The Forgotten Garden: A Novel
Title: The Forgotten Garden: A Novel
Author: Kate Morton
Abandoned on a 1913 voyage to Australia, Nell is raised by a dock master and his wife who do not tell her until she grows up that she is not their child, a situation that causes her to return to England and eventually hand down her quest for answers to her granddaughter.
Amazon Best of the Month, April 2009: Like Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beloved classic The Secret Garden, Kate Morton’s The Forgotten Garden takes root in your imagination and grows into something enchanting—from a little girl with no memories left alone on a ship to Australia, to a fog-soaked London river bend where orphans comfort themselves with stories of Jack the Ripper, to a Cornish sea heaving against wind-whipped cliffs, crowned by an airless manor house where an overgrown hedge maze ends in the walled garden of a cottage left to rot. This hidden bit of earth revives barren hearts, while the mysterious Authoress’s fairy tales (every bit as magical and sinister as Grimm’s) whisper truths and ignite the imaginary lives of children. As Morton draws you through a thicket of secrets that spans generations, her story could cross into fairy tale territory if her characters weren’t clothed in such complex flesh, their judgment blurred by the heady stench of emotions (envy, lust, pride, love) that furtively flourished in the glasshouse of Edwardian society. While most ache for a spotless mind’s eternal sunshine, the Authoress meets the past as “a cruel mistress with whom we must all learn to dance,” and her stories gift children with this vital muscle memory. —Mari Malcolm