Genre: Contemporary Adult Fiction
Length: 560 pages
Audiobook Length: 20 hours and 39 minutes
First Published: 2008
A foundling, an old book of dark fairy tales, a secret garden, an aristocratic family, a love denied, and a mystery. The Forgotten Garden is a captivating, atmospheric and compulsively readable story of the past, secrets, family and memory from the international best-selling author Kate Morton.
Cassandra is lost, alone and grieving. Her much loved grandmother, Nell, has just died and Cassandra, her life already shaken by a tragic accident ten years ago, feels like she has lost everything dear to her. But an unexpected and mysterious bequest from Nell turns Cassandra’s life upside down and ends up challenging everything she thought she knew about herself and her family.
Inheriting a book of dark and intriguing fairy tales written by Eliza Makepeace—the Victorian authoress who disappeared mysteriously in the early twentieth century—Cassandra takes her courage in both hands to follow in the footsteps of Nell on a quest to find out the truth about their history, their family and their past; little knowing that in the process, she will also discover a new life for herself.
Quotes from The Forgotten Garden
Memory is a cruel mistress with whom we all must learn to dance.
We’re all unique, just never in the ways we imagine.
She did as she felt, and she felt a great deal.
You make a life out of what you have, not what you’re missing.
So much in life came down to timing.
Discussion Questions for The Forgotten Garden
- The story jumps between 3 time periods – Eliza and Rose in the early 1900s, Nell’s trip to England in 1975 and Cassandra in 2005. How did you feel about the intertwining of the three lines? Did you feel they balanced well? Was one better written than the others?
- Could you see Eliza and Rose realistically acting the way they did? Was it believable that a husband like Nathaniel would actually go along with their plan?
- One of the themes of the book is the sense of identity we derive from our family. Every character in some way lost that sense of their identity at some point in the novel. What other themes and motifs did you notice in the book?
- In the story, Nell almost completely shuts out her family when she finds out she was adopted. Her whole personality seems to shift. Do you feel this shift was necessary to the story and did it seem authentic or overly dramatic?
- It must be extremely difficult to write a book of more than 500 pages? Do you feel the length was justified, or do you think she could have shortened the story without losing any of the substance?
About Kate Morton
Kate Morton is the author of 6 books, all of which have been New York Times bestsellers. Her first novel, The House at Riverton, was one of the most successful UK debuts of all time. Her other works include, The Clockmaker’s Daughter, The Distant Hours, The Secret Keeper and The Lake House. Morton was born in South Australia and now resides with her family in London and Australia. Visit the author’s website →