Intrigue, Suspense, Mystery -- Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden is Perfect

Status: Bookseller Picks


When I saw that Kate Morton released a second book, I couldn't wait to get my hands and eyes on it. House at Riverton had been a recommend from a fellow bookseller and, wary as I am of recommends, I read it. And I loved it. But The Forgotten Garden I loved even more.

Kate Morton has a knack for weaving the past and the present together, for spanning the continents, and for intricate character and plot details that have that "blink and you'll miss it" feel.

I devoured The Forgotten Garden. Cassandra in present-day Australia who, after her grandmother's death, is left a house in Cornwall, England. To Cassandra's grandmother, Nell, both as a child and as an adult, discovering her past. To the mysterious Mountrachet family and fairy tale Authoress Eliza Makepeace. Who is everyone? How are they connected? Who is Nell, really? And what will Cassandra learn about both her grandmother and herself along the way?

What I liked most about Morton's second novel is that it wasn't easy to figure out. The mystery shrouding the characters (each and every character, from a maid in the Mountrachet household, to Nell's parents in Australia, to a young gardener Cassandra meets) folds them all together and doesn't give anything away prematurely. I love figuring things out, but each time I thought I had something figured out, Morton added in another element. You would think with this many strings, the novel would be tangled and heavy, but that isn't the case at all. In fact, everything is necessary and everything comes to fruition.

I'd recommend this to anyone who likes to be surprised, who likes interweaving storylines, past and present, and -- well, really, anyone at all. It is phenomenal.

by on ‎05-06-2009 10:16 PM

What the reviewer, Sarah, has written, is all true and well said.  But, there is something more to this author's writing than meets the eye.  I tend to read 'into' a story, sometimes it's a good thing, sometimes not. 


The undercurrent to Kate's gift as a write, is a current of melancholy.  She touches each character with something hidden within themselves.  You want to know each, and feel deeply for them.  Kate also uses visuals like I've never seen before.  The atmosphere takes you in, and  then surrounds you.  I had asked Kate  [during a discussion with her],  if she was a visual artist.  She said, no, but her sister and mother were.  She said, "For me, writing is a process of applying layer upon layer until the story feels rich and real enough to satisfy me."  These are the words of a true artist.  This story is a fairytale within a fairytale, and Kate held the bursh.


Kathy S.

by B&N Bookseller Sarah_R on ‎05-08-2009 03:07 PM

Kathy S. wrote: She said, "For me, writing is a process of applying layer upon layer until the story feels rich and real enough to satisfy me." 


Thanks for your comment and your additions. I love that quote from Kate Morton because, I think, it describes what's important in any fictional work -- the ability to match the richness and deepness of real life with words on paper. Our lives are not uncomplicated. Our personalities are not one-dimensional. Our choices, dreams, ambitions -- they're not put together in a straight line. And neither should characters in fiction that hope to appear real.


Thank you for sharing Kate's insight to her own writing! I love learning about writing directly from writers.

by B&N Bookseller Jess-M on ‎08-20-2009 07:51 PM
I hadn't read Morton's first book, The House at Riverton, when this one came out.  I had to read it just because the inside cover was so beautiful.  I loved every minute of it and then picked up her other book right away.  The writing is so moving and it sticks with you.  The characters seem like people you know, even those that lived hundreds of years ago.   I love to handsell this to my historical fiction fans. Jess M. SM 2746

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