Book Review of The Forgotten Garden

The Forgotten Garden
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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!