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 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.
I am in my late twenties, a commuter, a romantic, & am loving life.
This book hooked my attention, and I found that I couldn't put it down. I loved the characters... loved seeing the events through several viewpoints. By the time I finished, I felt inspired to create a walled garden and to research my family history.
I found it very heartwarming that certain personality traits were passed from great grandmother to grandmother to mother to daughter.... I was almost envious of the main character.. wanting a family mystery of my own to solve! Such a great read.
Caroline Lee has a beautiful and soothing voice - and such a great accent! She's the first narrator that's ever truly stood out to me.
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 didn't want this book to end. The story is a story in a story, in a story, in a story, all of them EXCELLENT! I even loved the couple of short fairytales. I found myself walking around my office with my iPod because I had to know what would happen next! The plot is intricate, but not difficult to follow as the author is very thorough. I can hardly wait until the 1st to download this authors first book, The Shifting Fog. I was pleasantly surprised when I went on line and read the authors bio. She is a very young woman. The narrator was excellent also, sometimes I could not understand why she gave a particular character the voice she did, then as the story developed I understood. Bravo Audible!
It might be just me, but I couldn't keep attention when l listened to this book. I guess, it's not just my cup of tea here. So if you prefer thrillers that goes in fast peace, you might choose different book.
This book is the June selection for a book club I attend occasionally. I was just going to skip going this time until a friend encouraged me to read the book. I was reluctant to read it at first because from the title I expected a ripoff of "The Secret Garden." Although the plot is quite different, it is enough like "The Secret Garden" that I wasn't able to be snatched up by the creativity, one of the things that I look for in a good book. I kept going back and forth with this book as to whether I thought it was a good book for me. It has a very interesting story line in spite of similarities to the other book. The mystery of Nell and where she came from was very interesting to me, and I had to keep listening to find out. I did have it figured out long before the end, however. There were big neon arrows pointing to the mystery parents. The thing that took me by surprise was what happened to them that precipitated Nell's abandonment, although I probably should have had that figured out too.
Here is another thing that bothered me. Nell had a loving family. She had parents that adored her, and she led a great life. Although I can understand her wanting to find her birth parents and unravel the mystery of what happened to her, I can't understand her letting it "ruin her life," so to speak. Remember the great lesson of the kids' movie, "Meet the Robinsons?" As my husband and I watched that movie with our adopted daughter we became more and more uncomfortable with the little boy wanting so desperately to find his birth mother until the very end when he chooses not to find out who she was. His reason? "I already have a family." I'm definitely not saying Nell shouldn't have gone looking - I definitely would have, but I think I could have done it from the security offered by my loving adoptive parents. I felt like she was looking for who she was. Truth is, she was already who she was, and that just didn't happen to include her birth parents. Her past did not change just because she found out more about it. It is not usually anyone's first choice not to be raised by one's birth parents, but that is a reality for many many children who grow up to be incredible adults.
This book is definitely worth reading, but it won't go on my favorites list.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
Beautifully written, I loved the entire story and how it was unraveled a piece at a time through several time periods and through the eyes of multiple characters. I loved the original fairy tales that were included and wish that Eliza's fairytale book was available as a separate edition. The ending was so satisfying, yet I was sorry for the story to end and to leave newly beloved friends.
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
The telling of the stories of the extremely poor and the extremely rich . . . and how ironically both of these extremes are woefully unhappy . . . some of their own making . . . I loved how the family stories were woven together over three centuries (up to current times) to reveal how the mysteries of ones past both haunt and free them.
I loved the story telling in this book, and that its characters made difficult and sacrificial choices for the benefit of those they love, although it was not apparent to others at the time. The book is full of "evil versus good" and the abuse of power by the rich over their servants, and what happens, even to one of their own, when they try to think or love for themselves.
Enjoyed it so very much, loved it because of the different times that it took place, and also that it takes place in different countries. Characters I found were all very interesting, Caroline Lee is a super reader and did all of the parts so very well.
"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.
One of the best books I have listened to in a long time! Great characters and a storyline that kept me listening well past my bedtime every night! I'll definitely be looking out for more of Kate's books.
"A good story spoilt"
This was a good story but Oh dear the \" Cornish \" accent was so excruciating to listen to, spoilt it for me.
"Pleasant read but could have been shorter"
I enjoyed this book but must admit could have been a couple of hours shorter.
I did enjoy Caroline Lee's voice when she wasn't trying to do regional accents, she has an engaging and warm voice. However, her attempts at Yorkshire and Cornish accents were so attrocious and grating that it would have been much better just to have not tried at all.
"lots to keep you guessing"
a really good who done it with female twists
not what you expect
liked all the female characters spread over time.
Lovely characters, well written with intriguing plot. Lots of twists and turns to keep up interest.
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