Kate Morton Weaves a Rich Tale That Delights

Posted 4 June, 2012 by Allison Hiltz in Book Reviews, Fiction / 5 Comments

Kate Morton Weaves a Rich Tale That DelightsThe Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
Published by Pan Books on June 1, 2008
Pages: 648
Genres: Fiction

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.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton is an intricately woven tale of long-hidden family secrets and the quest to uncover them. Told from the viewpoint of 3 different generations, it is an excellent way to disappear from the world and into the garden! (says The Book Wheel).


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.

Check out Kate Morton’s books here:

The Forgotten Garden

Tattered Cover Bookstore


The Distant Hours

Tattered Cover Bookstore


The House at Riverton

Tattered Cover Bookstore


The Secret Keeper

Tattered Cover Bookstore


Allison Hiltz
Allison is a voracious reader, Law & Order aficionado, serial napper, shark conservationist, and crazy coffee drinker. She is currently pursuing her graduate degree in Public Policy and lives in Denver, CO with her husband and two rescue dogs. She can be contacted at allison(at)thebookwheelblog(dot)com.
Allison Hiltz

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  • http://fromisi.wordpress.com/ Isi

    Hi there, Allison! 😀
    I also loved this book. It was my first novel by Kate Morton, she had become very-very popular in Spain and everybody in the world had already read the book except me, but wow, when I finished it I regret not reading it before.
    Then I discovered The secret keeper (I read it in English and this time I was the first Spanish blogger to read it) and I couldn’t believe this book was even better than The forgotten garden :)
    I must to read the rest of her books!

    • The Book Wheel

      You must! Distant Hours was my least favorite but it was still good. I read another book called The Mill River Recluse around the same time and looved it, too.

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  • Mel

    This was my first Kate Morton novel I have read, and I absolutely love it. I can’t wait to read her other novels, however I’ve heard Distant Hours and House at Riverton are not as good…

    • The Book Wheel

      Forgotten Garden is definitely her best. I have The Secret Keeper but I haven’t read it yet. I’m hoping it is one of her better ones!