So far, out of all the books I’ve read, this one happens to be my favorite, as it combines three things: an air of mystery, history in Europe (particularly the turn-of-the-century in London) and an amazing story of the course of someone’s life.
The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton, according to the Simon and Schuster site, “A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a single book—a beautiful volume of fairy tales. She is taken in by the dockmaster and his wife and raised as their own. On her twenty-fi rst birthday, they tell her the truth, and with her sense of self shattered and very little to go on, “Nell” sets out to trace her real identity. Her quest leads her to Blackhurst Manor on the Cornish coast and the secrets of the doomed Mountrachet family. But it is not until her granddaughter, Cassandra, takes up the search after Nell’s death that all the pieces of the puzzle are assembled. A spellbinding tale of mystery and self-discovery, The Forgotten Garden will take hold of your imagination and never let go.”
What’s not included in this description is how the story is told from three different periods in time: 1898-1913, 1975 and 2005. When Cassandra began her search, she found out that she inherited a cottage on the border of the Mountrachet family property that the locals say is cursed. With the locals’ help, she’s able to piece together her grandmother’s history, which includes understanding who her real mother is – that tale alone is dark and gloomy. In the process, she finds a hidden garden that those who have entered, say it’s the most magical place they have ever been. It left me, not just wanting to move to the English countryside, but also to own a garden such as this.
I was unable to put this book down and I’m sad that it has ended. I highly recommend it.