Customer Reviews for

The Forgotten Garden

Average Rating 4.5
( 1780 )
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(1035)

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(437)

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(179)

2 Star

(74)

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(55)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

81 out of 89 people found this review helpful.

Well-written, likeable characters and enjoyable read

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is an easy read, and yet gave me room to pause as I stopped to think. I like books that let me do that without pounding me into a pulp on the way. I suspect the book might appeal more to women then men and it would be a good choice of...
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is an easy read, and yet gave me room to pause as I stopped to think. I like books that let me do that without pounding me into a pulp on the way. I suspect the book might appeal more to women then men and it would be a good choice of several of the reading circles I know.

I appreciated the many issues raised in a gentle and non-judgemental fashion. Those with unresolved issues involving child abandonment, fostering, adoption, and similar issues might find the book uncomfortable but most likely not overwhelming. I would have read this book with my daughters, exploring the different facets of love of a child, some that hold tightly, some that let go.

I also appreciated that skillful weaving of the generations, a reminder that we impact each other with our choices.

My only regret: that Eliza's book of fairy tales isn't a real book.

Things I like knowing before I buy a book: No profanity that I noticed. Respectful story-specific reference to sex. Emotional issues dealt with tastefully and healthily.

I wil read more by this author.

posted by Aradanryl on February 14, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

29 out of 58 people found this review helpful.

I hope someday I can forget this book

That it took me a week to read this books is very telling. This was a hard book to read and I'll try to be very clear as to why.

First, the authoress ;) is very good in her craft in the sense that the writing itself is well done. And if that was all it took for me ...
That it took me a week to read this books is very telling. This was a hard book to read and I'll try to be very clear as to why.

First, the authoress ;) is very good in her craft in the sense that the writing itself is well done. And if that was all it took for me to enjoy a book she would have received five stars from me.

However, it takes more than a well written tale for me to fully enjoy the book. First I have to like the characters and let me say, most of the characters were not likeable. From Nell who squandered a gift, to her parents, and the cast of characters we found in England. They were all despicable people, with a very few exceptions, and more than that there was a level of stupidity beginning with Nell that was almost impossible to bear.

I also felt the story was purposely and needlessly drawn out. Several chapters before the end you have the whole "mystery" figured out so that its anti-climatic when it is finally revealed. I personally don't appreciate such manipulations. I would rather get through the book than draw it out an unnecessary 100 pages.

I could have done without the fairy tales, but if I'm honest I was so frustrated after the first 100 pages that there was little this book could have done to redeem itself. To me this was a tale about stupid people who made stupid and selfish choices and made everyone around them suffer for their stupidity and selfishness. If I want that kind of tale I'll go read the minutes from Congress.

posted by CeCeSG on October 8, 2010

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  • Posted September 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Forgotten Garden

    I knew this book had been on the May 2009 Indie Notables List, and had also seen it displayed in Barnes and Noble, but I didn't know much about this book when I started reading it. My book club on GoodReads, Heartwarmers, decided to read it this month. So, I borrowed it from the library. Though it took me a little while to crack the cover, because I became busy and the length was a bit daunting, I am so glad I finally dove in!

    Kate Morton is a stellar wordsmith and I am so impressed with how she spins a tale. If there were a picture next to "storyteller" in the dictionary, it would be of Kate Morton's face. It's always so delicious to find yourself in a novel that is a bonafide story, where the fibers of plot and syntax connect in such a way that you find yourself in awe of how the author was able to weave it all together so richly. Historical fiction, mystery, light fantasy, and tragedy are all bled together to create a spellbinding story.

    Amazingly you don't even realize that you are in a mystery until you have already connected with the story, and then it is such a quality mystery that the outcome is not even able to be guessed at until the last fourth of the novel (and even then, it is still a watery guestimation).

    I haven't felt this way about a story since I finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society last year. There is a special sensation that certain books give you; like you have stumbled into something remarkable and though part of you wants to tell everyone so that they can witness it too, the other half of you wants to keep it your own precious secret. These books did that for me.

    So often throughout The Forgotten Garden I wondered how the author was able to articulate ideas that felt like my own. It takes not only work, but concentration, observance, and a generous amount of introspection to be able to translate those universal feelings onto the page (or in this case onto 549 pages) yet keep the ideas fresh. In the conclusion, Morton backstitches the threads of the piece in such a way that the reader steps back in admiration of the final product; I was taken until the very last punctuation mark. It will be my displeasure to return this to the library -- this is a title that deserves a place in my personal library, and I intend to secure a copy for future re-reading.

    (originally posted on www.coconutlibrary.typepad.com)

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 14, 2009

    The best book I have read in several years. I miss Rosamunde Pilcher of Shell Seekers fame, but this is every bit as good. Lots of suspense. I loved it and couldn't read it fast enough. Jill Hanson

    Read on!! A must have in your libary. A wonderful story. As good as Rosamunde Pilcher's Shell Seekers. Lots to discuss for book clubs and would be appealing to readers with various interests. A great mystery!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 13, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A FAIRY TALE FOR DISCERNING ADULTS!!!!

    THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN by Kate Morton is more than a terrific book. It is a mystery and love story. It is a story, within a story ,within a story about family history and relationships. Specifically, it is a fascinating combination of all that makes for the best kind of novels!! It reminds me of the writing style of Carlos Ruiz Zafon in THE SHADOW OF THE WIND. It is one of those stories that will keep you intrigued far after you have finished reading it.
    When a little girl is left on a boat waiting for someone to come for her, but she ends up alone and seemingly forgotten half a world away after a sea voyage, the who, what, where , why and when fills the reader with trepidation and wonder at the intertwining of all that can affect a person in one life time. Yet, everything seemed to flow perfectly in the final analysis. Though this book was over 500 pages long, I read it in one day with great anticipation and a real sense of satisfaction and jubilation when I realized all that had happened to the characters in this book.
    This is not your average love story! A powerful feeling comes over you when you read how incidents and influences direct our lives. The fairy tales with the book actually cover the realities of the story. This is a bedtime story for the discerning adult in each of us. Great fun and a great read!!!!!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 22, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Not what I usually read but so glad I did!

    I've become quite a fan of Kate Morton! After reading her first one, I was curious about this one, even though the subject matter wasn't normally my choice. I was swept away and transported into an adult fairy tale, into exotic lands and times...daydreams, family saga and subtle romance....and loved the twist in the end! Amazing!.....Another amazing book I've come across that swept me away is EXPLOSION IN PARIS, by L.M. PIRRUNG....Would be a beautiful movie and great book club material!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Forgotten Garden I reccommend for all readers.

    The Forgotten Garden is a great read. I looked forward to sitting at the end of my day to read this book. I will pass this along to my "reader friends" as a must read. A great story with very strong characters. I enjoyed reading Kate Mortons books and I look forward to her next novel. I also reccommend her novel "The House at Riverton".

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 18, 2009

    A wonderful read

    This book is such an enjoyable read I didn't want it to end. It left me with a lasting sense of peace. I loved how she wrote about the generations and the fairy tales. I can't discribe the feeling but it was lasting. Kate Morton is a great storyteller and I hope she writes another soon. I also love the "House on Riverton Drive." It left me with the same feeling's. Please, Kate, write another soon,I'll be waiting.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    the Forgotten Garden

    This is one of the best novels I have ever read (and I've read a lot!). You'll fall in love with some of the characters and absolutely despise the others. Wonderful, amazing story. I don't often write reviews, but felt I had to for this one.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Loved her second novel

    I did not want to put this book down and finished it in two days, only stopping once. I would give this 4.5 stars if I could. I thought it was really well written and immensely better than The House at Riverton. I loved traveling through time with the characters, although it was easy for me to lose track of at which period a character knew information essential to the story. I also loved the fairy tales and wish that the Eliza's book were real.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Loved it!

    Amazing! A beautiful story about love, family and finding out who you are! I cried at the end I was so moved.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2009

    Great storyteller

    One of those books you don't want to put down. You get to know each of the characters and find yourself wanting to know more. The descriptions put you in the scene, you could picture the surroundings and the people.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 3, 2009

    WONDERFUL.....

    What a wonderful journey. One of my favorites. I could not wait until this was available in the states so I could own a copy of it.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 25, 2012

    Loved it.

    Excellent story, really keeps you reading.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 22, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    An absolute must read!

    The book was simply enchanting. It was a story, within a story, within a story. Cassandra, Nell, and Eliza each had their own story, and the end of a chapter kept you wanting to read more. The time period in England, a seaside estate, and a touch of mystery all lent the brilliance of this novel.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 4, 2011

    Highly recommend

    A wonderful, sweet story full of mystery and intrigue. It kept me guessing throughout the entire book. It is a must read!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 4, 2011

    Delightful read!

    You won't find this book easily forgotten! The characters will stay with you even after you have finished the final page!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    LOVED this book!!!!

    I got "The Forgotten Garden" for a book club, and wasn't really sure if I would like it, but the moment I opened up the book and started reading it, I loved it almost instantly. The story is very long and detailed, drawn-out and fluid, and leaves you guessing until the very last page. The plot takes you on wonderful twists and turns and leaves you guessing, and the characters are just wonderful. I highly, highly recommend this book! Loved it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Quickly becoming one of my favorite authors....

    I loved The House at Riverton and was very excited to read this book as well, hoping it would live up to the talent shown in the first book. I think it was even better than the first. Kate does a wonderful job of weaving together what is really very simple story, but tells it in such a way that keeps the reader hanging on for more. Having the chapters jump around through time probably should have been awkward, making the story seem disjointed and confusing, but she does such a wonderful job, keeping the writing neat and clear, that it is not confusing at all. It just adds to the character of the book as the mystery is being presented to the reader as events happen, and in the future (or present), as the most recent generation tries to unravel the clues of the Forgotten Garden. Highly recommended...

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Multiple storylines beautifully threaded together

    Someone told me The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton was good. They were right. It's long-549 pages-but I found it impossible to put down. Starting in 1913 with a child playing on a London dock, moving to Australia where a present-day woman is haunted by her past, following a grandmother in the 1930s and an orphan in the 1900s, each seeking secret leads that will find or lose their families-the scenes move from London to Cornwall to Australia and even to America, with each location and time convincingly drawn and beautifully portrayed.

    Kat Morton's characters are delightfully believable and flawed. The selfless mother and beloved child, the fiercely honest father, loving sisters, wandering daughter, the grandchild loved and rejected and wounded and alone. And elsewhere the family that struggles to disguise its secret hurts and lies and histories.

    Nell's world is shattered the day she learns she's adopted. She longs to find the family who abandoned her, to recover her self-worth. One thread of the story follows Nell's search from Australia to London to Cornwall, but in another time it's Nell's granddaughter Cassandra who's taken up the quest. All roads lead to secrets like flowers in a garden, beautifully planted and waiting for a gardener to help them grow. And the mysterious Authoress looms at the end of the maze, an indefinable figure of threat or of hope.

    This story enthralled me. Even as I began to guess the past I would find it slipping from my grasp, and I had to turn the page. The author keeps the different storylines perfectly separated and beautifully balanced. She fills in the characters, flaws and all, turning them into friends the reader follows eagerly. And she draws it in to a beautiful conclusion where all is exposed and revealed.

    The Forgotten Garden is a rare treat of a book and a masterful example of multiple storylines and timelines perfectly told, a powerful and beautiful tale.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2010

    Awesome!

    This is by far my favorite book! I loved the characters and the story. I had a very hard time putting it down.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    This is a great book to get lost in on a rainy day!!

    I loved the Secret Garden as a child, and this book is the adult version! In fact, F. H. Burnett actually visits the house in the book and becomes interested in the garden. So the author intentionally connected this story with the Secret Garden. Also, along with gardens, the book includes antigue literature and pictures that play a role in the story.
    The characters in the book have great depth and the storyline has a unique intertwining of the characters that creates an excellent plot that genuinely kept me on the edge of my seat because it was so different!
    This is an excellent book to read on a spring rainy day. You will have to save it for then because you wont be able to put it down! You will get lost in the story and will not be able to come back out until it is finished!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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