Kate Morton’s sophomore novel, The Forgotten Garden, is an ambitious tale spanning five generations of women. The novel opens in Australia, with a lost little girl with no idea who she is or where she came from. The only clue to her origins is a book of fairy tales. This little girl grows into one of the main characters, Nell, who (in 1975) journeys to the opposite side of the globe in search of her identity, but then abandons the search abruptly. Following her death in 2005, her granddaughter Cassandra picks up and follows Nell’s journey where her search left off, discovering Nell’s origins and well as clues to her own family history she never could’ve imagined.
Kate Morton deftly interweaves fairy tales into the novel, providing insight into characters when they cannot say such things aloud. Her female characters are strong-willed and well developed, though the development of the male characters in lacking. However, being that the novel is a story of five generations of women; the weak male characters are easily overlooked. Overall, The Forgotten Garden is a sweeping tale of family, love and loss and everything that occurs in between.
The Forgotten Garden is an excellent example of a modern Gothic influence. If you love classics like Jane Eyre and Rebecca, The Forgotten Garden would be an excellent place to start with when looking for modern fiction with historical and Gothic undertones. If you enjoy this novel, you might try Morton’s first novel, The House at Riverton, and her third, The Distant Hours.
Since there is more than a few cups of tea consumed in this novel, I thought I’d share my new tea find – Republic of Tea’s Chamomile Lemon Herbal Tea.