Published by Pan Books on June 1, 2008
From Goodreads: 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 a 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 twenty-first birthday, 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.
When I think of Kate Morton, the words “richly woven tale” come to mind. Her stories are so intricate and leave no stone unturned. But not in that overly-descriptive way that leaves nothing to the imagination (like White Oleander). Although there are a few hokey sentences like, “For to think was to dip the paint-loaded brush of doubt into the clear water of certainty”, she manages to find a balance between giving you just enough information to create your own image but without being too vague.
What I loved about this book (although it took a little time to get my bearings) is that it is told from 3 different perspectives, all of which are relevant. Usually when a story is told in this way it leaves huge empty gaps and either the story is not fully wrapped up or it is explained in a rush at the end of the book (which for me, ruins the whole book). That was not the case with “The Forgotten Garden” and is one of the reasons that I love Kate Morton.
This was my third Kate Morton book (the previous two being “The House at Riverton” and “The Distant Hours“) and I’m looking forward to her next one, “The Secret Keeper“, which is expected out this October.
Author’s Update (October, 2012): I won an advanced copy of “The Secret Keeper” and am looking forward to reading it! The review will be posted as soon as possible.