Monday, April 14, 2014

Lush, Succulent Family Saga Makes Me Pine for More Morton

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

In 1913, a ship arrives in Maryborough, Australia from England.  When all the passengers embark, scattering to their various destinations, a small girl remains on the wharf.  Alone.  The child refuses to give her name, insisting she can't remember it or anything else about herself.  A shiny white suitcase containing clothes and a gorgeously-illustrated book of fairy tales is the only clue to her identity.  The lone witness to the girl's abandonment, portmaster Hugh O'Conner can't fathom how he's supposed to solve this dilemma.  Missing luggage he's dealt with before, but an unclaimed person?  The flummoxed, tender-hearted man takes the girl home to be fussed over by his wife, who's still grieving from her most recent miscarriage.  Nestled in the warm bosom of the O'Conner Family, little Nell grows into a young lady, remembering nothing about her auspicious landing in Australia.  

When Nell turns 21, Hugh knows it's time to tell her the truth.  His revelation, naturally, sends her into a tailspin.  Confused and angry, she turns away from the only family she's ever known.  It's years later, however, that she receives the white suitcase with its scanty clues.  Determined to find out who she really is—once and for all—Nell follows what little information she has to a grand old mansion on the Cornish coast.  As she learns more about the Montrachets, the colorful family who once lived there, Nell finds herself fascinated, but puzzled.  Unable to see a connection between them and her, she lets the matter drop.  

Decades later, when Nell passes away, her granddaughter is shocked to inherit a cottage in Cornwall.  Cassandra Andrews can't imagine why her beloved grandmother would own property in such a faraway place or why she never once mentioned it.  Armed with little more information than Nell had, Cassandra sets out to solve the mystery of her grandmother's true roots.  As she fits all the pieces into the puzzle, she finds her remarkable journey into the past leading to the one place that's always somehow eluded her:  home.    

You probably can't tell from the books I've been reviewing lately, but my favorite literary genre—hands down—is the family saga.  The thicker and juicier the better.  Given my taste for such lush, succulent tales, it's a wonder it took me so long to try those of Australian author Kate Morton.  Now that I have, I can't get enough!  The Forgotten Garden is a perfect example of why the writer is so popular among my fellow saga lovers.  It's rich, vivid, and absorbing.  With a setting that lives and breathes, characters who walk and talk, and a plot that twists and turns, it's a thoroughly engrossing tale.  Despite its length (a hefty 549 pages), the novel chugs along at a quick enough pace to keep the reader's interest.  The back-and-forth between time and narrators did get a little confusing at times, but that's my only complaint with The Forgotten Garden and it's a minor one, indeed.  Overall, I adored sinking my teeth into this luscious, layered feast of a family saga.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of The House at Riverton and The Distant Hours, both by Kate Morton)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for brief, mild language (no F-bombs); violence; and mild sexual innuendo/content

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of The Forgotten Garden with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.



   

4 comments:

  1. Have you read The Secret Keeper yet?? It's BETTER! and I loved TFG!!!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I read and loved THE SECRET KEEPER. Right now, I'm in the middle of THE DISTANT HOURS and really enjoying it as well. Not sure which is my favorite -- I just really like them all :)

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  2. Kind of reminds me of The Light Between Oceans by Steadman.. Have you read it? I loved that one.

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    Replies
    1. I haven't read this one yet. I have a copy of it, I just need to dig it out! Glad to hear it's worth the read.

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