Evan's Reviews > The Forgotten Garden

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
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's review
Jun 22, 12

bookshelves: book-club
Read from June 08 to 22, 2012

Let me just begin by saying that this is not a book I would have picked up for myself in a hundred years. But my book club can be persuasive, and for that I am grateful, because I very much enjoyed "The Forgotten Garden."

I've never been a person focused on my familial past. While I may analyze and over-analyze things that *I* have done in my three decades of existence, the actions of my ancestors have never held much pull. So while I cannot relate fully to Nell (and later, Cassandra) as she works to unearth buried secrets of her family, these actions provide a densely-plotted tale of five generations of women.

The language used throughout is lush. It was very easy to conjure up images of the seaside cliff, the black rock, the salty waves, and the cliff-side cottage due to the author's florid words. I also liked the technique of staggering each chapter in a non-linear chronological order. While this tactic is becoming somewhat over-used, it did allow for several surprises in the narrative.

If anything kept it from being a 5-star book for me, it would be some of the conveniences that are arrived at throughout the book. Eliza is collected by the Mountrachet family *justinthenickoftime* before being shuttled off to a workhouse? Cassandra and Christian (Velma and Shaggy?) can happen onto the solution to a mystery by stringing together loosely-connected events and suppositions? Ah well, such things can be overlooked when engaged in a book like this. If fairy tales can contain conventions such as this, then why can't a book that is predicated upon them?

PS--I listened to the audio version of this book, and the narrator--Caroline Lee--is Australian, which helps as she gives voice to Cassandra and the others. However, her "American" accent (for Nathaniel Walker and others) is HILARIOUS! I hope I don't sound like that to foreigners when I speak!
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