The Forgotten Garden

The Forgotten Garden

Book rating: 05 Paperback

By (author) Kate Morton

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  • Publisher: Pan Books
  • Format: Paperback | 656 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 196mm x 40mm | 460g
  • Publication date: 6 June 2008
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0330449605
  • ISBN 13: 9780330449601
  • Edition: Unabridged
  • Edition statement: Unabridged
  • Sales rank: 2,708

Product description

1913 On the eve of the First World War, a little girl is found abandoned after a gruelling ocean voyage from England to Australia. All she can remember of the journey is that a mysterious woman she calls the Authoress had promised to look after her. But the Authoress has vanished without a trace. 1975 Now an old lady, Nell travels to England to discover the truth about her parentage. Her quest leads her to Cornwall, and to a beautiful estate called Blackhurst Manor, which had been owned by the Mountrachet family. What has prompted Nell's journey after all these years? 2005 On Nell's death, her granddaughter, Cassandra, comes into a surprise inheritance. Cliff Cottage, in the grounds of Blackhurst Manor, is notorious amongst the locals for the secrets it holds - secrets about the doomed Mountrachet family. But it is at Cliff Cottage, abandoned for years, and in its forgotten garden, that Cassandra will uncover the truth about the family and why the young Nell was abandoned all those decades before.

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Author information

Kate Morton grew up in the mountains of southeast Queensland, Australia. She has degrees in Dramatic Art and English Literature and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Queensland. Kate lives with her husband and young son in Brisbane. The Forgotten Garden is her second novel. You can find more information about Kate and her books at www.katemorton.com.

Customer reviews

By Gillian Buckerfield 06 Sep 2011 5

This book is a completely worthwhile read. I loved the story, didn't want to put it down, and couldn't wait to pick it up again!

Editorial reviews

A four-year-old girl abandoned aboard a ship touches off a century-long inquiry into her ancestry, in Morton's weighty, at times unwieldy, second novel (The House at Riverton, 2008).In 1913, Hugh, portmaster of Maryborough, Australia, discovers a child alone on a vessel newly arrived from England. The little girl cannot recall her name and has no identification, only a white suitcase containing some clothes and a book of fairy tales by Eliza Makepeace. Hugh and his wife, childless after several miscarriages, name the girl Nell and raise her as their own. At 21, she is engaged to be married and has no idea she is not their biological daughter. When Hugh confesses the truth, Nell's equilibrium is destroyed, but life and World War II intervene, and she doesn't explore her true origins until 1975, when she journeys to London. There she learns of Eliza's sickly cousin Rose, daughter of Lord Linus Mountrachet and his lowborn, tightly wound wife, Lady Adeline. Mountrachet's beloved sister Georgiana disgraced the family by running off to London to live in squalor with a sailor, who then abruptly disappeared. Eliza was their daughter, reclaimed by Linus after Georgiana's death and brought back to Blackhurst, the gloomy Mountrachet manor in Cornwall. Interviewing secretive locals at Blackhurst, now under renovation as a hotel, Nell traces her parentage to Rose and her husband, society portraitist Nathaniel Walker - except that their only daughter died at age four. Nell's quest is interrupted at this point, but after her death in 2005, her granddaughter Cassandra takes it up. Intricate, intersecting narratives, heavy-handed fairy-tale symbolism and a giant red herring suggesting possible incest create a thicket of clues as impenetrable and treacherous as Eliza's overgrown garden and the twisty maze on the Mountrachet estate.Murky, but the puzzle is pleasing and the long-delayed "reveal" is a genuine surprise. (Kirkus Reviews)