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)
It was good but I rarely found myself driving around to continue to listen to the book as I have done with some!
The story was unpredictable at times. I like to see if I can guess ahead what may happen, and many times, the story line surprised me.
This semi-gothic novel was at first confusing, because it shifted time, place, and characters so quickly. It came together, finally, sort of, in a pretty sad and disappointing way. The characters and their motivations are established, and then they behave in ways that are inconsistent with those motivations. I hung in there, expecting some of the perplexing behavior to be explained, but it wasn't. The major character, Eliza, wins the reader's heart because of her honor, truthfulness, bravery, and ability to survive, and then she behaves as though she was not the person we believed her to be. Her cousin, Rose, loves her more than anyone, until she doesn't. Rose's husband? I don't have a clue! He seems more like a plot device than a person. The brooding and twisted Uncle Linus is presented as kindly but uninvolved one moment, and obsessed almost to the point of being a child molester the next. Was he or wasn't he? Wes the "bad man" the detective or Linus? Who knows? The entire effect was unsettling, and worse, unbelievable.
The Forgotten Garden, as with this author's other novels, is a very easy read/listen that is well-written, compelling and fun. I tend to go through periods of heavy listening to serious pieces then need to come out of the fog with light, comedic work. I transition back to the heavy like I'm headed down a staircase, and this is where Kate Morton's work always falls. Not frivolous, not too dark. I especially appreciate the pace. Where many serious, historical fiction or classic novels take a lot of time to discuss in great detail people, places, thoughts, concepts or scenes, Kate Morton's writing is always perfectly paced, non-skim-able, and does not idle where one may lose interest. Her storylines are exciting and compelling, and their lightness does not implore one to search for hidden meanings or wonder about loose threads.
One of my main reasons for purchasing any Kate Morton book is the narrator. I enjoy how she handles Morton's lovely writing - they're a perfect match.
I had to start over to make sure I was on the correct page. (Literally) But I did get hooked and enjoyed this story immensely.
I loved this book. A delightful tale of a grand daughter who goes in search of her late grandmother's steps to find out the truth about her grand mother's origins. The story bounces back and forth between the present and the past changing characters and captivating you in more and more with each minute.
There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – Emily Dickinson
I did enjoy this book, but I???d say the best part was the last half. The beginning was good and plenty readable (or listenable), but as the plot went further back in time and uncovered more about the basis for the story and the mystery, it got a lot more suspenseful. By the end I really couldn???t stop listening, and I love it when that happens. I think the older part of the story, chronologically, was better plot-wise than the modern part of the plot. It had more depth and complexity to it than the modern story, and the characters seemed more interesting and almost magical or at least less mundane.
The author???s technique was to weave strands of the modern and the old story together and back and forth to keep the reader in suspense as the modern character, Cassandra, unravels the true story of her past. That technique worked well, but at some points it seemed a little overdone??? like there were just too many strands. The back and forth gave me a bit of reader???s whiplash. However, as I said, by the end I was just anxious to find everything out, so I didn???t care, and it wasn???t really very hard to follow. Along the way the author threw in various clues and quite a bit of foreshadowing. I could tell in advance who Nell???s mom was. There was a mysterious episode that foreshadowed this, AND it would NOT make for a very good ending to such a heroic search for her past to have the long-lost ancestor be the decoy person that the author threw in to try and throw the reader off.
The only character that I thought was not very well thought out was Cassandra???s mother, Leslie. I felt she was an extraneous plot device thrown in to take up historical time so that the plot could advance forward by one generation.
I liked the way the book made me think how little we may know about a person from the distant past when all we see are a few facts on a paper or a few of their possessions. It was really fun to see Cassandra???s ancestors come to life as the story wore on and more knowledge was gained about her past.
enjoyed the narrator and this fun plot that traveled back and forth in time to solve a mystery.
loved her various accents and voices.
no-one that I know of, sorry
It wasn't that the story was bad but it was too much back and forth with so many characters and also with the different ages of these that it made it too hard to understand. It was just too jumbled up.
The story seemed like a good one but again, it was too jumbled up to understand it and enjoy it.
"Worth a Listen"
Although this was an odd book, I enjoyed listening to it. Padded out somewhat, with a slow and sometimes ponderous delivery, the main drawback was the reader's inability to 'do' a Cornish accent, substituting instead something akin to an Irish one - and the 'Dick Van Dyke' style of cockney accent was laughable!
In recounting this unlikely, but intriguing, tale the author spans three time periods without difficulty and the tale hangs together well. If the author intended a cliff-hanger, I doubt she has achieved it, as it was easy to guess the plot from the outset.
Overall though, a good 'read'.
"A good tale"
I enjoyed listening to this story. The clever way the plot revolves around three stories keeps you wanting to listen, especially when you get left with a cliffhanger and then move backward or forward in time. The only downside was the accents - the English ones rather moved back and forth across the country and got a bit Irish at times - but the story was enough to compensate
I have enjoyed greatly listening to this book. It is an intriguing plot(not at all boring)and very moving at the same time. The characters are very well developed. The book was very clearly read, in an engaging style (despite other comments I have read regarding the different accents of the narrator) and easy to understand. I would strongly recommended to anyone. I will miss it now that I have finished...
"The Forgotten Garden"
I loved this book this made the washing up a pleasure I really felt asif i was listening to friends ,please,if you are looking for a good book listen to this one you will be entertained for hours and will feel sorry when it is finished.
I loved this book. Although I agree with previous reviewer re-accents (diabolical cornish accent), and it became quite obvious early on how events would probably turn out.That said however, the author draws you in slowly but surely and suddenly 2 hrs have passed by! All in all a really enjoyable way to escape for a while.
"Great story beautifully told"
This would rate as one of the best audiobooks I have listened to so far. It's the longest but totally engrossing.
I love the way Kate Moreton writes. She delivers the story in delicate little bits so that you can't tear yourself away. Her characters are rich and her descriptions vivid.
I've listened to other books read by Caroline Lee that were quite a different style. Caroline adapts so well to the mood of the book and does a brilliant job capturing the characters' personality in their voices.
"Great story marred by sloppy editing"
This had all the ingredients for the sort of story I really enjoy: a creepy old house in Cornwall; an abducted child; a secret garden; a century-old mystery.....yes, it was a great plot, with lots of twists and turns (and contrary to some reviewers, I didn't guess the ending near the beginning!). However, it was v-e-r-y- l-o-n-g w-i-n-d-e-d and could have done with some serious editing. There was far too much inconsequential dialogue that didn't move the story on at all, and rather too many descriptions of people making and drinking cups of tea. Dramatic incidents, such as the accident that befell Sammy, were flagged up at least five minutes in advance, so when whatever it was actually happened, I felt a sense of anticlimax.
I lost count of the number of times characters inhaled, exhaled, and pressed their lips together. This sort of lazy repetition really annoys me. Could Kate Morton not be bothered to think up other ways to let characters express emotions? What are editors for? Did they not notice?
The other thing that really got on my nerves was the reader's appalling attempts at a Cornish accent - as another reviewer has commented, it sounded more like Oirish. If only the producer had had the courage to say: 'look, love, your English regional accents are rubbish - just read it straight, OK?' - it would have been so much better.
Fantastic - was lost for hours listening to this. Loved the twisting and turning in different directions with delightful discriptions and stories.
"couldn't stop listening"
I tried to read a story by this author a while ago on a recommendation from a friend. I struggled with the dramatic descriptions of everything and gave up after only a few pages. The genre is my thing 'though' so I thought to give her another go. This time the descriptions came to life and I could imagine the places in the story. couldn't stop listening! Only irritant was a sloooooow Cornish accents. made those characters seem a daft when they obviously weren't.
"Brilliant story, shame about the narrator"
As many others have commented on the work of Caroline Lee, I cannot understand why someone who gives such a sub-standard performance continues to be chosen for some excellent books. A real let down when Kate Morton's work is excellent, gripping and so well written.
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