SPOILER ALERT – for this AND for The Light Between Oceans.
I really enjoyed this audio. At first, I was struck, struck hard, by the similarities of the ‘lost child’ concept in The Light Between Oceans. In that book, we have a baby girl in a boat washed up on shore of a remote island and rescued by a couple desperate to have a child. In The Forgotten Garden, we have a 4 year old girl alone on dock and adopted by the Harbor Master. Both stories are set in Australia.
DO KNOW: I knew absolutely nothing about this book, thinking it was maybe going to be like The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Maybe it is but I really didn’t see it (or I just don’t remember The Secret Garden.) I can blame Jenners for my reading this at this time – and Audible.com for putting it on sale. I recommend you read Jenners’ excellent review. She will give you a synopsis and lovely thoughts on how it all comes together.
That is really all of it, though. The books are very different in style and theme. The Forgotten Garden was much more of a mystery while TLbO was more ‘known’, exploring how people deal with choices.
As much as I enjoyed Morton’s tale and give it 4 slices of pie for entertainment, I believe Stedman’s the better book on ‘literary’ merits. Writing is solid.
The Forgotten Garden is creative and teasing. I had to know what was what and HOW it comes together. Clues are dropped, of course, and most loose ends tied up. But. I had a few issues, not that big but something nagged at me, every so slightly but not enough to ruin the experience. You can read Nymeth’s review of how much she wanted to like the book but for a few distracting phrases. I didn’t notice these odd descriptions and metaphors when I listened but when I read Nymeth’s review, I see that such might make one cringe. (Maybe, the audio is the way to go if you are on the fence about it.)
I was more questioning of things that just didn’t set right. And why it took forever to get to the GARDEN. I was wondering in the first half of the book if the author herself forgot the garden.
And crazy brother Linus was creepy but not fully developed and that actually is probably a GOOD thing. And why Nell was so rocked off her kilter and horrible to everyone after finding out her identity wasn’t what she thought. And Leslie was only needed as a device to get Cassandra dropped off with Nell. And the black ship; that was it?! And the oh-so-charming Christian with his abandoning his medical career? It didn’t ring entirely true but I was just as eager for Cass to have a little love and reason to stay in Cornwall. I expected more real magic rather than just relating the fairy tale magic.
All in all, though it was a fun crazy twisty ride and I enjoyed the audio very much. Probably should be a 3 slicer rather than a 4 and perhaps, The Light Between Oceans deserves a 5 slice rating but that’s ok.
I don’t want to rehash any ratings debates but will settle this at year’s end when I go through my top reads and see what stays strong and which books I can’t even recall what happened. Ratings are subjective and thus are, by definition, subject to warping. Like a puddin’ pie that won’t gel or turns to mush after a day or two.
Rumor has it that a readalong of Possession is in the works… I have been wanting to read that like, for-EVEH.