Monday, August 23, 2010
Book Reviews #3
The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton
This is a magical tale of 3 women, Eliza, Nell & Cassandra, interwoven with the childrens' fairytales written by Eliza (these are integral to the plot so don't be tempted, as I was, to skip them)
Eliza's story is set around 1900 and the main thread throughout the book is the search by Nell, and then her grand-daughter, Cassandra to discover Nell's history.
In Australia at the age of 21, Nell was told by her father that she wasn't actually his daughter. He'd found her, aged 4, sitting on the wharf, having sailed from England apparently alone (on a huge liner with lots of people (this is no 'Life of Pi') but with no-one taking responsibility for her). He and his wife were at the time struggling to have children and so they surreptitiously adopted the girl and named her Nell.
This was a book group read and not an author who's come up on my radar before, I was quite unsure as to whether I'd enjoy this, but I loved it.
I wasn't too keen on the inclusion of the fairy stories (3 or so) at first, but it works and they are an important part of the whole.
This is a sad book, or maybe melancholy would be a better word. There is loss laid upon loss and you wonder at a person's capacity to survive such sorrow.
Kate Morton weaves a great mystery, leading you along one path quite deliberately, fooling you into believing one thing before finally revealing her truth.
I am now, very keen to read more of Kate Morton, I wonder if 'The House at Riverton' is also set in Cornwall, if so I shall be saving it till October to read when I'm there myself!