Book Review of The Forgotten Garden

The Forgotten Garden
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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.