The story starts in London with a little girl hiding in a corner waiting for someone as a traveling crowd pass her by. As time stretched on, no one came for her and suddenly she felt the wooden planks under her feet move, tilt and then cruise along. She was on a boat and it was now sailing away from the pier to the sea. She will find herself later on under the hot skies of Australia.
In her middle years, from the remnants of the things she brought with her, she retraced her roots in Cornwall where a manor by the coast may hold the answers to the mystery of her own family. The Forgotten Garden is atmospheric with its muted descriptions, unraveling slowly the story of three women who keep clinging to their past and cannot let go.
Aussie author Kate Morton transports the readers in time by interweaving a tale which spans generations, each chapter offering different point of views to create a back story and to let the rest put two and two together. The loveliest parts definitely go to the fairy tales written by the Authoress featured in it. They are rich and enchanting, suffused in dark and brilliant light, out to catch our hearts and leave us changed.
I may have sorted out the puzzle a mile away but when it came it's not in a way I expected. But it is nice to ponder scenarios and this is probably the appeal of this book. Perhaps it may be in a much better light on the second reading and just maybe, the light that reveals the cadence of loss and longing wrought by the women of this story will taste less sad, less bitter than before; so I could make do "with what it has, not what is missing."
A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a single book; a beautiful volume of fairy tales. She is taken in by the dockmaster and his wife and raised as their own. On her twenty-first birthday, they tell her the truth, and with her sense of self shattered and very little to go on, "Nell" sets out to trace her real identity. Her quest leads her to Blackhurst Manor on the Cornish coast and the secrets of the doomed Mountrachet family. But it is not until her grand daughter, Cassandra, takes up the search after Nell's death that all the pieces of the puzzle are assembled. A spellbinding tale of mystery and self-discovery, The Forgotten Garden will take hold of your imagination and never let go.
Title: The Forgotten Garden
Author: Kate Morton
Genre: Mystery, Historical
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Rating: ♨♨♨ (3 cups - It is a tasteful book that leaves you in a train of what-could-have-beens and the time shifts may get a little confusing and leave you wanting to follow a particular person's story. But halfway through it is easy to forget about it and just let things unfold.)