Mar 012012
 

*I borrowed this book from my library.

The lady would be back, she’d said so, but the little girl hoped it would be soon….She listened for the lady’s skirts, swishing against the wooden deck. Her heels clipping, hurrying, always hurrying, in a way the little girl’s own mamma never did. The little girl wondered, in the vague, unconcerned manner of much-loved children, where Mamma was. When she would be coming. And she wondered about the lady.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton is like the secret garden at the heart of its story – alluring, enigmatic, innocent but full of deception as well. In 1913, a young girl is found alone on a ship that has landed in Maryborough in Australia. The only possessions she has are a small suitcase with odds and ends and a beautifully-illustrated book of fairy tales by Eliza Makepeace. The dock master and his wife are unable to have children, so he takes her in, never letting on that she isn’t his own until she is an adult, and it’s a decision he will regret for the rest of his life as it leaves Nell unsettled and restless, wanting to find out why she was abandoned in a strange land. 

Years later, Nell’s granddaughter Cassandra picks up the trail after an odd inheritance leaves her full of questions. Cassandra, whose own childhood is very similar to Nell’s own. Cassandra, who has endured tragedy and is fragile. Echoing her grandmother’s footsteps, she tries to find out the secret of Nell’s parentage, all while healing her own wounds.

The Forgotten Garden weaves together the stories of three women: Eliza, Nell, and Cassandra. Each broken and hurting yet strong and stubborn. The narration switches between each woman, and though at first, it seems like quite a lot of jumping around, by the end of this tale, I was sorry to see each woman’s chapter go by but aching to see how the story would play out. Because in its own way, The Forgotten Garden is a fairy tale, just like all the tales in the book that remains so integral to the plot. In a real fairy tale, the tales of the Brothers Grimm, there are no happy endings without the expense of someone else’s bliss.

The desire for happiness in and of itself can wreak havoc on a life, and Morton plays this out in idyllic scenes laced with dark and bitter secrets, exposing the rottenness that lies beneath those areas of our lives we strive to remain hidden and forgotten.

My mom and Matt from A Guy’s Moleskine Notebook are the only reasons I read this book, and I am so incredibly glad I did. As Matt mentions in his review, The Forgotten Garden is, at its heart, a mystery. The crafting of this story and its central question of the validity of maternal love is what drew me in and held me transfixed.

This seems to be a much-loved book on the Internet. If you’ve read it, why is it a favorite? The writing? The story? Every last bit of it?

Dec 312011
 

I have exactly 8 minutes to get myself in some comfy pants and my new fuzzy slippers, beverage in hand and choose a book. If you’re at all interested, join Tasha, Becky, and I for our mini readathon today.

Preparations

I went to the library last night and grabbed some books, so I could have even more reading options. In my stacks, I have the newest Diana Gabaldon, the newest M.C. Beaton, and older M.C. Beaton, The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton because both my mom and Matt of Guy’s Moleskine Notebook loved this one. I also have The Good Thief’s Guide to Venice. In my personal stack, I have The Woman in White, Murder on the Orient Express, The City of Ember, The Imperfectionists, and The Street Sweeper.

However, I’m going to kick this readathon off with an audiobook, so I can make my veggie chili (the Bear Creek bag is just what I use for the starter) and my roasted red pepper walnut dip. I love audiobooks for this very reason. I’m reading! But I’m not. :) I read for much too long this morning to be able to run to the grocery store until just now. I’ve also got my two favorite bubblies: Freixenet sparkling wine and Canada Dry ginger ale. I’ll update this post throughout the day.

Happy reading!

UPDATE – 3rd hour: I am still listening to my audiobook, The House of Silk. Long story, but I thought the book was finished when I first listened a few weeks ago, but the audio was messed up. :) So, I’ve taken down most of Christmas, cooked chili and eaten – all while listening. I have 2 hours left on it, but I’m getting sleepy, so I might switch to a book book.

UPDATE – 4th hour: Only an hour left on The House of Silk. Just made some roasted red pepper walnut dip with little toasties. Yum. Sustenance.

UPDATE – 5th hour: Have finished The House of Silk and half of a Charlain Harris Lily Bard mystery called Shakespeare’s Champion. Have a bit of a headache, so I’m heading into the kitchen for some water and Tylenol. :)

UPDATE: 6th hour: Reading Shakespeare’s Champion by Charlaine Harris and about to head to my bff’s house for dinner and fireworks. No worries. Only a short break.

UPDATE: 8th hour: Home again and snuggled in a robe my bff gave me for Christmas. Of course, I had to turn the air on to enjoy it. ;) Champagne has been opened.

UPDATE: 9th and 10th hours: Still reading Lily Bard mystery and listening to the fireworks outside. Maddie is curled up next to me. We’re both enjoying the readathon.

UPDATE: 11th hour: I finished my last book of 2011: Shakespeare’s Champion by Charlaine Harris. Next up, I’m trying to decide between Rachmann’s The Imperfectionists or The Good Thief’s Guide to Venice by Chris Ewan. Decisions, decisions…

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Wishing you all love, joy, and peace in the new year.

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