Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Review: The Forgotten Garden

Title The Forgotten Garden
By Kate Morton
Genre Adult contemporary
Pages 552

First sentence It was dark where she was crouched but the little girl did as she'd been told. 

Covering three generations, a mystery of a little girl found abandoned on a ship and taken in by the dockmaster comes to light.

What it has going for it
Honestly I went into this book incredibly skeptical. I'd been warned by my book club friends, those who'd tried to read it, that it was a little slow moving and hard to get into. I was pleasantly surprised to discover it turned out to be just the kind of book I love. The quiet, intricate way the story carries along revealing little by little the mystery it holds was done very well indeed. It kept me guessing, that's for sure. I kept expecting (and dreading) some horrible secret revealing incest or rape and was quite relieved to discover it wasn't anything like that but shocking all the same. I like books that seem to be a study on human nature with characters that fall victim to their dark sides and this one was perfect in that aspect. All I can say is it wasn't in the least bit boring to me. I was pulled in from the very beginning and enjoyed it very much!

What's lacking
I can see how a book like this, once read and dissected by millions of reader, can be called trite and and unoriginal by "book snobs". I heard plenty of people call it's mystery obvious and, hey, maybe it was but I sure didn't figure it out. I was content to just let the author with her calm piece by piece writing and the beautifully flawed characters reveal the mystery to me. I will say that once the "big reveal" was revealed I wondered how believable it actually was but I can quickly shrug that away.

Favorite moment
Anything between Cassandra and Christian. I don't know why, I just liked it. Their relationship was reminiscent of Austen or something. It had a familiar sweet feeling to it. 

Yea or Nay?
Yes, I'd most definitely recommend this one.


  1. +JMJ+

    I'm often surprised at the end of books, even when other readers say that the mystery was just "so obvious." Like Jean Webster's Daddy-Long-Legs. Have you read that one, Jenny?

    But I actually like it this way. =) If I were reading a conventional Detective Story, then I'd also try to race the characters to the solution and to second-guess everything the author reveals to me. But in any other novel with a mystery, I'd be happy to let the author reveal things at his own pace and to trust that he knows what he's doing. I guess you'd say that Kate Morton knew what she was doing. =)

  2. I just finished it and loved it to. And yeah, I completely agree about Christian. We needed more of him!

  3. I've been meaning to read some of Kate Morton's stuff but I've been dreading whether it would be too slow for me. I always think a big reveals is going to be something like rape or incest and the like as well and am always relieved when it isn't! Urgh! Book snobs. So tired of them.