The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A writer friend of mine recently blogged about how she doesn't do epic stories. I found her post and the comments to be quite interesting. Most people didn't seem to be a big fan of epic novels, which I could relate to. It's not that I mind a long novel. If the content is interesting, bring it on. But, I struggle when it takes a long time to get to the point. Perhaps this is because I'm not patient. My time is valuable, so if there's too much jumping around, mingled with lots of characters and details that aren't seeming to connect, I've been known to throw in the towel and give something else a try.
"The Forgotten Garden" isn't one of the fast moving stories that I typically favor. It took nearly half of the 549 pages before the book became something I was really into.
Why did I stick things out for so long? Well, a friend read this awhile back and really liked it. I was curious to understand what drew her in. Also, the author gave just enough information in all of the jumping around between time and characters that I wanted to find out how the mystery was solved.
When Nell turns 21 her father tells her a secret that he's been withholding from her. When she was 4 he found her alone on the dock where he worked, and no one came for her. She hadn't known who she was or where her family was, so he and his wife raised her as their own.
Nell spent the rest of her life wondering who her real parents were, and why they would have abandoned her. She did some searching, but due to circumstances beyond her control, she wasn't able to solve the mystery before she died.
Nell's granddaughter, Cassandra, learns of the mystery upon Nell's death, and takes it up.
The story jumps around from the early 1900s to 2005 (back and forth and in between). The point of view jumps around between Nell, Cassandra, and the several relatives that are discovered as part of the mystery.
The jumping around and some of the fantastical aspects of the story reminded me of a soap opera. You get hooked, but it takes forever for any type of resolution.