Sunday, July 22, 2012

Family Secrets and Fairytales

The Forgotten GardenThe Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 1/2 stars (spoiler-free review)

I am a great lover of readable historical fiction, and I also love grown-up fairytales. The Forgotten Garden has so many elements that make it lighter than its 547 pages would suggest. There are fairytales woven throughout the book, beautifully written scenes and settings, shifts in time and place, and family secrets revealed. Yet more secrets and things that have been "forgotten" reveal themselves as well.

Morton's writing is deft, with characters who aren't entirely good or evil; although I wanted to unravel the protagonists' stories from each of the time periods, I didn't find myself skipping over the antagonists' narratives. Each character is interesting and you can imagine that they have a backstory, and have not been created simply to wind a plot around.

The Forgotten Garden manages to be atmospheric, intelligent, and intimate, with the shadow of a family mystery thrumming at its heart.

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