The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Two words best describe Kate Morton's novel The Forgotten Garden: Family intrigue.
And intriguing it most certainly is!
In 1913 a small child is found abandoned with nothing more than a small suitcase of belongings on an Australian wharf. Taken in and adopted by a local family, the girl grows up as Nell, who believes she is the eldest of four children. When she discovers that her actual origins are unknown, she embarks on a journey to discover where she came from, who her parents were and how she came to be all alone on a ship bound for Australia when she was barely four years old.
Upon Nell's death her grand-daughter, Cassandra, takes it upon herself to continue her grandmother's search for the truth. The journey takes her all the way to Cornwall in England, and to a little cottage on the grounds of an old estate. There she uncovers a hidden garden that once belonged to an Edwardian authoress named Eliza Makepeace and her childhood friend, Rose. But how are the two women connected to Nell, and what role did they play in her fate? The truth will alter the course of Cassandra's life forever.
The Forgotten Garden is a delicious novel filled to the brim with secrets. As a reader it is hard not to feel sorry for Nell, and even more difficult to ignore Cassandra's enthusiasm for discovering the truth. Even though I was able to figure out the "big secret" fairly early on (and could not fall for the author's deliberate red herring), I still immensely enjoyed the story, and whose characters I became invested in as I followed them on their respective journeys of discovery.