reviewed by Natalie
Part fairy tale, part history, and part mystery with a dash of romance, The Forgotten Garden is a story about three abandoned children, an English cottage, and a walled garden.
On her 21st birthday, Nell’s father reveals that she was found abandoned on a dock in Australia with no clue as to her origins other than a white suitcase and fairy tale book. This earth-shattering revelation leads Nell to search for her biological parents. Her search is cut short upon her death, but she leaves her granddaughter, Cassandra, a cryptic message and, in her will, a cottage in England.
Cassandra, abandoned by her mother and taken in by Nell, is a woman traumatized by the tragic loss of her husband and child. But she ventures from her home in Australia to England to see the cottage and uncover more of Nell’s past.
The third abandoned child is Eliza Makepeace, a young girl in early 1900s London. Eliza is an orphan, suddenly lifted from the slums into the aristocracy by her strange uncle. Eliza survives this abrupt transition through storytelling. Without giving too much away, Nell, and then Cassandra, discover that Eliza’s history can uncover the truth of Nell’s parentage.
Kate Morton takes the reader back in time to tell Eliza’s story and Nell’s story, moves the reader to the present with Cassandra, all while weaving in fairy tales. Structurally, it’s a finely-crafted work of fiction, and Morton slowly and tantalizingly reveals the clues until finally resolving the story in a most satisfying way.
Fans of The Secret Garden, Wuthering Heights, and The Thirteenth Tale will love this story as well.
Purchase The Forgotten Garden here.
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