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The Forgotten Garden

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  116,938 ratings  ·  13,069 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 and ...more
Paperback, 549 pages
Published February 16th 2010 by Washington Square Press (first published 2008)
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Kat Kennedy
*Kat looks at The Forgotten Garden*

*Kat looks at the beckoning stack of other books to read*

*Kat looks back at the first 33 pages of The Forgotten Garden*

*Kat groans*

So basically there's this woman. Let's call her Stupidhead because I couldn't care enough to remember her name. She finds out on her 21st birthday party that her loving, adoring family is not her biological family. They found her as a very small child and cared enough to take her in and give her a wonderful home full of people who l
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
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 i ...more
Mar 23, 2009 Cheryl rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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 fi ...more
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 conspire ...more
Barbara Mader
***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.
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
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

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
Franco  Santos
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
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 nice ...more
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
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Nov 30, 2012 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Australian Author
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Group Read Nov-12
good: 3 ½ 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 consta
Tiffany Skinner
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
"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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 09, 2010 Chris rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: readers who enjoyed <i>Possession</i>
I almost didn't buy this book. I got my copy at the used book stall at the local Spring Fair. I was little torn about it. The phrase "New York Times Bestseller" usually means I won't like it (take, for instance, my reaction to The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane). Then I read the back and looked at the inside cover. Anything that uses Arthur Rackham (Illustrator) pictures deserves a shot, and it was only two dollars.

I'm glad I give this book a chance because it is good.

The Forgotten Garden is v
This is a really an unputdownable book, and quite a quick read despite being over 600 pages long. I have to say I liked it much more than House at Riverton. The plot is a fascinating one, and the narrative moves back and forth in time. We meet Nell as a young child, a woman in her sixties and as she lies dying aged 95. The action takes us from Brisbane Australia in 2005, and the 1970's, to the London of 1900 and 2005, and also to cornwall of the early 1900's and the 1970's and again 2005. The no ...more
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

I am almost ashamed to admit I liked it, but The Forgotten Garden pleased me in many ways. Mostly I fell in love because it put me back into the delicious reading mode of The Secret Garden, one of my most loved books as a young girl. In fact, this piece of women's fiction is The Secret Garden for grown-up females. Frances Hodgeson Burnett even makes a cameo appearance.

The book has everything: an orphan, a mystery, three generations, Australia, an English manor house, romance, and a secret garden
I picked up this book at my college bookstore on a whim because the story intrigued me. I was not even intimidated by the size. Something just told me to read it, so I finally did, after college let out for the summer. I loved the multi-generational story, and the beautiful settings. The characters were believable and well-crafted. The story was a little like a modern twist on Burnett's 'The Secret Garden', and Burnett even makes a cameo appearance herself.

I thought the only problem with the bo
Megan Cullen
I gave this a four because I LOVED it and read it very fast up until about 3/4 of the way through. I still liked it after that, but it suddenly breached the line of "over done" at that point (in my opinion), and got just a tiny bit too cheesy. I was also a little annoyed with what I think the author thought were subtle references to The Secret Garden which were not at all subtle(the names Archibald and Mary, the sickly cousin who orders people around, the dark and mysterious mansion, the walled ...more
This is another hefty tome from the bestselling author of 'The House at Riverton'. The tale meanders back and forth from the early 1900s to 1975 and 2005. I don't usually mind stories that jump around in time, but even for me, this one was a little disjointed. By far the most interesting (to me) part of the book was set in the 1900s and I felt that with a bit of tweaking, one could do away with the most modern characters completely!

It is a tale full of secrets, and it is the unravelling of them
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
I would give this book a 10 if I could. Loved it...absolutely amazing....the writing is a masterpiece.

All the mysteries and secrets of the Mountrachet family are revealed....the ending is superb.

The story goes back and forth in time telling the story of how little Nell was put on a boat to Australia without an adult and how the portmaster and his wife in Australia took her in as their own. Nell's life makes a complete turn around for her when her father tells her on her 21st birthday that she i
This is a long and complex read, not a tale to be rushed (and read lazily with one eye on the washing-up pile), but a story to shut yourself away with in a quiet room, to savour slowly and immerse yourself in fully. Morton speaks of Dickens as being famous for creating worlds in which a reader can fall into, and wanting to create that same effect: she certainly achieves that sense with this book. Morton has a talent for setting the scene; magically and masterfully, she describes sights and sound ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
After hearing many glowing comments about Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden, I decided to forgo the long reserve line at the library and buy myself a copy.

Even with its respectable five-hundred and forty-eight page heft, I didn't want to put this book down. The Forgotten Garden begins with an unnamed girl playing a hiding game on a ship. A few pages later, a girl named Nell is turning twenty-one and her father reveals to her a devastating truth: she is not their daughter. He discovered her sta
What a luscious tale. The pacing is great and I loved how it deftly swung from turn of the 20th century England, to Australia and England in the 1970’s and back to the current day bouncing off three generations of women not the mention lovely fairy tales woven throughout, oh, and magic gardens and mysteries complete with snarling bad guys lurking around corners. This might sound fanciful but there was enough reality to hold the story in place. Thoroughly enjoyable.
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Kate Morton grew up in the mountains of southeast Queensland, Australia. She has degrees in Dramatic Art and English Literature and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Queensland. Kate lives with her husband and two young sons in Brisbane.
Kate Morton's books have been published in 31 countries. The House at Riverton was a Sunday Times #1 bestseller in the UK in 2007 and a New Y
More about Kate Morton...
The Secret Keeper The House at Riverton The Distant Hours Kate Morton Collection: The House at Riverton, The Forgotten Garden & The Distant Hours The Kate Morton Collection: The House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden

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“Memory is a cruel mistress with whom we all must learn to dance.” 281 likes
“You make a life out of what you have, not what you're missing.” 271 likes
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