Thirty-eight year old Cassandra is lost, alone, and grieving. Her much loved grandmother, Nell, has just died and Cassandra, her life already shaken by a tragic accident 10 years ago, feels like she has lost everything known and dear to her.
But an unexpected and mysterious bequest from Nell turns Cassandra's life upside down and ends up challenging everything she thought she knew about herself and her family. Inheriting a book of dark and intriguing fairytales written by Eliza Makepeace Rutherford - the Victorian authoress who disappeared mysteriously in the early 20th century - as well as a cliff-top cottage on the other side of the world, Cassandra takes her courage in both hands to follow in the footsteps of Nell, on a quest to find out the truth about their history, their family and their past; little knowing that in the process, she will also discover a new life for herself.
©2008 Kate Morton; (P)2008 Bolinda Publishing
"This debut page-turner...recounts the crumbling of a prominent British family as seen through the eyes of one of its servants....Morton triumphs with a riveting plot, a touching but tense love story and a haunting ending." (Publishers Weekly)
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
I was skeptcial when I purchased this book. It's a classic, which is definitely not my favorite genre, and it's also very long. My fears ended with the first scene as I was transported to another time and place, when the story immediately grabbed me and wouldn't let me go. I became so wrapped up in the characters and mysteries that I didn't want to stop listening. The truth which is revealed at the end is very emotional -- shocking, gut-wrenching, sad, heartwarming and beautiful.
I cannot say enough about the narrator, Carolyn Lee. Her voices and accents were perfect for the story, and her performace was emotional and flawless. I cannot say enough about The Forgotten Garden. It's wonderful.
I loved this audio as much as Kate Morton's other book, The Shifting Fog. I think it's enthralling the way she shifts between 3 different characters in 3 different time periods and then ties it all together for you. Loved the narrator as well. I would definitely recommend this audio.
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I feel like I just ran a marathon. I'm sort of on the fence about this one, or maybe I'm just on the fence about Morton's writing in general. These are very long, extremely detailed, thick and meaty labrynthian stories entangled within themselves. The writing is excellent-a feast of words to be enjoyed, and the stories themselves are interesting and deliciously enriched with the minutiae of life throughout the ages, and the narration is superb, but at the end of the day I'm a little surprised to discover that the basic gyst of the story was immersed in all that. I put this down halfway through with no intention of ever going back. Fortunately I did pick it back up and was happy to discover that I had finally hit the downward slope where mysteries were being solved and I had the desire to find everything out. But getting to that halfway point is seriously daunting, especially since I only recently finished another of Morton's works. It's good, but its an estrogen-fest, and I only recommend this to some serious devotees who dont mind a long book that doesnt necessarily hold your attention at all times. Oh, and the piano pieces seemed to come at the end of every paragraph! They were so bad I came to truly welcome the magical fairy tune that appeared in the latter half. And yes, there are fairy tales scattered throughout the story. Proceed at your own risk.
This book has a magical realism feel to it, it may be because of the fairytales being told throughout but I really enjoyed this beautiful story. It is a hard book to classify so I’m not going to pigeon hole it anywhere. I enjoyed the 3 different generations of women in this story and how their stories intertwined. This book is about family secrets and of how that affects generations. It spans from England to Australia in the early 1900 to the 2000’s. With each generation of women finding something about the past while at the same time finding something about themselves in the process.
I did enjoy this book very much however towards the end though you just want to scream at Cassandra and say hello I figured it out why can’t you! This book can be very sad at times and some may find the jumping around in time not to their liking. But I like books that show different time periods so I enjoyed that part. The prologue has a definite magical realism feel. I will definitely be reading more by this author!
The fairytales are a great and I wish there was an actual book of these fairytales!
I listened to this on audio narrated by Caroline Lee who does a fantastic job with all the accents from English, Australian & American.
This started out as one of those books that would put me to sleep. It seemed like nothing was ever going to happen. After starting and stopping a few times I went to read the reviews and see what folks had to say. What I found was that the book does, indeed, pick up at some point. So I decided to stick it out, and I'm glad I did! While the story's current time is 2005, the flashbacks to 1905-1913 and 1975 make you forget that these characters are are gone. The author does a great job at breathing life into them as their descendant in 2005 uncovers their story. Because these events have already happened, there is a pervasive sense of futility against a larger power, an inevitable sense of fate -- no matter how much it is struggled against. It's like watching a historically-based film where you forget how it ends because you've fallen in love with the characters. I especially liked how Fairy Tales were worked into the story and how they were developed by the Authoress and their relevance in her life. I didn't really understand or appreciate it until about half way through, but when I finally caught on... wow! Great! I also really enjoyed the way the storyline developed -- the interplay between past and present. Whenever you got an inkling for the truth, the timeline would shift and it would play out in front of you. Great story!! Definitely worth trudging through those first couple of hours! Thank you Kate!
This is an engaging and quite well written book, tho in parts a bit sub-Dickens, with descriptions of "mudlarks" (scavengers from the river Thames)and other characters almost directly lifted from Dickens. Unfortunately the Australian reader has only two accents: Australian and Irish. So all regional English accents (eg Cornwall and Northern England which both have very distinctive accents), are rendered in a brogue: like portraying a southern belle with a Bronx accent. Apart from this annoyance, she reads well, however. If you don't know how the characters ought to sound, this might not bother you.
Couldn't turn this audio book off .Can't stop and start with this one though, as it does take place during three different time periods and can be confusing. If you liked "Rebecca", or "The 13th Tale", you'll enjoy this one of Kate Mortons.
I was impressed with "The Forgotten Garden", I felt it succeeded on many levels. Great writing, the author's voice is original. The characters were fully realized and distinct. Even the evil doers actions were explained. The setting, or rather "settings", were vivid, very well imagined. The Gothic backdrop revealed itself slowly, melding well with the modern story running concurrently. At times the tale got a little silly, but it should be forgiven because they are brief lapses, and maybe some people like their stories that way. The narration was fine, yes the English and American accents were butchered, but she kept the story lively and engaged fully in the telling.
I just loved this book! It was a bit hard at first to keep the characters straight until I realized the dates stated at the beginning of a change helped keep it straight. Otherwise, a great story and great narrator. I wish Audible had more than 2 of her books available. My new favorite.
"An intriguing read"
Yes, because it had a nice rythmn to the story. Knowing the ending, a second listen would give more insight to the characters
The final chapters. It was a really well crafted reveal.
A very pleasant reading style, with no unpleasant mannerisms
No, I like to savour a book
This was my first Morton book, but I will certainly read more. It was well paced, changing between the modern day and past, without being confusing. The characters were very believable. I also liked all the characters in the book.
"An ok listen, worth a go if in between credits"
Yes, I enjoyed this book actually, kept me guessing and wanting to find out answers.
I loved the descriptions of Cornwall and London from an Aussie perspective.
I liked when the story concentrated on the past and the terrible experiences the twins suffered thorough
Yes, I didn't feel like I wasting my time and I was keen to know how it ended
Wonderful story. Difficult to switch off in order to get on with life..
Twists and turns all along the way..
I thought this book was beautifully written and well narrated. The story grips you from the beginning and you are led down a fair few trails before all the secrets are revealed. I really enjoyed it and will be looking for more from this author.
"A good listen."
I enjoyed this book as I do tend to enjoy books spanning different times and places with narration from characters in each. Starting off with a little girl abandoned on a ship to Australia and then adopted by an Australian couple it is her mysterious life that we are on the trail of after her death at aged 90. The present day story is told through her grandaughter Cassandra who has inherited her grandmother's childhood suitcase and contents and also a cottage in England but the story does go back and forth in time as each character's tale is told. I was kept guessing until the last quarter or so of the book when it became a bit obvious and I found I was waiting for the main character of Cassandra to catch up!
great story, nice narrator this book didnt seem to be as long as it actually was, very easy to listen to and enough twists that it wasnt too predictable, i will listen to her other books on the strengh of this experience.
"I struggled through this one..."
I struggled through this book I'm afraid. I didn't find the story that gripping and the narrators monotone voice did nothing to enhance it.
"It takes you to a wonderful place"
I just finish listening to this book. For 5 days, I gave up my every free moment to listen to it. It got my attention in the first five minutes, and I am deeply sad it has ended already. It's a family story, told by three characters, in three diferent times. It has mistery, drama and just a little touch of romance (the correct amount, if you ask me). The narrative is fluid and the passages from one time to another easy to follow and well connected to each other. If you're a hopeless fan of images from the 1900's and family stories, this is the book for you.
"The ending was very good"
I loved the book. The story was very interesting and i never felt like i was bored.
"Time well spent"
This is a cleverly woven story of three generations which avoids being cliched. The main characters, Cassandra, Nell and Eliza are convincingly portrayed and each evokes the time period in which she is set.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this book.
One word of advice; the narrotor's tone and English/Australian accent needs some getting used to.
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