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 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.
"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'.
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.
Fantastic - was lost for hours listening to this. Loved the twisting and turning in different directions with delightful discriptions and stories.
"Kept coming back for more!"
Really loved this book - admittedly it took a while to get into, as the beginning seemed to labour for a while, but it was certainly worth sticking with. It does take a little concentration, as the drama leaps from the early 1900s to the 1970s and the present day and back and forth repeatedly, but it's something that is surprisingly easy to get used to.
Once I had got into the story and as the threads of the three main characters started to knit together, I was absolutely gripped. I found myself taking my iPod everywhere with me, in the car...while doing housework...to bed, just to find out the next instalment.
Kate Morton is a skillfull storyteller who weaves a complicated, but logical story together accross the centuries. Would certainly recommend this title and will be trying a few more of the author's works now.
The Aussie narrator took a little getting used to and as others have mentioned her rather Dick Van Dyke English accents were very grating, but don't let that put you off. The story is well worth it.
"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.
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...
"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
"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.
"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.
"Pleasant read but could have been shorter"
I enjoyed this book but must admit could have been a couple of hours shorter.
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