severely, or perhaps too stereotypically, drawn. The main character, Nell, frustrated me immensely. I have no issue reading long books, but this one seemed long simply for the sake of its own length and not for the necessity of its content.

I found the multiple time jumps from distant past (1907), to past (1975), to present (2005) to be just as jarring as they were informative. The pacing started to drag and it threatened to bog down under the weight of its own sluggishness. There was something of a "twist" at the end, but I found it poorly hidden and I saw it coming from a mile away.

I read Diane Setterfield's "The Thirteenth Tale" prior to reading "The Forgotten Garden" and I found myself experiencing more than a little bit of deja vu. The plots of these two books are frustratingly similar and I had to make an effort just to keep the plots straight. Morton is a good writer who tells engaging stories, but this particular novel could have benefited from some serious editing and a touch more originality.

In all, it was a 3-star offering. I liked it. I stayed up late to see how it would end. But I will hold out hope that her third novel will prove to be more like the first and better than her second.
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Really good read! Definitely pay attention to the fairy tale sub stories for a better understanding of where the book is going.
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This was a very entertaining, well-crafted book that was hard for me to put down. I highly recommend it.
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I listened to this book on audio and I absolutely loved it. I found that it was a bit confusing to keep the characters straight as they kept going back and forth in time. However, it was a great fairy tale in every way and very entertaining. Its a book that could also be a great Young Adult selection.
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I grew up reading fairy-tales and never ever did I ever have any trouble jumping into the world of the story. Kate Morton's book, The Forgotten Garden, weaves the magical world of fairy-tales with that of a story spanning three generations of women and the search for home. I love this book.
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I absolutely loved this book. I hated to finish it.
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A beautiful tale, cleverly crafted and intricately woven. One of the best books I've read in a very long time.
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Morton's approach in this novel is quite different from Distant Hours. Nevertheless, I do like this technique where she goes back and forth in time with different story tellers. Having searched for ancesters myself, I understand Cassandra's fascination for solving the mystery of her grandmother's background. The story is told by so many voices but the author has such talent that the tale seems to flow flawlessly. At the age of four Nell was abandoned on a ship heading for Australia. Who was she? Who were her parents? Where was her family? While she grows up in loving family when she discovers that abandonment she searches her memories and whatever clues she can find to discover who she is. Why did her mother leave her alone on this ship? Didn't her mother care about her? Nell unearths part of the secret but the rest remains for her granddaughter, Cassandra, to unravel after Nell's death. Cassandra, her grandmother Nell and Eliza told their portions with such deep emotion. Unraveling the mystery is at last completed by Cassandra who follows her grandmother's footsteps to uncover her true identity. The truth is strange indeed. What a wonderful story!
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A good read.
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Beautifully written, engaging plot, if you don't mind every little plot twist drawn out to a frustrating length. I found this story extremely sad. In each of the three time lines, the characters' lives are made empty by their own choices.
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Very hard to put this book down once you start it! The storyline really draws the reader in and the author gives you the feeling that you are there. Full of mystery. I would highly recommend!
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My first, but not my last, Kate Morton book and I loved it! Will be recommending this to everyone.
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I really thought this book was fantastic. at first it was a little hard to get used to the jumping back and forth in time, but a few chapters in I got used to the flow. The book does throw a few surprises in that were not expected. As soon as I thought I knew the answer re. Nell's voyage and the Authoress, Morton threw in a slight detour. If you enjoy historical fiction, you should like this. A touch of romance, a lot of mystery, some really depressing moments, some happy moments. I think this book will stick with me for quite a while. I am anxious to try other books from Morton.
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Loved it!

I love Kate Morton's books. She is a true storyteller, which is a talent not many modern novelists can claim to be. It reminds me of when my grandmother used to say "now thats a story."

The narrator of the audiobook is spot on in her reading of it and her voice is perfect for the story.
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This book kept me spellbound from the first page to the last!
It is filled with love, heartbreak, deep soul searching, tears and laughter. It intertwines three generations (each chapter a different time) beautifully! Often, I have trouble keeping track and end up putting those type of books down. Not so here.... I loved the fairytale aspect and reminded me of old books from the past. Wonderful... you get to know the characters(love some ,hate some) When it ends you are filled with emotion!
A must for my private library!
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I found it very challenging to follow all the characters and put the pieces together! I wanted to know how the story got solved, but found it frustrating to keep it all straight.
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A well-paced tale whose intriguing mystery will keep you turning pages to the very end. Fans of fairy tales or "The Secret Garden" will enjoy this story as well. Recommended.
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I truly enjoyed this wonderful tale!
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I will probably be in the minority for this review, but here it is anyway...

First, I am a huge fan of Kate Morton's debut novel, "The House at Riverton." Because of that I held very high hopes for this, her second novel, but I walked away a little disappointed.

The characters were interesting but I found them to be a little too severely, or perhaps too stereotypically, drawn. The main character, Nell, frustrated me immensely. I have no issue reading long books, but this one seemed long simply for the sake of its own length and not for the necessity of its content.

I found the multiple time jumps from distant past (1907), to past (1975), to present (2005) to be just as jarring as they were informative. The pacing started to drag and it threatened to bog down under the weight of its own sluggishness. There was something of a "twist" at the end, but I found it poorly hidden and I saw it coming from a mile away.

I read Diane Setterfield's "The Thirteenth Tale" prior to reading "The Forgotten Garden" and I found myself experiencing more than a little bit of deja vu. The plots of these two books are frustratingly similar and I had to make an effort just to keep the plots straight. Morton is a good writer who tells engaging stories, but this particular novel could have benefited from some serious editing and a touch more originality.

In all, it was a 3-star offering. I liked it. I stayed up late to see how it would end. But I will hold out hope that her third novel will prove to be more like the first and better than her second.
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A lost child's search for her heritage covers two continents and nearly a century as old secrets are uncovered bit by bit.
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This book kept me rivoted throughout. It takes you from generation to generation, although I had to write down who was related to whom (and how they were related), because the relationships were complicated, but that's what made the mystery spicy!! LOVEd it. Won't let this one go. It's a 'keeper'!!
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Engrossing intergenerational mystery - great escapist read
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Really liked the book. Different countries, different time periods. It's a mystery and you pick up pieces along the way. It could have wrapped up a bit quicker at the end, but I did enjoy it. The descriptions of time, people and places drew you right into the life with the families.
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What a great book. There are so many aspects to the plot, but certainly one is "what goes around comes around." Loved it.
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This was a good book. Clean writing. No swearing or vulgarity. I am all for picking up those big, fat books, but this was a L-O-N-G, drawn out book. Took me quite a while to read, but not because of the page count. The ending (like the last 100 pgs) was really good, fast reading, but this author has a talent for really... drawing... things... out! I picked up the book because of all the great reviews and almost just quit reading it because there were so many slow parts. I was able to sum up the whole book to my husband in about 20 minutes. Overall, it's a good read, just don't expect anything fast paced (and you'll probably fall asleep reading it in bed).
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Amazing! So many stories going on at once and yet it's so easy to follow.

From the back of the book:
A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and single book-a beautiful volume of fairy tales. She is taken in by the dockmaster and his wife and raised as their own. On her 21st bday, they tell her the truth, and with her sense of self shattered and very little to go on, "Nell" sets out to trace her real identity. Her quest leads her to Blackhurst Manor on the Cornish coast and the secrets of the doomed Mountrachet family. But it is not until her granddaughter, Cassandra, takes up the search after Nell's death that all the pieces of the puzzle are assembled. A spellbinding tale of mystery and self-discovery, The Forgotten Garden will take hold of your imagination and never let go.
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one of the two best books I read all year(2010).. loved that it went back and forth thru 3 generations but kept the story tied together. LOVED IT.
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Take your time with this read. You may lose your way at first with each chapter taking on a different era. Don't give up on it! It is worth taking your time to figure out who is who. The magic starts early on in the first few chapters. I promise you will not be able to put the book down!
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This is a good book, but it is a challenge to read it because it jumps around in time from the 1900's to l970's to the present in the '90's and you really have to watch the headings on the chapters or you can get lost. Nevertheless, I would recommend it. Genny
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This book is a trifle long, but really holds your interest.There are 3 time periods interwoven in the story and sometimes gets a little confusing. I had to take a break a couple of times, but glad I finished.
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The Forgotten Garden tells the tale of the Mountrachet family.

This book was hard to put down. There has only been a few books that I have read that kept my head spinning and wanting more. I always think about The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield and this book the Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton will join those books.
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This is a great story. It revolves around 3 generations of women that span a century. Although the story skips into different time frames frequently, it is not difficult for the reader to follow the thread. The best part to me was the mystery in the life of Nell, who tries to unravel her own life's origins. Just as you think you have it figured out, a strange new twist is uncovered and the search must continue. The ending was very satisfying and all the plot twists were neatly tied up. I really loved the author's talent with descriptions and phrases. It made for fresh reading throughout the book. D.
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Loved the book. Best one I read in quite awhile. Could not put the book down!! Takes place with 3 generations from 1916 to 2005 and I love multigenerational reads.
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Loved the Forgotten Garden! One of my fav. books.
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Long but totally enjoyable. To me it seemed to drag out until about the last third of the book then I couldn't put it down. Should you read it? most certainly.
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Interesting tale that spans 3 generations. Child of a couple in England is adopted in Australia; her granddaughter researches the family's past. Well written saga with memorable characters.
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Very good; well written. Highly recommend.
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Very well written.
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Yuck. A tale full of "Heroic Women" in the least interesting sense. Bored me so much I could not really finish it, just skimmed through it.
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It took me several months to read this book, not because it was boring or bad, but because I have very little time to read. When I read it, I couldn't read it fast enough. It is a compelling story, told by 3 generations from the early 1900s to present day. The book was very well written and the characters very believable. I ordered another book by the same author because I liked her writing so well. I passed my copy on to a friend to read. Great book!
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I liked this book and am glad I read it. The setting was beautiful. Likable, relatable characters. A good mystery that wrapped up nicely by the end.
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A good story. Lots of time shifts but not usually too hard to follow. Nicely done.
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I will probably be in the minority for this review, but here it is anyway...

First, I am a huge fan of Kate Morton's debut novel, "The House at Riverton." Because of that I held very high hopes for this, her second novel, but I walked away a little disappointed.

The characters were interesting but I found them to be a little too severely, or perhaps too stereotypically, drawn. The main character, Nell, frustrated me immensely. I have no issue reading long books, but this one seemed long simply for the sake of its own length and not for the necessity of its content.

I found the multiple time jumps from distant past (1907), to past (1975), to present (2005) to be just as jarring as they were informative. The pacing started to drag and it threatened to bog down under the weight of its own sluggishness. There was something of a "twist" at the end, but I found it poorly hidden and I saw it coming from a mile away.

I read Diane Setterfield's "The Thirteenth Tale" prior to reading "The Forgotten Garden" and I found myself experiencing more than a little bit of deja vu. The plots of these two books are frustratingly similar and I had to make an effort just to keep the plots straight. Morton is a good writer who tells engaging stories, but this particular novel could have benefited from some serious editing and a touch more originality.

In all, it was a 3-star offering. I liked it. I stayed up late to see how it would end. But I will hold out hope that her third novel will prove to be more like the first and better than her second.
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Kate Morton is one of my favorite writers because I enjoy the development of her characters and the pace of her plotting.

The Forgotten Garden is my favorite of her books to date.
I forced myself not to read the last chapter first. Every time I thought I had figure out the solution to the mystery, I was fooled with a very logical twist. No out of the blue red herrings but plausible twists. In many ways this story reminds me of the best of the Victorian/ Edwardian family puzzle mysteries.

I highly recommend this book.
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this one is going to be hard to shake off. Several stories are told in three different time periods, weaving together the origins of Cassandra's recently deceased grandmother, Nell.
I loved the feel the author gives the book, where you almost are there (that is why it's going to be hard to climb out of that world).
The story was almost predictable, but with great twists and surprises that made it very interesting even if you had an idea of where it was going already.
The best part of the book: With so many points of view through the different time periods, you do learn exactaly what happened, without having to guess at the end.
The worst part of the book: long long long. Probably part of the great descriptions the author uses and the multiple points of view, but still, it was a LONG book.
Honorable mention: the fairy tales included in the books were sweet, but almost a little too telling about the rest of the story. I would have loved to see the illustrations the author imagined went with them!
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An intriguing gothic suspense that spans 3 generations that had me feeling the writing style for this author was slightly similar to that of Setterfield's "The Thirteenth Tale".

The book centers around three protagonists, one from each generation, beginning in the Victorian era. Characters personalities are clearly understood and the physical descriptions allow readers to easily understand the personalities of the characters and immerse themselves into their world.

The Mountrachet family's lifestyle seemed very similar to Downton Abbey's Crawley family, with the exception that the Mountrachet's are a horribly dysfunctional family.
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Great book.....I was a little disappointed in the normality of the plot (I was hoping for something REALLY sordid) but overall, a definite keeper. Kate Morton writes great books if you're into that victorian semi-gothic like I am (The Thirteenth Tale, The Shadow of the Wind, Rebecca.....)
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Excellent book!
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I enjoyed this and read and there is a lot to think about and discuss after. I don't know why but when it ended I was let down. I don't know why, great mysteries and loved the jumping from person and time. So many twists.
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I loved this book. I mean I L-O-V-E-D this book. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is that it was a bit confusing at the very beginning. But, in all fairness, that may have been my fault. I didn't always read the chapter headers to see what year it was in the book.

Nell, is found at age 4, by the wharfmaster in Australia. Obviously, she just got off the ship but where is her family? Hugh can't just leave her there so he takes her home with him and thus begins her live in Oz.

This book is about where Nell came from, how she ended up in Australia, and her birth family. But it's not told in a linear fashion.

We learn about her grandmother, her mother and Nell's own granddaughter. And we learn about Blackhurst, an estate in Cornwall, England. All of these (less about Australia), make up a sprawling, interwoven mystery about who Nell is and why she was on that ship, alone, in the first place.

We are introduced to a character known as the Authoress but she disappears after putting Nell on the ship and telling her to hide. Why? Who puts a child that young on a ship bound for Australia?

This was a real page turner. Sometimes I was frustrated because I'd be reading along about one character, and then, suddenly, the book would jump forward 50 or more years. Then I'd become enthralled in what was happening in that time to be flung backwards 25 years. And just when I'd think I'd have my finger on something, something else would be revealed and I'd be in the dark again. It was wonderful. LOL

If you enjoy long, sprawling novels about life in the beginning of the past century, a mystery, and strong, capable (but also fragile) women, this book is for you!
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Five stars, a wonderful story! I have kept thinking about these characters even years after I read thebook!
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Good read Great author. Her books not dissappointments!
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Loved the book! I got confused sometimes as the book jumped back and forth between the different time periods covered, but the characters were well covered and I found the writing very enjoyable. I will definitely read her other books.
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Good story