(2012) #21 review: The Forgotten Garden

The Forgotten Garden



Narrator: Caroline LEE

20:40 hours

Audiobook published by Bolinda Publishing in 2008

Book originally published by Pan Books in 2008

This book counts for the following challenges:




I rarely approach writing a book review with fear and trembling, and that is definitely the case here, knowing ahead there is no way I can fully translate my feelings and give full deserved honor to this book and its author. But I do hope I will manage have you curious enough and go and check it out.

Let me first say that after I listened to it, I asked my husband to buy the paperback copy for my birthday, so that I could read it (again) and keep it!
Well, if you follow my yearly statistics, you know I never ever do this: I own very very few of the many books I read, and I hardly ever re-read a book, possibly a book I read decades ago in another language, but definitely not a book I just read!

That should suffice to tell you how much I was enthralled and captivated by this masterpiece.

And why so? Well, here we are now getting into tough lands…

It is a mystery, a love story, a family story, spanning four generations, a fairy tale, or a story about fairy tales and art, and about mazes and secrets. When I say fairy tales, do not think modern fantasy where evil has so much emphasis – yeah, I’m against the trend, but I will not read anything about vampires, werewolves, undead and the like…

The ambiance is so beautiful and spell bounding, all along, as you switch from one generation to the next between the different characters, until you receive the magic thread that will deliver you to the entrance of the forgotten garden, that is, when you understand finally who is who, and what happened.

Descriptions are magic, I really felt I was in those places with these people.

The narrator Caroline Lee was superb at translating this mysterious ambiance of the whole book, and for 20 hours mind you, this is not an easy task. Her voice fits perfectly all characters. I see she narrated another book by Morton, which is great. Sometimes it is hard to listen to the same author narrated by another voice.

Kate Morton took some of here inspiration from the classic The Secret Garden. Interestingly, another adaptation of the same classic has just been published: The Humming Room.


A lost child…

On the eve of the first world war, a little girl is found abandoned on a ship to Australia. A mysterious woman called the Authoress had promised to look after her – but the Authoress has disappeared without a trace.

A terrible secret…

On the night of her twenty-first birthday, Nell O’Connor learns a secret that will change her life forever. Decades later, she embarks upon a search for the truth that leads her to the windswept Cornish coast and the strange and beautiful Blackhurst Manor, once owned by the aristocratic Mountrachet family.

A mysterious inheritance…

On Nell’s death, her grand-daughter, Cassandra, comes into an unexpected inheritance. Cliff Cottage and its forgotten garden are notorious amongst the Cornish locals for the secrets they hold – secrets about the doomed Mountrachet family and their ward Eliza Makepeace, a writer of dark Victorian fairytales. It is here that Cassandra will finally uncover the truth about the family, and solve the century-old mystery of a little girl lost. [taken from the website of the author: please go there and visit, this is a gorgeous website, with lots of goodies about the book when you click on the right menu].

Watch also this video

and you can find a nice interview of the author here


  Kate Morton grew up in the mountains of southeast Queensland, Australia. She has degrees in Dramatic Art and English Literature and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Queensland. Kate lives with her husband and two young sons in Brisbane.
Kate Morton’s books have been published in 31 countries. The House at Riverton was a Sunday Times #1 bestseller in the UK in 2007 and a New York Times bestseller in 2008. The Shifting Fog (know The House of Riverton) won General Fiction Book of the Year at the 2007 Australian Book Industry Awards. Was nominated for Most Popular Book at the British Book Awards in 2008. Her second book, The Forgotten Garden, was a #1 bestseller in Australia and a Sunday Times #1 bestseller in the UK in 2008

Other books narrated by Caroline Lee




30 thoughts on “(2012) #21 review: The Forgotten Garden

  1. I loved it too! It was one of my favorite books last year. I just read The Distant Hours (another by her) and liked it as well. I heard she has another one coming out too!


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    • This was also my entry into Morton’s works. I also love the atmosphere in her gently gothic books. like you, I was also a bit annoyed she did not try more actively to figure out who she was. Thanks for your great review.
      I see you also read CJ Sansom. I just added Winter In Madrid to my TBR, but need to read his whole Shardlake series first, lol. so many good books to read… sigh.
      and oh I received How Angels Die. can’t wait to read it!
      just added you to my RSS feed – which is odd as I know google reader will be dead by July 1st, unless they listen to our numerous petitions already sent since the devastating news yesterday


      • I only read Winter in Madrid by CJ Samson, I hope that you will enjoy the Shardlake series. I loved CJ Samson’s writing, however I don’t want to commit to reading a series now – I have too many on my TBR list already… sigh

        Thanks for adding me, I appreciate it. I only see your reply now that I came browsing, I wonder why I didn’t get the notification! 😦 I usually respond on comments etc… 🙂


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