When we were in San Francisco, we visited the Book Passage book store situated in the Ferry Building. There, I bought a used copy of the book The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton. It took me a while to get to this book, as my book stash is overbooked (pun intended, eheh). Once started however, it took my a week to finish it. Now,I am a little bit sad to let it go.
The story starts with the death of a grandmother who has had a strange life as she was first found alone on an Australian wharf at four years old. As the story unravels, we learn about her mysterious family story, and about the elusive Authoress and her fairy tales (which are included in the book). Cassandra, the granddaughter, sets off to Cornwall where an unknown house awaits her…
What I really love about this piece of writing is that the story goes back and forth between the present (2005) and the past (1900’s). This helps the reader learn things as the characters set in the present do. The mystery surrounding the Moutrachet family thickens up and keeps you turning the pages to know, finally, why this child has been abandoned on a boat set for Australia with only a fairy tale book to keep her company.
This book is clearly the adult version of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, with clear references made about this author (she even makes an apparition in the story!), and the secret walled garden guarded by a dark maze playing a central role in the plot. Is it as good as the children’s book? Yes! All the elements are there: spooky manor, enchanting garden, secrets, doctors, lively cousins, friendship and family grudges.
Set both in Australia and England, this is the book for you if you like family stories, fairy tales and mysteries. I highly recommend it! Let me know if you have any recommendations or thoughts about this book!