Well, I have one book to mark off my list. And what a way to start the challenge!
I have to admit that I had picked up the book on Thursday last week, but since Mr. Right was home this weekend, I hadn’t a chance to read it until the weekend was over. That being said, I still devoured the book in a few days time.
I absolutely adored this beautiful work of art. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton should be held up as a model of what it means to write well, enticing the reader to want to get to the end of the book sooner than later and leaving the audience satisfied with the ending, yet sad to see it completed.
The opening of the story reveals a four-year-old girl waiting on a dock for parents who never come. She cannot tell her name and is bewildered as to why she has been left alone in an unknown distant land with her sole possession being a white suitcase that contains a dress, a hairbrush and her only book. Thus the mystery begins as the girl (and others) search for her true identity.
Morton’s exquisite pacing creates a page-turner that is hard to put down for trivial things like making dinner, folding laundry or going to the bathroom. She relates her narrative not only through the actions of her characters but also through fairy tales that work on several levels and provide clues to the mystery’s final resolution. Personally, I loved this unique arrangement as it added novelty to this fresh approach in story-telling. Many readers may guess the ending long before the finale (I being one of them); nevertheless, Morton maintains the reader’s interest throughout the rises and falls.
A challenge to the reader will be the constant switching of perspective from past to present and in between, primarily the years of 1913, 1975 and 2005. Though it takes a couple of chapters to fall into the rhythm of the book, the time switches are not an encumbrance for long. They directly add to the beauty of the storytelling, making the reader wonder in which direction, format and time frame the author will take next to further the story to the conclusion.
Many reviews have noted the length of the book as it is over 600 pages long. However, I have to tell you that the book did not seem that long, which is part of the reason that makes me hold this book up as an excellent work in literature. I was at the ending much sooner than I realized, mainly because Morton executed the story so beguilingly and seamlessly. Let not the length discourage you. It is a fantastic read that will make you glad that you gave it your precious time.
Lastly, I applaud this book for its vision in decency. I cannot recall one curse word nor one steamy scene. The characters are delightful and intriguing without the need to pander to worldly commercialism to sell the product. No doubt if the book were made into a movie, the director would take the one or two “could-be steamy” sections of the book to which the author gives reference but declines to titilate the senses with actual details and make then into TMI uncomfortable sex shots. Fortunately, Morton is well above that sort of secular catering and is confident enough in the story itself to make this book a fascinating read.
So to wrap it up, I highly, fully, and without reservation recommend The Forgotten Garden as a Must Read. It’s so good that I’m looking for it in hardback so that I can add it to my small, but growing, library at home. If I’m willing to purchase it in hardback, you know it’s good!