Tuesday, June 02, 2009

What We're Reading: The Forgotten Garden

The Forgotten Garden is the second book from Australian novelist Kate Morton, and it is told through the POV of several generations of people who are all interconnected. It is superb literary fiction with threads of mystery, and it will pull you in and keep you jumping from story to story. It centers around the character of Nell, whose world is shattered when she learns that she was taken in by an Australian family after her assumed father, Hugh, found her on the dock. Among the young girl's possessions was a small white suitcase with very few clues to her identity. Inside her suitcase is a book of fairy tales that is one piece of the puzzle that will help Nell discover her past.

Only...she won't. Not completely, anyway.

That's where the story gets interesting. While the novel has many different narrators, the mystery truly revolves around Eliza in early 1900s England, and Cassandra, Nell's granddaughter, in 2005. Their tales seem to dance around each other, and you will be completely desperate for the moment when they meet in the middle and finally answer all your questions.

Perhaps the novel's only weakness lies in its dialogue, which can feel a bit unrealistic at times. Also, the shifts in time can be a little confusing at first, but you do eventually settle into the rhythm of it. Otherwise, this is a fantastic and lengthy book that will keep you occupied for a good long time. If you can't read 500+ pages in a week, you may want to wait until it's no longer considered new.

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