I’ve always been fascinated by stories that delve into the unknown and complicated histories of their characters, and I’ve been curious about The Forgotten Garden for quite some time now, so when I read this blurb from Booklist, “a satisfying read …just the thing for readers who like multigenerational sagas with a touch of mystery”, it’s safe to say I was hooked.
I read this book on Sunday, curled up outside on a picnic table in the sun, and quickly found myself absorbed. Morton writes in images and pictures, and so I sat there for hours, lost in the twisted and mysterious landscapes of the Cornish coast, barely aware of the fact that I was sitting on a hard bench, in the middle of winter, on a busy street in downtown Toronto.
The Forgotten Garden begins in London, on the eve of WWI. A little girl plays hide-and-seek on the deck of a ship while waiting for the woman who left her there to return. But as darkness comes, the girl is still alone. The ship pulls out from the dock and steams away on a long, grueling journey to Australia, where the dock master and his wife take in the small castaway who is carrying nothing but a child’s white suitcase containing a few clothes and a book of fairytales.
It’s not until her twenty-first birthday that they tell her the truth.
In her adulthood she returns to England in search of her identity and that of the mysterious woman who abandoned her. Her quest is not fulfilled until after her death, and what began as a journey of self-discovery becomes a search for family identity and belonging, as her granddaughter, Cassandra, travels to a cottage on the cliffs of Cornwall, eventually discovering the secrets of its forgotten garden.
Though you might be reading this one inside for the time being, I encourage you to pick up a copy and get lost in the beauty of Morton’s writing.
Until March 22 you can enter to win a wine and cheese gift basket at select local independent bookstores.
And the best part?
The gift basket includes a copy of The House at Riverton, and The Forgotten Garden, which you’ll definitely want to share with your friends!