Friday, January 20, 2012

January Book Club -- The Forgotten Garden


The Forgotten Garden

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
My enjoyment rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Personal copy
January Book Club choice

Child abandoned on a ship, two continents, a lost identity, an English estate, creepy relatives, a “forgotten garden” -- the perfect equation for a luscious, twisty novel!

Kate Morton’s The Forgotten Garden has all the elements for a cozy read, in a big chair, by the fire (OK, I didn't have a fire, but read it anyway!). She beautifully weaves elements of Gothic tradition with brilliantly described landscapes and characters.

Nell is surprised by her father with a secret on her 21st birthday – she is not his. This sets in motion a spiral downfall of memories which Nell tries to put back together like a jigsaw puzzle. She nearly attains her goal – but the arrival of her granddaughter, Cassandra, puts an end to her search, and she dies without the knowledge of the origins of her birth.

The author, in alternating chapters of past, recent past and present, tells Nell’s story and that of Cassandra, who takes up Nell’s quest to determine their combined heritage. It leads Cassandra to a forsaken cottage on the grounds of and English estate, and there she finds her answers.

This was the perfect book club choice! Our group devoured it and had a tremendously fun discussion! One of the few books in recent memory that kept me guessing until quite literally the last page. Bravo to the author for keeping me on the edge of my page until the very end.

My only complaint was the alternating time periods was a bit confusing in the beginning – enough that I had to make a list of characters and what century they came from.

Highly recommended for book groups.

Our February choice: The Pact by Sampson Davis et. al.

The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream

Summary: They grew up on the streets of Newark, facing city life's temptations, pitfalls, even jail. But one day these three young men made a pact. They promised each other they would all become doctors, and stick it out together through the long, difficult journey to attain that dream. Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt are not only friends to this day-they are all doctors. This is a story about the power of friendship. Of joining forces and beating the odds. A story about changing your life, and the lives of those you love most...together.