Book Review: The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton

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The Past and Present Long Connected

In the mood for a multi-generational story told by a master? Kate Morton has certainly done it again in The Forgotten Garden. Mystery, suspense, and plenty of intrigue, weave throughout the story.

A book of fairy tales penned by an unusual woman called The Authoress, gifted to a child, passed through generations, now offers clues within each tale to choices made so long ago. Yet their meanings are hidden unless you know each path they take

Ms. Morton writes an amazing story. it’s hard to even describe in The Forgotten Garden. It covers not just generations but decades, transporting us back to the early 1900’s before returning us into more recent years.

We go back and forth in time, the author writing in a way that you follow along gladly, growing more and more curious as to where she is leading.

The Story

A little girl hiding aboard a ship bound for Australia, is told by a woman to hide and to wait, to stay hidden. While she waits, the ship sets sail. The same little girl arrives,to be found alone and abandoned on the dock, carrying a small white case. That case, on that will be passed through generations, holds a rare book of fairy tales. Treachery, cruelty, deceit, machinations of many all to suit one, combine into a quite complicated, twisting mystery that contains many surprises.

The mystery builds when that little girl, now an woman, tries to remember what is real in her mind and what may be imagination. Yet even as she discovers bits and pieces, it is nothing to the secrets that remain in the Forgotten Garden. An overrun garden, that even in disarray is beautiful and somehow magical to behold. Stunning though surrounded with tall walls that hide it from sight. Even those walls hold secrets.

What different lives little children can live. One may grow up pampered and loved, denied little, while another may face repeated mistreatment at every turn. How often when one starts disadvantaged, it can get worse before it gets better.

Little Eliza

Eliza Makepeace, another young girl, lived a difficult life. Her mother’s words, “You must save yourself,” echo in her mind each time she faces a new hardship. Her life will intertwine with each as the story comes to life.

The entire novel is an unveiling, as page by page, Ms. Morton reveals a detail at a time. With so many layers to uncover it is remarkable how well she does it.

Available in Audio

I enjoyed the book in the very well done audio version from Audible, narrated by Caroline Lee. She is a wonderful narrator that makes you want to listen to more of her readings. Her charming accent, her cadence, fit the story perfectly.

It is a novel you must read for yourself. If you’ve read others by this bestselling author, you will understand what her story will be like. If you haven’t, you are in for a treat. If you get the chance to listen to it, I’m sure you will enjoy it, but in ebook or paper or audio, you won’t want to miss it. It’s a story that will stay with you, long after you read the last page.


Merry Citarella, often writing as Merrci, writes on a wide range of topics. Recently relocated to the Oregon Coast in the northwest United States, she frequently writes travel features on the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She specializes in health and aging, Alzheimer’s Disease, food, lifestyle, and book reviews. For more information you can see her on The Writers’Door. You can read more articles here or at her websites Alzheimers HQ and Simple Living Ideas

Author: Merry Citarella

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