Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

This book was passed on to me by a Book Club member, because she thought I might like it--and, indeed I did.  It is a mystery that was released  in 2008 by Australian author Kate Morton.

On the eve of the first world war, a little girl is found abandoned on a ship to Australia. A mysterious woman called the Authoress had promised to look after her--but the Authoress has disappeared without a trace.

On the night of her twenty-first birthday, Nell O'Connor learns a secret that will change her life forever. Decades later, she embarks upon a search for the truth that leads her to the windswept Cornish coast and the strange and beautiful Blackhurst Manor, once owned by the aristocratic Mountrachet family.

On Nell's death, her grand-daughter, Cassandra, comes into an unexpected inheritance. Cliff Cottage and its forgotten garden are notorious amongst the Cornish locals for the secrets they hold--secrets about the doomed Mountrachet family and their ward Eliza Makepeace, a writer of dark Victorian fairytales. It is here that Cassandra will finally uncover the truth about the family, and solve the century-old mystery of a little girl lost.

This is a story that explores the present and the past, a theme that the author is particularly interested in.  There are three strands woven together to form a single narrative--the lives of three women from three different eras.  At first, it jumped around a little too much for me, but once I got used to jumping back and forth in time, the magical narrative captivated me.  We even get a few dark fairytales woven into the narrative as well.  You can tell that the book has been carefully researched and crafted with mysteries to be solved and many puzzle pieces to be followed till the very end (where there is a payoff).  It was a fast and easy read and the atmosphere and setting made for a compelling read.

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