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The Forgotten Garden

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  148,235 Ratings  ·  15,286 Reviews
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 ...more
Kindle Edition, 660 pages
Published March 13th 2009 by Atria (first published 2008)
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Virpi This is totally deliberate. My first thought too was that she ripped of The Secret Garden (a sickly child and a forbidden garden) and I was kind of…moreThis is totally deliberate. My first thought too was that she ripped of The Secret Garden (a sickly child and a forbidden garden) and I was kind of annoyed by this , but later on when she marches F. Hodgson Burnett to the garden party my annoyance turns to admiration. Quite clever! Also, there's even discussion among the characters about a story about a secret garden and Burnett suggests a mysterious atmosphere with genuine miracles - which Burnetts's classic definitely is.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Kat Kennedy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 20, 2010 Hannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hannah by: Carol Kerry-green
Aussie author Kate Morton deftly managed to push nearly every one of my reading buttons with her lovely book, The Forgotten Garden:

1. Not so young woman with a haunted past - check
2. Not-so-fairy-Grandmother who bequeaths said woman an old house with a mysterious history - check
3. Said old, mysterious house is actually a cottage on the wild Cornish coast, complete with a hidden garden, a handsome neighbor, and the faintest suggestion of the supernatural - check
4. Said woman embarks on a quest to
Aug 07, 2009 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-seller, mystery
While this is ostensibly a novel of secrets spanning four generations, most of the “secrets” are fairly obvious. I kept waiting for the blow to fall — murder? incest? buried treasure?? Alas, no. The narration shifts among different-but-related storylines, all of which, to be fair, I found intriguing: in 1913 a child who can’t remember her name turns up on an Australian dock carrying a book of fairy tales; in 2005 her granddaughter tries to uncover the mysteries of a hidden garden in Cornwall; in ...more
Sometimes when people keep recommending a book, you should listen and read that book. The Forgotten Garden is such a book. You finally read it and end up wondering why in the world you waited so long. Kate Morton provides the intricate layering of different times and places in a masterful manner, gifting the reader with a story that captures the imagination and heart completely. Nell, as the lost child, is the pivotal character around which all mysteries and actions revolve. A tale that begins ...more
Mar 23, 2009 Cheryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys reading gentler books
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is an easy read, and yet gave me room to pause as I stopped to think. I like books that let me do that without pounding me into a pulp on the way. I suspect the book might appeal more to women then men and it would be a good choice of several of the reading circles I know.

My only regret: that Eliza's book of fairy tales isn't a real book.

Things I like knowing before I buy a book: No profanity that I noticed. Respectful story-specific reference to sex. Emotiona
I became quite enchanted with this tale and really loved the interwoven bewitching dark fairy tales that added more dimensions to this novel. It was a mystery that had me second guessing myself several times. Every time I had it all figured out a new chink was added to the chain of clues. I think the style of writing was superbly done, not often can I say that. I loved the way each chapter transported me to another time and a different POV spanning the generation of women in the family. I did ...more
May 12, 2011 ruzmarì rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am breaking silence here to gush about Kate Morton. Her fiction is carefully researched and crafted, and the writing itself is luminous. The Forgotten Garden unwinds like a fairy tale, slowly curling off the spool where ambiguously benefic crones have wound it. We jump back and forth between present-day Australia where a young woman mourns the mysterious grandmother who inspired her as a child, to England at the turn of the last century where an affluent family in a small coastal town ...more
Barbara Mader
Nov 22, 2009 Barbara Mader rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
***Added Later:

My summary of this book would have to be this: it is an oddly-plotted book about very stupid people written in lovely language.

But oh, the idiot characters. Honestly. Why would Nell be such a twitty jerk to her fiance and adoptive family? Why on earth would Eliza act as she did? Sorry; don't buy it.


Figured out what "happened" (the mystery of the little girl on the boat) earlier on and scanned much of the rest. Didn't find the characters' behavior believable.
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
A multi-generational mystery that reveals itself bit by haunting bit, about three women:

- Eliza, born in the late 1800s, who is born into poverty in London, to a young woman who had run away from her upper crust home for reasons that become clear later in the story, and who is found and pulled back into her wealthy family's embrace (or maybe it's their tentacles).

- Nell, born in 1909, who is found sitting on her suitcase on an Australian ship dock in 1913, adamantly refusing to say where she ca
Apr 21, 2010 Chelsea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2010
I read 549 pages and that was the reveal? Really?

God, I was bored. I only stuck it out because I figured the book had to be building up to something. And I suppose that technically, it was. Just not anything particularly interesting or worth waiting for. I get it, everyone in the book has mother/child abandonment issues.

I think this book really wanted to be The Thirteenth Tale, but didn't have the balls (if you pardon the inaccurate expression, what with how female-centric both titles are). Now
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I loved every page of this book, including the hokey stuff.
This is definitely comfort reading, but it's not chick lit and it's not oversimplified. It had enough plot complexity to keep my grown-up mind engaged. At the same time, it had enough enchantment and mystery to appeal to the little girl I once was. I was happy to discover that little girl is still in there, and she still believes in magical gardens and strange coincidences.

This is a long and lovely story about a woman who made the wrong
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton is a 2009 Atria publication.

I only recently discovered this author, having read her latest release, “The Lake House,” and loved it. Naturally, I wanted more!

The Forgotten Garden is just the type of novel I can lose myself in. I love family secrets within a historical setting that spans generations.

The story begins with a little girl found all alone in 1913, taken in by a couple desperate for children, raising her as their own, naming her “Nell”. Once Nell l
Franco  Santos
Jan 14, 2015 Franco Santos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kate Morton... qué escritora.

Morton escribe sus libros en dos tiempos, como mínimo. Este, por ejemplo, esta en tres. Siempre sus novelas tienen lugar en familias aristocráticas, característica que me encanta. Amo esa ambientación de casas lujosas, sus reglas, sus títulos...

En cuanto a su manera de narrar, su prosa es exquisita; cómo nos cuenta la historia, cómo nos absorbe en sus páginas, personajes sumamente reales y desarrollados... Kate nació para escribir. No le puedo pedir nada más. En nin
Sep 12, 2008 LindyLouMac rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I found this as engrossing as her debut which I read earlier this year. This time Kate Morton has written an intriguing mystery that started in the 1900’s and is not fully unravelled until 2005. It is told as three stories covering three generations combining to give us clues along the way.
Maybe the ending was a little predictable but I certainly did not guess all the answers to the mysteries along the way.
The protagonist is Nell around who the whole myste
Jun 19, 2011 Megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel a bit conflicted about what rating to give this book. On the one hand, I loved and devoured the last three hundred pages of this book. I found Cassandra, Nell, and Eliza to all be compelling characters and I grew attached to each of them individually. The writing is really beautiful, even poetic in parts, and I loved the weaving of Eliza's fairy tales throughout. I also really enjoyed the setup of the book, with the three women narrating and the way Morton wove everything together so ...more
May 18, 2015 Arah-Lynda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, i-said
If you are looking for a good story to escape into for a while, look no further. The Forgotten Garden weaves a tangled tale of family secrets, kept hidden for generations. Kate Morton does an excellent job of creating mystery and intrigue that spans generations as one woman searches for her true identity and finds her family in an unexpected place along the way. Good Stuff!

Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Nov 30, 2012 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Australian Author
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Group Read Nov-12
good: 3 stars. First off if you’re a Kate Morton fan you’ll love it. Definitely its strongest points were the weaving of Grimm style fairytales and a hidden garden into the story; I’m a sucker for both. Her characterizations are strong; Eliza Makepeace was terrific, definitely the most memorable of the lot. Other standouts included the simpering Rose & Adeline, her social climbing psycho of a mother. They were both so over-the-top weird, I found them fascinating.
not so good: The constan
I listened to the audio book version and really enjoyed it. I have a different standard for audio books (than I do for books I read myself in a printed format). They have to be read at a pace that allows me to understand what's being said (the actual words being read) and what's happening in the story while I'm driving my car, the voice of the reader has to be pleasant and agreeable and the story has to hold my attention. I'm generally able to suspend disbelief more easily when I'm listening to ...more
"The Forgotten Garden" was rather disappointing, as I was sure that I would love this book. Secrets, mystery, a hidden garden...these are ingredients that I love. Just not the most fortunate use for them in this plot.

For one thing, this book should have been half its length - so many and not particularly beautiful descriptions, detailed rendering of unimportant gestures and unnecessary talk. And the secrets were not really secrets, I could glimpse at several possibilities, one of which turned o
Tiffany Skinner
Jul 05, 2011 Tiffany Skinner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 04, 2016 Yani rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aviso: la reseña tiene spoilers que oculté debidamente, cosa que este libro no hace, tal como dejé aclarado en una nota en el final.

Debo admitir que compré el libro tironeada por el “Primera Guerra Mundial” que se lee en la sinopsis de la edición, ya que creí que la parte del pasado estaría ambientada en ese hecho. Sin embargo, apenas roza el año en que ocurrió e inesperadamente me vi envuelta en otra clase de historia, una que oscila entre la identidad y el amor (no necesariamente hacia una p
Apr 04, 2016 Kaya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-stars
“Memory is a cruel mistress with whom we all must learn to dance.”

It took me a while to fall in love with this book, but I did. I'm a sucker for books where past and present intertwine, especially when suspense is on its high point. This book had the right twists, even though some of them were predictable, and it ended in a good place, without unnecessary prolonging.

A child is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. Nell, the lost child, is the pivotal character around all mysteri
Isaura Pereira
Aviso desde já que tudo o que possa dizer sobre este livro não vai fazer jus à sua história, à sua qualidade. Foi dos melhores livros que li, não só este ano, mas de sempre.

Há muito tempo que ouvia bloggers a falar deste livro, especialmente, a minha amiga Tita do Prazer das Coisas que não se cansava de me recomendar este livro. Como confio nas suas recomendações, pois já deram bons resultados e até temos alguns gostos literários em comum aceitei de imediato a sua recomendação. Quando vi o livro
May 23, 2015 Nikoleta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, historical
Μόλις έκλεισα την 665η σελίδα του «Σαν παραμύθι» και μπορώ να πω ότι και οι 665 σελίδες ήταν υπέροχες. Δεν περίμενα να με συνεπάρει σε τέτοιο βαθμό, γνώριζα ότι ένα τόσο μεγάλο βιβλίο, δεν μπορεί να μην είναι φλύαρο και κουραστικό. Κι όμως δεν με κούρασε καθόλου, είχε άρωμα παραμυθιού αλλά η γεύση του, αυτό που σε κρατά, είναι το μυστήριο, η αγωνία για την λύση του. Μετά από αυτή την καταπληκτική γνωριμία μου με την Κέϊτ Μόρτον δεν γίνεται παρά να αναζητήσω με ανυπομονησία και τα άλλα της έργα, ...more
I was ready to love this book from the moment I heard about it. The Secret Garden is one of my favorite books, and stories about family secrets and hidden rooms and stuff like that are like catnip to me. And the bare bones of this story is indeed pretty satisfying. Unfortunately, the execution of it ruined most of my enjoyment, and I decided halfway through that I wasn’t going to read any more of this author’s books. I’ve been really excited about two of her books now, and both have been complet ...more
Trish at Between My Lines
This review was originally posted on [Between My Lines]

Have you ever read a book and thought how can I review that? How can I show just how powerful and wise the words were? What way could I portray that slow tantalising reveal of long forgotten family secrets. How could I do it justice? That was my dilemmaon finishing The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. So I'm skipping the review and letting Kate's own words do all the hard graft for me!

5 Inspirational Quotes-The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morto
Aug 11, 2012 Elyse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a great book!!! I rate this 4.5 stars. A wonderful 'epic' journey with characters 'not' to be forgotten. Its a rich and satisfying engaging story.
Given the length of this book (500+ pages)---its amazing how easy it is to retain all the many details and every new character who gets introduced (must credit the writer).

This book just 'flows'. Its the type of book I would have loved to read in the winter --curled up on the couched on a few cold chilly days-- read 'non-stop'....(but I didn't hav
Sep 21, 2009 Grace rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 11, 2016 Terry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved The House at Riverton, this one, not so much - It was entertaining, but the storyline was way too convoluted. Too many coincidences, too many mysteries to be solved, too many similar characters and 4 generations to keep track of. The story flips back and forth to 3 different time periods and it was hard for me to remember who was a child, who was an adult and who was already dead by then. I didn't make it any easier by flipping back and forth between the Kindle book and the audio version ...more
Feb 09, 2016 Vaso rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is absolutely fantastic!!
Excellent story!!!!
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KATE MORTON grew up in the mountains of south-east Queensland and lives now with her husband and three young sons in Brisbane. She has degrees in dramatic art and English literature, specialising in nineteenth-century tragedy and contemporary gothic novels. Kate harboured dreams of joining the Royal Shakespeare Company until she became sidetracked writing novels, and still feels a pang of longing ...more
More about Kate Morton...

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“You make a life out of what you have, not what you're missing.” 349 likes
“Memory is a cruel mistress with whom we all must learn to dance.” 341 likes
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