I am the kind of person who likes to read literary, "paper" books (classics, Russian lit, lit criticism) and listen to more popular, "fun" audiobooks (mysteries, historical fiction). I love to listen to a long audiobook (Wilkie Collins, Ken Follet) while driving or cleaning. One of my favorite audiobooks is "The Thirteenth Tale" by Diane Setterfield, and "The Forgotten Garden" is almost as good. I agree with other reviewers that it's a bit predictable, but even so, it's a sweeping, engrossing, and fun book to listen to. If you loved "The Thirteenth Tale," you will probably love "The Forgotten Garden," and so for that reason, I give it 5 stars.
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
I rate a book probably more for how it is written than for any of its other facets. I enjoy an interesting plot. I hope for well-developed characters and surprise endings. This book has it all and much, much more. On the surface, these are three stories beautifully woven into one. But there is much more. It is a story about the writing of a book of faerie tales that is a faerie tale itself. It is challenging to critique this book without giving away too much. I will just leave it to the lucky readers to discover the many wonderful aspects of this book for themselves. In short, of the last fifty books or so that I have read this year, this is one of the two very best hands down.
English Mystery Collector
If you have not read The Shifting Fog (The House at
Riverton) or this new one then you have two TREATS
in store. Kate Morton is a story teller extraordinaire and Caroline Lee adds the magic with
her superb narration. Dark family secrets,evil behavior,enthralling characters some of whom are damaged beyond repair are all uncovered as Nell struggles to find who she really is. If you like
storytelling as it used to be this one is for you!
Honestly, I bought this by accident, adding it to my cart when I tried to click on the title, then checking out without noticing it. Best literary mistake I've ever made.
This is an enchanting story that takes place over three, even four, eras. At first it seems a little distracting, as each time you get drawn in to one story you shift to another, but soon you are caught in all three tales, for different reasons, and can't wait to get back to each to find a conclusion.
The tales themselves intertwine to tell one story, one novel, each being intriguing in their own right. With elements of historical, mystery, romance, generational, and personal journey genres, this story is as complex as it is developed. Each scene is well crafted, and the entire novel flows into one whole, rather than seeming episodic, as these types sometimes do.
The good characters are charming, the bad characters disturbingly villainous, each story is intriguing, the settings and historical research creep up on you to create a setting you feel a part of. You'll find yourself looking beyond the boundaries of the story, even, feeling you can see the world beyond what the author created. By the end, the story manages to be emotionally fulfilling while longingly agonizing.
And the narrator is exceptional, as well. Nice accents, accurate individual voices for each character, and a skilled narrative tone throughout. Definitely adds to the experience.
This is one of my favorites, even if I bought it by accident.
This book is like a bowl of wonderful homemade vegetable soup on a cold winter day. A little predictable but warms you from head to toe!
The narration was excellent and easy on the ears. I enjoyed the musical notes between chapters.
The shift between periods and locations was handled nicely. There is enough subtle orientation so that you easily remember what was happening when you were last in this time and place.
It was hard to stop listening to this engaging tale of five generations of the Montrachet family, who have been separated by jealousy and anger. Told by beautiful Eliza, Nell and her grandaughter Cassandra, it's the unveiling of the mystery of how four year old Nell ends up alone on a ship from England to Australia, there to be brought up by strangers. Nell begins a new life in Australia but leaves her grandaughter, Cassandra, to piece back together the fascinating story of Nell's childhood and where they came from. An enchanting story well told.
I purchased this because it was on sale for $4 and had good reviews, I am glad I happened across it. I didn't think I would like it as much as I did. The story was a pleasure to listen to. I don't always go for mystery novels, but this one had me guessing from the beginning.
The best part of the story for me was the framing of original fairy tales through out the novel. They were all a pleasure to read and added just enough fantasy into the mix.
If you are on the fence about this one, it is well worth your credit.
My first attempt at listening to this book failed because I was wanting a quick-paced, twist and turn "microwaved" mystery. It is not for those wanting instant gratification. If that is you, I would suggest not buying the book. However, on my second attempt, the book became just want I wanted. It is a slow, layered mystery that takes time to simmer and cook. I liked the different points of view and time periods because it added depth of understanding. I couldn't stop listening because I wanted to know the "why" as much as the characters themselves. It is a "darker" narrative, so if you want sunshine and roses, this book is not for you. If you are patient and willing to wait for characters to develop and grow and a mystery to be unraveled, then you should enjoy this book. I really found it refreshing and engaging. The narrator is top-notch as well.
Say something about yourself!
A stately English country home, its exterior a beautiful mask for dark secrets within.
A mysterious cottage perched on a cliff high above the English sea.
A secret garden, its blooms walled off from the world.
Two cousins, both beautiful, both devoted to one another.
And a four-year-old girl who appears mysteriously on the docks at an Australian port, with nothing to explain her existence but a book of fairy tales.
Indeed, fairy tales take center stage in ?The Forgotten Garden,? Kate Morton?s rapturous follow-up to ?The House at Riverton.? In fact, getting this book through Audible.com is almost a bit of fairy magic in itself, given that the hard copy is not scheduled for publication until April, 2009.
The manner in which the book leaps between 2005 Brisbane, Dickensian London, andCornwall in 1975 as well as 2005 can be a bit disconcerting at first. But as if sprinkled by magic dust, you are quickly pulled into the tale. At the center are two beautiful cousins, Rose and Eliza. One is privileged but sickly, the other poor, but spirited. Together they combine their strengths and become an indomitable pair, forever linked by their devotion to one another.
Until the ultimate promise is honored?and a secret is born that might very well destroy them--and all who follow.
?The Forgotten Garden? features characters you would find in most fairy tales?a good and noble heroine (actually several, since this story spans multiple generations), a misguided king who is overpowered by his evil queen, a good prince, a loyal handmaiden, a noble woodsman (or, in this case, gardener), and, of course, an enchanted garden.
But each character is fully realized and made modern. ?The Forgotten Garden? is a rich and rewarding read that will not be forgotten any time soon.
I absolutely loved this book. I was spellbound by the characters, and loved the narrator's voice as she switched from person to person. This book jumps around quite a bit in time, which I was afraid would be confusing, but it clearly tells you which time period you are entering and you get so wrapped up in the characters lives that you wait impatiently for your "favorite" to cycle back. :) I would definitely recommend this to those who like great fiction.