The Forgotten Garden: A Novel by Kate MortonThe Forgotten Garden: A Novel by Kate Morton

The Forgotten Garden: A Novel

byKate Morton

Paperback | February 16, 2010

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From the #1 internationally bestselling author of The House at Riverton, a novel that takes the reader on an unforgettable journey through generations and across continents as two women try to uncover their family’s secret past.

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-fi rst 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.
Kate Morton is a fiction writer who was born in South Australia in 1976. She earned a degree in Speech and Drama from Trinity College London, followed by an English Literature degree from the University of Queensland. One of her specializations has been studying tragedy in Victorian literature. Morton's novel "The Shifting Fog" has bee...
Title:The Forgotten Garden: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:560 pages, 8.25 × 5.31 × 1.5 inPublished:February 16, 2010Publisher:Washington Square PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1416550550

ISBN - 13:9781416550556

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Unforgettable Tale! The Forgotten Garden is a poignant story of endless love, hope and self-discovery where the mystery of a family secret is unravel gradually through the voices of Georgiana, Eliza, Nell and Cassandra, spanning over a century across the continents. This tragically beautiful story interweaves the past and present mellifluously in such an engaging way that captivates my heart and will remain with me for a long time. Truth be told, I enjoyed this story more than her debut novel, The House At Riverton. On Nell's 21st birthday, her parents reveals the truth about her identity that shatters her and changes everything she knows about herself and her family. Determined to seek her real identity, she embarks on a journey to London that eventually leads her to the Blackhurst Manor that once belongs to the Mountrachet, an aristocrat family in the 1900s. Unfortunately the truth is not within her grasp and stay hidden, until her granddaughter, Cassandra inherits the Cliff Cottage in Cornwall upon Nell's death. Hesitantly, Cassandra travels to Cornwall and she soon discovers that this cottage and the hidden maze garden will lead her to the truth about her family. Both the premise and the setting of The Forgotten Garden is mesmerizing; and just like the majestic maze garden, it was one a-MAZE-ing story where I enjoyed both the journey and the destination. Well-researched and meticulously written with so much thoughts put into it, and I can't say enough just how well done this book is! Masterfully crafted! The evocative and descriptive writing truly brought the story alive. I wish I was in the garden sitting in the cottage! There are a lot of characters in the story since it is a multi-generational story. Although I always love this type of setting, I find it is almost always confusing and overwhelming for me in the beginning. But once I jumped over this hurdle, it was an enjoyable read all the way. The characters are well-developed with a lot of depth with the exception of Linus Mountrachet which I find was rather shallow. Linus was portrayed as a man with a dark past, taciturn and elusive in nature. His character was revealed in a suspenseful way and I was waiting for something more about this character. Unfortunately, just like his nature, he exited the story in an elusive manner. That being said, I find Eliza's character to be the one I loved the most. A strong character yet when it comes to family, she was weak because of her selfless nature. The Forgotten Garden is the hidden gem that I found with the rare right balance of plot and characters. I was elated! I loved the mystery behind the family secret and it was one of the reasons that kept me turning the pages. This book is definitely a better read compared to Morton's debut novel. If you love a multi-generational family story with multiple timelines, this is a must read! A spell-binding unforgettable tale that will captivate your heart from the plot to the beautiful prose!
Date published: 2018-09-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from This book was ver interesting! Kate Morton did an excellent job of weaving together two different stories revolving around two different main characters into an amazing story.
Date published: 2018-08-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book A great mystery. Morton keeps you hooked the entire time.
Date published: 2018-08-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it A fascinating book with interesting characters. Enjoyed it very much
Date published: 2018-07-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! I've read everything by Kate Morton and this is definitely my favorite. The storyline was fantastic.
Date published: 2018-06-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing An amazing read! One of the reviews compares it to "The Shadow of the Wind" ( another really good read). It is full of mystery, intrigue and amazing character development that span over a century. Filled with interesting nuances but never alluding to the twist of events near the end.
Date published: 2018-06-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I really enjoyed this book and defiantly want to read more by this author!
Date published: 2018-06-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good story, long read I liked the story, but for some reason it took me quite a long time to get through this book and even picked up a couple of books in between because it was a little slow for me. I found I could only get through a little bit at a time before getting distracted by something else. Maybe it was the length, the amount of detail, or switching between a few different time periods (each of which I enjoyed, but it also broke the story up quite a bit)... it was okay, but I enjoyed The Secret Keeper more.
Date published: 2018-05-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from New Favorite Book I'm struggling to find the words to describe how wonderful this novel was. It has currently become my new favorite book 5/5 stars! The Forgotten Garden is filled with fairy-tales (quite literally), mystery, secrets, history, and incredibly rich characters. Morton creates unique characters that were easy for me to identify with and connect to. The story centers around Nell, an abandoned and then adopted little girl seeking to find her true family. At Nell's death, her granddaughter, who was in essence equally abandoned, take up the search and throws the reader into the realm of the past lives of characters like Eliza and Rose. The story is exciting, and emotional (I cried three times!). It is vibrant and historically rich, and I would read it again, and recommend it countless times! I absolutely loved the Forgotten Garden.
Date published: 2018-04-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible Story Couldn't put the book down, Kate has a wonderful way of weaving lives together to tell compelling stories.
Date published: 2018-04-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! Such a good read, story became more complex and suspenseful as it went on. I had never heard of this author before I read this, now I can't wait to read all her other books!
Date published: 2018-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An author to love I can't get enough of Kate Morton. I want to skip life and read her novels!
Date published: 2018-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love Beautiful work of historical fiction. My favorite Kate Morton book.
Date published: 2017-12-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! This was the first Kate Morton book I read and I quickly fell in love with it. Her concept of writing between the past and the present and the secrets that lie between makes me come back for more.
Date published: 2017-11-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from favorite author I have read pretty well every book that Kate Morton has released thus far and I adore every one of them. All well written, historical and full circle type books that travel between historical times and present day.
Date published: 2017-09-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read! I read this book through my last semester of University, and that's something considering I do not like to pick up fiction while studying. It's a beautiful story and it keeps you hooked wanting to know what happens next. I love stories that jump between time periods and Kate does an excellent job of this.
Date published: 2017-07-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best book My mom gave me this book and I almost didn't read it. I'm so glad I did read it. I couldn't put it down. I thought I could predict the ending the more I got in to it and I was completely wrong. Great book! I can't wait to read some more books by this author.
Date published: 2017-07-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of My All-Time Favs! A wonderful story that tells the story of 2 women, one in the past & one in the present. This sauga has everything, mystery, drama, romance, and history.......everything for a great summer read. A treat for book lovers!
Date published: 2017-06-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fabulous!! Another winner by Kate Morton. Her style is fluid and captivating. I look forward to her next masterpiece.
Date published: 2017-05-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Makes a long transit commute to work go so much faster. This was my first introduction to Kate Morton's books and I then had to read more by this author. This story starts off with a young child left alone in the cargo area of a ship in 1913 and spans generations also all on their own journey. Great old fashioned style book for filling in time and/ or to curl up with.
Date published: 2017-05-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting Read This book was quite interesting and has a compelling plot. I would recommend it especially for anyone who enjoys mystery or historical fiction novels.
Date published: 2017-05-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Morton is Incredible this was the first book i owned by Kate, and it took me by complete surprise. The rest of her book are just as thrilling and you can always expect a huge plot twist
Date published: 2017-04-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another wonderful story! A journey of discovery that starts in Australia and ends on the Cornish coast - mystery, suspense, sadness and self-discovery. Loved this book!
Date published: 2017-03-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My Favourite I own all of Kate Morton's books and am happy to hear when she is writing another. This is her first and by far my favourite. Great story and characters.
Date published: 2017-03-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from couldn't finish The style of writing put me to sleep... too long too start...
Date published: 2017-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read it!! I love all of Kate Morton's books! She is an amazing author keeping you hooked from the first page until the last! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another Kate Morton Book Wel Worth the Read Excellent writer - every story flows, This book weaves a tale through the life of Nell and makes you feel like you are right beside her, step by step.
Date published: 2017-01-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Longwinded Garden Tales Interesting and mysterious story. It wasn't terrible, but what the author did in 400+ pages, really could have been done in 200.
Date published: 2017-01-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A diamond in the rough This was my first Kate Morton book and quickly made her one of my favourite writers. I devoured all of her books after this one!
Date published: 2017-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this!! This is one of Morton's amazing book ever, I loved it!!
Date published: 2016-12-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Doesn't disappoint! Once again, Kate Morton wrote a great book. She does not disappoint!!
Date published: 2016-11-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Morton is worth the read Kate Morton writes books so rich and engaging, yet so historical that i find myself wishing I had shared this book with my grandmother i recommend you get a cup of tea and cozy up....
Date published: 2016-11-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible Several of my friends told me I should read that book and it truly lived up to the expectations. Such a creative and imaginative story, Morton does an amazing job of transporting you into her world.
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Mystery The Forgotten Garden is the first book of Kate Morton's that I have read and I am looking forward to her other novels. It's a good mystery with great characters and an eerie Gothic theme that is believable. The beginning was a little slow, but it definitely picked up and became a wonderful read!
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Solving the Mystery of Nell Brisbane, 1930 — It's Nell's 21st birthday and her father, the man she'd always called father, tells her that he had found her alone on the Maryborough dock after everyone had disembarked from the ocean liner and dispersed to their various destinations. He couldn't just leave her there, and while he tried at first to find who she belonged to, after awhile little Nell (they had to call her something) had worked her way into the affections of Hugh and his wife Lil and so they kept her. Worried someone would notice the sudden little addition to their family and that they might lose her, the family moved to Brisbane where they expanded and grew until this wonderful celebration of Nell's 21st party. But for Nell, everything was ruined — her centre was gone — she had no idea who she was except for the little white suitcase and the book of fairy tales within that had been all she had on arrival in Australia. Kate Morton's, The Forgotten Garden is an intricate piecing together of clues Nell finds from the past, and those her granddaughter, Cassandra, seeks in the future, as they each separate to time and place, span the continents and enquire here and there, finding this person and that, tracing the author of the fairy tales, until Cassandra finally fits the final piece into the puzzle. The cottage and garden on the edge of the Cornish cliff that belonged to Blackhurst Manor holds many secrets that Cassandra and her new friends try to coax from people who have guarded the tales for many years. Who was the author? And who was Nell's mother? What role did her uncle play, if any, in her disappearance? Most importantly, did she belong at the Manor or are there too many coincidences and false trails? Morton weaves the backstories into a tale of a beautiful runaway, her daughter, and her great-granddaughter who eventually unravels the mystery of Nell's true identity. The ending was a well-hidden surprise.
Date published: 2016-10-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My favourite author of all time!! For all of her books, I couldn't put them down. Every one of them are suspenseful and captivating. A true gift to literature. This was the first book she wrote, and the first of her books I read. She is so different in her writing style than the normal author. Her stories, this one in particular, are unique and so refreshing from the norm. I was instantly captivated with her writing and creative talent for story telling. This book is unique because it has a handful of chapters that are individual fairytales/fables, as stand alone stories its like reading a number of different short stories but yet each one is laced and intertwined within the novel and overall big picture. As I read the book for me, every time I got to one of those chapters with a fairytale, I would curl up with my daughter and read the childrens story to her aloud. So in a way it felt like we were reading the book together even though she only heard the fairytales and I got to read the whole story in the big picture.
Date published: 2015-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my Favs! The Forgotten Garden was the first book of Kate Morton's that I actually read. I could not put it down and think I finished it in about a day. The way she captures all sides of the story and then ties it all in together at the end is remarkable. I love every single one of her books and I cannot wait to read her newest one.
Date published: 2015-10-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Forgotten Garden I enjoyed this book immensely! Many twists and turns in the plot and the author handled the several time frames in the story quite well.
Date published: 2015-07-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Good Read A good read, with some very interesting plot twists! Well worth adding to your reading list!...............
Date published: 2015-01-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Forgotten Garden Beautifully written, captivating story, believable complex characters. Everything a great book should contain. Loved it!
Date published: 2015-01-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read Good story...great characters! Well worth the reas
Date published: 2014-08-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read Excellent story, didn't want to put it down and didn't want it to end. One of the best books I have read in along time.
Date published: 2014-04-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Forgotten Garden One of the best books I have read I could not put it down and didn't want it to end!
Date published: 2014-03-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Forgotten Garden Excellently written novel. Definitely a page turner. I loved the timeline through the generations and how each family was affected by choices made by earlier relatives.
Date published: 2014-02-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Forgotten Garden I love Kate's writing, characters and descriptions. Historical fiction is my genre and I've read all of Kate's books. This is my favourite - a mystery with a sleuth who is not the usual detective, alternating present day with past events as they happened, and interesting twists, with a heartbreaking ending. Love it.
Date published: 2014-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Forgotten Garden Amazing book. The characters draw you in and you just want to keep reading more. Even though some bits were predictable it was written so well you didn't feel disappointed that it had happened how you had already guessed. I feel that there could have been at least another chapter just to tie up the very end. Definitely will be reading more from Kate Morton.
Date published: 2014-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Forgotten Garden Another wonderful read from Kate Morton. Moving from generation to generation and continent to continent with all the twists snd turns could have proved very confusing but this author makes it work seamlessly. I couldn't put this book down.
Date published: 2013-11-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Forgotten Garden What a great read! A story that moves seamlessly between two decades. I love the descriptive writing's of Kate, and the secrets kept over decades and slowly revealed.
Date published: 2013-10-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from a bit long winded The best part of this book for me can definitely be found in the last 100 pages. I'm really big on conclusions, and this book tied up every last piece of the puzzle. The story was a little bit too sad for me. I guess that was the whole point, that it took generations to mend a broken family. But happy moments were so few and far between that it got a bit tiresome. It had probably one of the more complicated plots of any novel i've read, so I understand the need for it to be a longer book. I just found that the story became long winded from time to time and I found myself wanting to skip ahead, which i NEVER let myself do. It's not that I didn't enjoy this book, I just didn't love it. It will probably be a while before I go to read another Kate Morton.
Date published: 2013-10-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Forgotten Garden Loved this story Kate Morton does not disappoint.
Date published: 2013-10-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Forgotten Garden This book sucked me in from the start- I couldn't put it down and ended up reading the whole thing in less than a day. The mystery aspect of the story is interesting- I had a couple of different theories and ended up being right about. I have found the endings in Kate Morton's books to feel rushed...this one was the same.
Date published: 2013-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Forgotten Garden I really liked the way this book told 2 stories. The past and the present. It was a simple to follow story and kept me trying to figure out the twists that came up.
Date published: 2013-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Forgotten Garden Kate Morton is a masterful storyteller, wonderfully written, with just enough mystery and history to keep us coming back for more.
Date published: 2013-10-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Forgotten Garden Loved every word. How heart breaking on so many levels. Human cruelty really knows no limits. Yet acts of kindness by others is enough to restore our faith once again. Love this author. I seem to melt into her pages and almost become one of her characters. Difficult to put down.
Date published: 2013-10-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Forgotten Garden This book was a good read, there were parts that seemed to have myself loose interest. The description of the lost garden was so vivid.
Date published: 2013-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Forgotten Garden This book got me back reading after a long time away from books.
Date published: 2013-10-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Forgotten Garden This book is well written, and gave the reader an excellent indication as to the conditions which prevailed after the First World War, and the social changes which the war broght about. A very interesting read.
Date published: 2013-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Forgotten Garden Miss Morton has a wonderful way of taking you between the generations. She weaves you back andforth and gives you just enough information to attempt to figure out the mystery. I look forward to getting emersed in my next journey .
Date published: 2013-09-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Fairy Tale Within a Fairy Tale Cassandra is lost, alone and grieving. Her much loved grandmother, Nell, has just died and Cassandra, her life already shaken by a tragic accident ten years ago, feels like she has lost everything dear to her. Cassandra learns that Nell wasn't who she thought she was. It turns out that Nell had been raised by a couple who found her on the dock after she had been abandoned on the boat that had carried her from England to Australia at the age of four. Nell had attempted to research her own heritage, but the sudden appearance of Cassandra in her life prevented her from putting all the pieces together. Cassandra takes it upon herself to solve the mystery for her grandmother once and for all. The story weaves back and forth between three generations -- Cassandra in 2005, Nell in 1975, and the two women who are the key to the puzzle in the early years of the twentieth century. It’s narrated by three women in three different times - all three eras are linked by the same family secret that has been hidden for over a century. In present day Australia, Cassandra’s grandmother, Nell, dies and bequeaths her a crumbling old house in Cornwall, England. Intrigued, Cassandra travels to Cornwall, and finding a long forgotten garden in the grounds of the abandoned house, beings to unravel her family’s hundred year old secret. In Victorian England, spirited Eliza flees her from her wealthy but controlling family, never to be seen again. And in the early 1900s, a very young Nell arrives alone in Australia carrying just two items: a little white suitcase and a book of fairy tales written by a mysterious author. Layer after layer, and in alternating chapters, Cassandra, Eliza and Nell tell their tale of love, loss, sacrifice and hope, weaving their individual stories together to make a poignant whole. Although part of the secret is guessable, the finer details are held back right until the end, and when it all comes together, you get a real sense of completion, a fairy tale within a fairy tale (that'll make sense if you read it), a story that stays with you long after the final page has been read.
Date published: 2013-08-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Got better as it went along So first, I think I should explain why it took me so long to get through this book. Excuse #1: I found the first third of the book boring. Excuse #2: I was busy with school. Excuse #3: I found the first third of the book boring. To be honest with you, if a novel doesn’t captivate me within the first few chapters, it will take an excruciatingly long time for me to finish it because I’ll need to occupy my mind with another book or two during the time I’m “reading” the first one. This was the case with The Forgotten Garden. I had heard many wonderful reviews on this book and it had looked promising, so I couldn’t wait to begin reading it. But the plot just dragged out the first third of the book, and I could not bear to get through it all. So I took a break. A four month-long break, to be exact. In that time, I read The Lord of the Rings series. Once school was over, I vowed to pick up The Forgotten Garden again and finally finish it. And I did. From what had been a slow, snail-like-pace start, soon changed into an original and amusing story, with plenty of plot twists and memorable characters. I was so mad at myself for leaving it for so long and giving up so easily because the conclusion made it all worth it. Kate Morton has such a rich and diverse language — she eloquently paints murals for the reader with merely her words. I absolutely love the way she weaved three separate stories together because it flowed so well. Nell, Cassandra and Eliza all had wonderfully strong voices near the end, and Kate left me wanting more. The more I think about it, the more I realize that this novel really is a gem — what girl wouldn’t love a novel brimming with secrets, fairytales, romance, friendship, familial bonds and delicious words? Still though. Even though I did enjoy the latter half of the book, I can’t forgive Kate Morton 100% for the first half. Therefore I can’t say it was completely spectacular, but merely nice. To view more of my book reviews, visit:
Date published: 2013-05-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting Story I enjoyed this book. There are so many pieces needed to solve the mystery of the origins of Nell, the little girl left alone on the end of a pier in Australia in 1913. However the author does flash between several different story lines in different times as the story develops and that drove me crazy. When I was with one character, I wanted their story to continue and with another character I wanted their story to continue.
Date published: 2012-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Gem This was the first book I ever read by Kate Morton and I have been hooked on her books every since. I didnt want to put it down. Every time I put the book down it was reluctantly and kept me wanting to move on to the next chapter ...then the next.
Date published: 2012-10-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Summer read If you have time to pay attention and keep the various threads and timelines straight, this is a good beach/cottage read. If you like an easy-to-follow, linear plot, this is not the book for you! I enjoyed it but would not put it among my top faves.
Date published: 2012-08-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exellent read A beautifully written novel that covers three different eras in time. Each chapter dives into a brand new perspective told by every character in the book. I could not put this book down and I had to know what happened to Nell. I highly recommend this book it was one of the best that I've read in the last few years.
Date published: 2012-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Escapism Decent and well written novel which kept me intrigued. Set in three different times, it provided an atmosphere of fairytale magic, hope and mystery.
Date published: 2012-01-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Read Really enjoyed this; kept me thoroughly engaged.
Date published: 2012-01-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful escape! The only thing missing is a physical book I can purchase written by Eliza. Magical!
Date published: 2012-01-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Terrific The further into the book I got, the more I couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2011-09-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Good Mystery What started off slowly got prettty interesting. By the end of the book I couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2011-08-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely loved it!!! I would almost say it ruined my vacation because I just couldn't put it down, best book I have read in a long time. So interesting, loved the time shifting, I want another. Highly recommended to anyone, I will tell all of my friends.
Date published: 2011-08-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Slow start, but enjoyable read I found it took a bit to get into this book, but after I did I was happy I finished it. I loved how some of the characters and families of characters were connected with multiple generations.
Date published: 2011-06-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Average The Forgotten Garden is the story of a woman named Cassandra who attempts to uncover the truth about her family's past (and her grandmother's past, in particular). As much as I enjoyed the primary plot there were just a few things that I found rather disappointing. Firstly, I feel as if there was a lot of time wasted developing unimportant subplots (ie. relationship with Christian, the friendship between her grandmother and Ben [I think that's his name]). I feel as if the story could have been much stronger if these subplots had been left out - this exclusion would have allowed the plot to potentially become further devloped, or perhaps allow for the inclusion of a single, strong subplot. All in all, I felt as if I was wasting my time at certain points, and feel like this novel could be shortened by ~100 pages. Secondly, I both liked and disliked the jumping back and forth in time as a means of telling the story. It was rather confusing at first (for maybe the first 50-100 pages, or so, as all characters are slowly introduced). Perhaps there was too much of this for my liking. Lastly, I anticipated the "plot twist" at the end from miles away. I felt as if the novel was trying to trick me because it developed along a train of thought that went against my reasoning - only to find that SURPRISE: I was actually right. Overall, not a bad read. The story is light and easy to disgest, so you need't worry about focusing too much on it even though it may seem daunting, clocking in at 550 pages.
Date published: 2011-05-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from A Light Read I read this book knowing from the start that it wouldn't be anything extraordinary but that it would likely function as a good light read. For that purpose it did its job. The book lacked an element of depth that I can't quite put my finger on. Morton certainly seems to have presented all the elements of well-written novel; detailed characterization, purposeful plot, a hint of mystery...and yet there was something missing. I never really got drawn into the story, I even got a bit bored with it mid way through. At times the detail of the characters thoughts or actions seemed forced and ingenuine. Morton has the makings of a good author but there is definitly some room for improvement. I would label this a good "beach read" but nothing more.
Date published: 2011-05-02
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Good story but doesn't live up to the hype This was a well written story but not as good as I was expecting. The big surprises were easy to figure out and I felt disappointed when they were finally revealed. I had hoped for something with more of a twist. It's a pretty good read, just don't expect it to be amazing.
Date published: 2011-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful I stumbled across this book,picked it up and thought why not? Little did I know that I would fall in love with Kate Morton's writing!Loved this book so much that I have read her other 2 books,The House at Riverton and The Distant Hours.Can't wait to see what will be next!
Date published: 2011-03-21
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Pretty good but not great Morton is a skilled writer as the story jumps around in time and kept me interested in multiple characters. However, the book just wasn't dark enough for me and I was disappointed in some aspects of the mystery. Things came together too conveniently and wrapped up too neatly. There is a fairy tale theme throughout the book though, so perhaps it's fitting. It seemed like Morton's focus wasn't so much on crafting a good mystery as she was at unveiling answers of an unknown family history and lightly touching on its emotional process.
Date published: 2011-02-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from You won't be able to put it down... Great Austrailian Fiction. This story of a young woman finding her Grandmother's origins is Kate Mortons best to date. Solid mystery, great switching viewpoints, and various settings keep the reader interested throughout.
Date published: 2011-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Perfect Winter Read I found this book hard to get into. My curiosity kept me reading though. The fact that it's over 500 pages is discouraging but it's certainly worth the read. I found the secrets in Blackhurst Manor to be breathtaking and Eliza to be an amazing cousin. The story is divided into three different timelines: Early 1900 from Rose and Eliza's view, 1975, from Nell's view and 2005 from Cassandra's view. Once you get over that confusion, the book is easy to read, the way the author paints the picture is vivid, the plot line didn't fail to amaze me. It's indeed a well written book. The author did try to twist the plot a bit with the ending in regards to the pregnancy, and I noticed my heart refused that to be true. But in the end, I was satisfied that my gut instinct was right. You kind of figure everything out in the end but you still want to read every word of it. It's an amazing book to sit by the fire when you've done everything you needed to do for the weekend and just read away. A perfect winter read!
Date published: 2011-01-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read When I first started this book, it was tough to get into as I don't easily fall into books 'in the past'. However, I prevailed and found it to be a book I couldn't put down. I spent most of New Year's Day trying to finish it! I wanted to get to the end, I wanted for the mystery to be solved and even though the prediction I had made came true, it didn't in the way I thought it would. This would make for an interesting movie!
Date published: 2011-01-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I loved this book. Easy to slide into, with likable characters and a mystery that kept me turning the pages to find out if my guesses were on the mark. A perfect book to cozy up with this winter!
Date published: 2010-12-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read At first I found this book hard to follow all the characters. Started to write all the names down to keep track. Afterward, enjoyed the read.
Date published: 2010-12-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Surprising Very interesting story, well developed characters that you just have to love. The story line written as lives of three different women is what gave that novel a needed speed and action. I see just one problem with it: because the story follows three different women, right from the beginning we know they are all involved in the story. When we learn what is the secret, it it obvious that Eliza have to be Nell's mother. So to me it felt that the author gave me a good mystery with all the clues right at the begging. But still she managed to make it interesting and with every page I was more and more intrigued how the story will resolve. I will recommend this novel to everyone who will care to listen.
Date published: 2010-12-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Recommended I recommend this book because of the interesting story line and characters. I did find it slow to get into and predictable at the end. What is nice about the book is that all your questions are answered at the end.
Date published: 2010-11-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent read I loved this book. I think it is more of a "woman" book but most interesting; the characters are endearing and I felt part of the story. I actually believe that such a story has happened to real people, especially the part relating to the treatment of the poor in that time period. I recommend this book to anyone who is seeking a nice, well written and comfortable read.
Date published: 2010-11-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read!! At first I found this book hard to get into, but after the first couple of chapters I couldn't put it down! The mystery consumes you, and you can't wait to find out what happens next in each of the 3 time periods the story is written from. An excellent read - entertaining, heart-warming, and very creative!
Date published: 2010-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Novel! Wow! I've just finished reading this book and I am still relishing in the aftermath of the story... This book is so rich with detail and color, I truly bonded with the characters and their plights. The characters and the story are richly woven together like a fine delicate tapestry, layer after layer of depth and intricacy all coming together to form a unified whole picture that hauntingly sad, yet beautiful beyond compare... a must-read! Some reviewers commented on the jumping timelines being a little distracting but that was one of the features I loved most about this novel. Three generations of women all weaving together the same story from different perspectives each with their own ghosts to deal with. Ms. Morton does an exceptional job braiding the three stories together, each chapter picking up where the other left off... I truly love this book, one of my best reads this year and definitely one to be added to my collection of all-time favorites. You won't be disappointed!
Date published: 2010-10-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it The Forgotten Garden is a beautifully written account of three generations of women tied together with secrets and searching for themselves. This is the kind of book that needs to be savored. There is just too much happening and too many feelings being uncovered and explored to read much more than one or two chapters at a time. The fact that each chapter seems to focus on another character, and each characters lived in a different century is probably the cause for that. You need time to reconcile the time jumps. This is a fantastic story that I can practically guarantee becoming a must read classic.
Date published: 2010-10-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read This creative mystery captivated me. It was a bit hard to follow for it jumped from 1913,1975 and 2005 but as the story develops, we are able to place every piece of the puzzle. It's the story of three generations that uncovers their family's secret past. This story was a very relaxing, interestin family saga.
Date published: 2010-10-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Historical read I liked the way that the same story line spans over a century and 3 generations. Explores mystery around the events occured in the early 1900's, their impacts in the mid 70's and unveils the mystery in 2005. On a negative note, this book was a bit hard to read in paperback format due it its size.
Date published: 2010-09-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Page Turner To be honest, I wasn't too impressed with the book in the first couple of chapters, because the author kept bouncing back and forth between characters, which got confusing pretty quickly and the plot moved quite slow towards the beginning. However, once the reader gets past the initial stage of the novel the plot literally thickens. Suddenly you find yourself wanting to know more as the character's past slowly unveils. If you have the patience to truck through the first couple of chapters, then this is definitely a recommended read. Probably one of the best books I read this entire year.
Date published: 2010-09-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from a really good read! At first I hated this book as it jumps from one era to another, but was determined to read it as I bought it.The storyline got stronger and stronger as I went along and I started to absorb the characters in the book and the part they played. It starts out with a young girl left on a ship and being taken home by the ship's master. He had waited until all passengers had left the ship and the little girl was still there. The story passes through four generations, Eliza, Nell, Leslie, Cassandra, and each one plays an interesting part to the mystery in this book.
Date published: 2010-09-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! I am pretty fussy when it comes to books, so when I rate/review a book in the midst of reading it because I like it so much is saying a lot. It is delicately written and the imagery Morton produces is beautiful and vivid. I like the storyline and it is a refreshing read.
Date published: 2010-09-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good Summer Read The Forgotten Garden has been compared to Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden; even author Kate Morton writes veiled references to it in her book. If you expect that quality of narrative and characters you will be disappointed. However if you are looking for the perfect summer read that will whisper “make a glass of ice tea and take me outside for half an hour” this is the book for you. The story has a charm that takes one from page to page effortlessly. The lives of Nell, Cassandra and Eliza weave around you as their stories unfold in three different time periods. Morton also wrote some interesting male characters in Linus and Nathaniel and it is a shame that she didn’t allow them to play a more pivotal role in the story line especially as it drew to an end. Linus in particular would have made the conclusion more affective. Instead the ending was predictable and the last few pages insipid but you are so engaged by that point you suffer through the harlequin style dialogue between Christian and Cassandra. I get the romance but Christian was not crucial to the plot that we have been following for over 500 pages. A woman’s search to find her real family, fascinating fairy tales and a walled garden at the end of a maze all play a key role in everyone’s lives. Underneath all this is the question “How is home defined?” It is the place where we are born? The house that we return to at the end of the day? Is it being with family or that certain someone? Will one unexpectedly discover home while travelling? As the book illustrates we know when we have found home, but we don’t know where or even how it may come into our lives. Kate Morton talks about her book. on YouTube
Date published: 2010-08-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this booked and did not want it to end I thought Kate Morton wrote a beautiful book. Time travel, romance, mystery, a great easy book to read. I could not put it down.
Date published: 2010-08-28
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Lots of Hype Found this story boring. I wasnt intrigued, and I didnt find myself caring at all about these characters.
Date published: 2010-08-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absorbing I loved this book. From the first chapter to the end it was difficult to put it down. The end of every chapter was its own little cliff hanger pulling you forward to the next page. The inter-twined story lines and the depth of each character were astounding. This book was recommended to me by my sister in law and I have recommended it to everyone book lover I know. Simply beautiful.
Date published: 2010-08-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it Fantasic Read. The story and characters were so great and you really got into the book wanting to know how everyone intertwined in one womans life. Loved it Loved it Loved it. Cant wait to read another one of her books.
Date published: 2010-08-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read I loved this book so much, I really couldnt put it down. A great page turner filled with mystery. Just when I thought I had it figured out Id turn the page where something new would be revealed and I would be stumped again. You wont be disappointed with this story and you will pass it along to your friends right away as you will want someone to gush about it with. Happy reading :)
Date published: 2010-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding This book is beautifully written and captivates the reader within the first 10 pages. There is mystery, love and a sense of spell binding doom that keeps you on the edge of your seat! It is a MUST the leagues of "Cutting for Stone" and "The Red Tent". I am sad that it is over and envy the reader who has just picked it up!!!
Date published: 2010-07-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Could not put it down... Wonderful do not know what comes next...hard to put down!
Date published: 2010-07-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Magical, Mysterious Marvel! “The Forgotten Garden” has to be one of the best books I have ever read. It was a gift to me from a good friend and she has once again provided me with hours of total enjoyment. I think what I loved the most about this book is that just as I thought I had everything figured out, Kate Morton managed to throw me for a loop. I couldn’t believe that I thought I had the whole thing figured out by the first couple hundred pages, I thought to myself “How can this be 500 pages? I know the answer to the mystery already!” And then came curve ball after curve ball! It was so amazing to watch the mystery unfold and be just as surprised as Cassandra was! The imagery presented in this novel was absolutely incredible. As we drove in the car, I felt like I was by the ocean, feeling the salty wind in my face. It’s amazing how easily Morton manages to transport us to such amazing locations. I love books that I can escape into like this one, where I forget where I really am because I feel like I’m living with the characters in my books. Another thing that I really loved was how she divided the book up into time periods so that we get the entire story from the point of view of the character, not just looking back at what might have happened. This gives the reader a nice amount of dramatic irony possibilities, as sometimes we know what’s going on when Cassandra still doesn’t. The use of fairy tales was absolutely awesome! I loved how we got to read a few and see how they really are reflections of what was going on in Eliza’s life. Reading about the garden really made me feel like I was in the middle of a fairy tale, that there really was magic involved in creating that garden, as well as all the love that Eliza has for Rose. Honestly, I cannot get over just how much I love this book; it was so amazing and really had me captured in its magical pages. The world that Morton created is like none other than I have ever read, and I hope to get to re-read this fantastic novel. I know for sure I will be reading her other novels, and perhaps go back to some of those fairy tales that I so loved as a kid to see what magical messages they may hide.
Date published: 2010-07-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful story of 3 generations I loved this book. It is the story of a woman who takes it upon herself to find out the story about her grandmother. As we are travelling with one of the main characters, Cassandra (there are 3 main female characters), to discover the mystery of how her grandmother came to be, we simultaneously find out about her, and her emotionally moving story. I loved the history and the moving between the generations. All of the story developed together, so that we found out about everybody. I also really enjoy historical fiction, and this would fit that category well. You probably will find this enjoyable, if you like reading about history, and people's stories.
Date published: 2010-07-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Can't Put Down! Fantastic time travel, great mystery and gorgeous settings. You put the rest of your day on hold to read this!
Date published: 2010-07-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! I am in shock at how incredibly marvellous this book was. The begining was perfect. The Middle was mysterious and the ending was breath taking! I cried. The forgotten garden is a place I would love to visit. So many stories. Such incredible history! I would reccommend this story a thousand times over to anyone who wants to read it. You will fall in love, just as I have! BEAUTIFUL!
Date published: 2010-06-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Intriguing Read This novel , to me, had similarities to Wuthering Heights, The Secret Garden, and Oliver Twist. Kate Morton weaves this tale within 3 time periods. 1913, 1975 & 2005.We are transported between these time periods, many times throughout the novel,unraveling clues as we time travel. The center of the mystery is the adult Nell, and her search for her biological parents. Abandoned as a young child and found on the docks of Australia, with only a small suitcase, Nell seeks to learn her true lineage. This search is continued by her granddaughter Cassandra 30 years later. This novel is exquisitely written , with scenes and characters so vividly described it is like dessert for your imagination.. If you want a great story, not too short that you can really sink your teeth into this is the book for you!
Date published: 2010-06-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A page turner Loved it. I looked forward to reading it every night before bed, and had a hard time putting it down to turn out the light! Well-written, suspenseful and great character development.
Date published: 2010-06-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Story....well put together.....keeps you intrigued! this was a fantastic read. Great story line, 3 generations of women's discovery and journey of origins...not like anything I have read before. Beautifully articulated and well scripted. Kept me intrigued until the very end....and what a marvelous ending. this is my first experience of Kate Morton....I will definately be reading more of her!!!
Date published: 2010-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Officially my new favourite book, AMAZING! The Forgotten Garden had everything for me. EVERYTHING, I absolutely LOVED it! The plot was ingenious, and it never left you without a mystery to mull over. In between reads (it was quite a long novel), I would constantly find myself contemplating the events in the story and it would rarely leave my mind. From beginning to end, I was sold, and the story only got better as you progressed. The way Kate Morton revealed each part of the mystery was very effective and kept me hooked. I enjoyed the parallel progression of the same story during the lives of each different character and through the different eras. Occasionally there were unlikely situations in the book, but that was inevitable and it didn't take away from it all because nothing felt forced or tacked on as a last resort. The ending was powerful, conclusive, and did not disappoint! The characters were interesting and likable, and they were easy to root for. I honestly worried for the well-being of the characters while reading this book. Her characters were also very complex. The protagonists were never perfect and all had flaws that the reader could relate to and even occasionally be frustrated with. The antagonists, on the other hand, (for the most part) were not purely evil, but the motives behind their actions were explained and very plausible. The character development was highly effective. The story even had a little bit of romance, in the perfect dose that didn't overpower the main theme. This book was so well-written, the language Kate Morton used brought the story to another level and reinforced the emotion throughout the story. The mini fairytales throughout were as enchanting as they were meant to be in the novel, and I enjoyed the transformation of writing style when she wrote them. The symbolism in the fairytales and small details, and discovering their meanings as I read made the novel all the more enjoyable. My only regret is that I will never be able to read this book for the first time again!
Date published: 2010-04-22

Read from the Book

The Forgotten Garden ONE LONDON, 1913 IT was dark where she was crouched but the little girl did as she’d been told. The lady had said to wait, it wasn’t safe yet, they had to be as quiet as larder mice. It was a game, just like hide-and-seek. From behind the wooden barrels the little girl listened. Made a picture in her mind the way Papa had taught her. Men, near and far, sailors she supposed, shouted to one another. Rough, loud voices, full of the sea and its salt. In the distance: bloated ships’ horns, tin whistles, splashing oars and, far above, grey gulls cawing, wings flattened to absorb the ripening sunlight. The lady would be back, she’d said so, but the little girl hoped it would be soon. She’d been waiting a long time, so long that the sun had drifted across the sky and was now warming her knees through her new dress. She listened for the lady’s skirts, swishing against the wooden deck. Her heels clipping, hurrying, always hurrying, in a way the little girl’s own mamma never did. The little girl wondered, in the vague, unconcerned manner of much-loved children, where Mamma was. When she would be coming. And she wondered about the lady. She knew who she was, she’d heard Grandmamma talking about her. The lady was called the Authoress and she lived in the little cottage on the far side of the estate, beyond the maze. The little girl wasn’t supposed to know. She had been forbidden to play in the bramble maze. Mamma and Grandmamma had told her it was dangerous to go near the cliff. But sometimes, when no one was looking, she liked to do forbidden things. Dust motes, hundreds of them, danced in the sliver of sunlight that had appeared between two barrels. The little girl smiled and the lady, the cliff, the maze, Mamma left her thoughts. She held out a finger, tried to catch a speck upon it. Laughed at the way the motes came so close before skirting away. The noises beyond her hiding spot were changing now. The little girl could hear the hubbub of movement, voices laced with excitement. She leaned into the veil of light and pressed her face against the cool wood of the barrels. With one eye she looked upon the decks. Legs and shoes and petticoat hems. The tails of colored paper streamers flicking this way and that. Wily gulls hunting the decks for crumbs. A lurch and the huge boat groaned, long and low from deep within its belly. Vibrations passed through the deck boards and into the little girl’s fingertips. A moment of suspension and she found herself holding her breath, palms flat beside her, then the boat heaved and pushed itself away from the dock. The horn bellowed and there was a wave of cheering, cries of “Bon voyage!” They were on their way. To America, a place called New York, where Papa had been born. She’d heard them whispering about it for some time, Mamma telling Papa they should go as soon as possible, that they could afford to wait no longer. The little girl laughed again; the boat was gliding through the water like a giant whale, like Moby Dick in the story her father often read to her. Mamma didn’t like it when he read such stories. She said they were too frightening and would put ideas in her head that couldn’t be got out. Papa always gave Mamma a kiss on the forehead when she said that sort of thing, told her she was right and that he’d be more careful in the future. But he still told the little girl stories of the great whale. And others—the ones that were the little girl’s favorite, from the fairy-tale book, about eyeless crones, and orphaned maidens, and long journeys across the sea. He just made sure that Mamma didn’t know, that it remained their secret. The little girl understood they had to have secrets from Mamma. Mamma wasn’t well, had been sickly since before the little girl was born. Grandmamma was always bidding her be good, warning her that if Mamma were to get upset something terrible might happen and it would be all her fault. The little girl loved her mother and didn’t want to make her sad, didn’t want something terrible to happen, so she kept things secret. Like the fairy stories, and playing near the maze, and the times Papa had taken her to visit the Authoress in the cottage on the far side of the estate. “Aha!” A voice by her ear. “Found you!” The barrel was heaved aside and the little girl squinted up into the sun. Blinked until the owner of the voice moved to block the light. It was a big boy, eight or nine, she guessed. “You’re not Sally,” he said. The little girl shook her head. “Who are you?” She wasn’t meant to tell anybody her name. It was a game they were playing, she and the lady. “Well?” “It’s a secret.” His nose wrinkled, freckles drew together. “What for?” She shrugged. She wasn’t supposed to speak of the lady, Papa was always telling her so. “Where’s Sally, then?” The boy was growing impatient. He looked left and right. “She ran this way, I’m sure of it.” A whoop of laughter from further down the deck and the scramble of fleeing footsteps. The boy’s face lit up. “Quick!” he said as he started to run. “She’s getting away.” The little girl leaned her head around the barrel and watched him weaving in and out of the crowd in keen pursuit of a flurry of white petticoats. Her toes itched to join them. But the lady had said to wait. The boy was getting further away. Ducking around a portly man with a waxed moustache, causing him to scowl so that his features scurried towards the center of his face like a family of startled crabs. The little girl laughed. Maybe it was all part of the same game. The lady reminded her more of a child than of the other grown-ups she knew. Perhaps she was playing, too. The little girl slid from behind the barrel and stood slowly. Her left foot had gone to sleep and now had pins and needles. She waited a moment for feeling to return, watched as the boy turned the corner and disappeared. Then, without another thought, she set off after him. Feet pounding, heart singing in her chest.

Editorial Reviews

“Morton whisks the reader into scene after vivid scene, sometimes frightening us, often perplexing us, and always providing us with a great deal of entertainment.”
Star Telegram (Fort Worth, TX)