Posts Tagged With: Kate Morton

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

Waterstones Synopsis:

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 has disappeared without a trace. A terrible secret: On the night of her twenty-first birthday, Nell Andrews 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 granddaughter, 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.

This is a large book – over 600 pages, and to be honest, I was daunted by the size of it. However, I shouldn’t have been. The story flew off the page and the book read very quickly. There was adventure, life changing events, fear and destruction. There was also friendship, love and great fairytales.

There is not one main character in the book. The book spans a century and we get to know Nell, Cassandra and the Mountrachet family members well. The book does jump between time eras and events but it follows a stream of consciousness – by that I mean that when Nell or Cassandra discovers something about the past we then jump back in time and read what actually occurred. It is through this that we learn so much about the individuals featured in the book. I didn’t struggle with the time changes at all. As long as you note the year at the beginning of the chapter you are fine and it is easy to follow and keep up.

I loved the storyline. I loved how it was written so you kept discovering new things, and I enjoyed reading about London at the beginning of the 20th century, and how the upper classes lived. This is a historical novel, and I don’t think it was badly or inaccurately written. Nothing notably wrong jumped out at me; and reading the acknowledgements at the end suggests that Morton did research this well.

I found this book gripping and a great read. Once I got past the size of the book I loved it and only have praise for it. I have loaned my copy to my Mum I enjoyed it so much and she too is currently enjoying it. Morton is a gripping writer. She wrote characters I liked, set the scene wonderfully and wrote a story I was interested in and wanted to know what happened. I can only give this the top rating. A superb book.


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The House at Riverton by Kate Morton



From the back of the book:

Summer 1924

On the eve of a glittering Society party, by the lake of a grand English country house, a young poet takes his life. The only witnesses, sisters Hannah and Emmeline Hartford, will never speak to each other again.

Winter 1999

Grace Bradley, 98, one-time housemaid of Riverton Manor, is visited by a young director making a film about the poet’s suicide. Ghosts awaken and memories, long-consigned to the dark reaches of Grace’s mind, begin to sneak back through the cracks. A shocking secret threatens to emerge; something history has forgotten but Grace never could.

Set as the war-shattered Edwardian summer surrenders to the decadent twenties, The House at Riverton is a thrilling mystery and a compelling love story.

This is a Richard and Judy book, although I didn’t realise when I bought it. I was drawn to it by its cover as I’ve not heard of Kate Morton before, which is hardly surprising as this is her debut novel

It tells the story of Hannah and Emmeline, two girls from a privileged background, and of a young housemaid at Riverton, Grace.

The story is told by Grace by use of flashbacks and these flashbacks are very neatly integrated into the story so you don’t even consciously notice it switching from present to past as it does it seamlessly.

The characters are very well written, and the author has researched life in a big house with many servants and writes convincingly. She references some of the books/TV programmes that inspired her in the back of the book. I was quite surprised to read that she is actually Australian – she obviously has a keen interest in UK history.

The story drew me in very quickly and kept me wanting to know more. The event at the party in summer 1924, mentioned in the ‘blurb’ doesn’t happen until very near the end of the book, and it kept me guessing right up to its conclusion.

All in all, it was a great story. I must confess to shedding a few tears towards the end!

I gave it 8½ out of 10

Reviewed by Janet

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