Cassandra leaves her home in Australia to deal with the cottage that she has inherited from her beloved grandmother, Nell, in England. Still reeling from a tragic accident that happened a few years earlier, Cassandra feels like her entire life is being ripped apart. In England Cassandra discovers that along with the cliff-top cottage she has inherited, a hidden garden and a book of dark fairytales written by Eliza Makepeace Rutherford, a Victorian authoress who disappeared mysteriously in the early twentieth century.
Her curiosity intrigued Cassandra follows the threads to find out the truth about her grandmother’s family and their history.
I listened to the audiobook version of this book narrated by Caroline Lee. At just over 20 hours and 30 minutes long, this is a good, hefty audiobook that kept me entertained during my commute for a week. The narration is really well done and it’s admirable how well Caroline Lee manages to change accents and give each character defined voices.
Excerpt from The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
It was dark where she was crouched but the little girl did as she’d been told. The lady had said to wait, it wasn’t safe yet, they had to be as quiet as larder mice. It was a game, just like hide-and-seek.
From behind the wooden barrels the little girl listened. Made a picture in her mind the way Papa had taught her. Men, near and far, sailors she supposed, shouted to one another. Rough, loud voices, full of the sea and its salt. In the distance: bloated ships’ horns, tin whistles, splashing oars and, far above, grey gulls cawing, wings flattened to absorb the ripening sunlight.
The lady would be back, she’d said so, but the little girl hoped it would be soon. She’d been waiting a long time, so long that the sun had drifted across the sky and was now warming her knees through her new dress. She listened for the lady’s skirts, swishing against the wooden deck. Her heels clipping, hurrying, always hurrying, in a way the little girl’s own mamma never did. The little girl wondered, in the vague, unconcerned manner of much-loved children, where Mamma was. When she would be coming. And she wondered about the lady. She knew who she was, she’d heard Grandmamma talking about her. The lady was called the Authoress and she lived in the little cottage on the far side of the estate, beyond the maze. The little girl wasn’t supposed to know. She had been forbidden to play in the bramble maze. Mamma and Grandmamma had told her it was dangerous to go near the cliff. But sometimes, when no one was looking, she liked to do forbidden things.
Dust motes, hundreds of them, danced in the sliver of sunlight that had appeared between two barrels. The little girl smiled and the lady, the cliff, the maze, Mamma left her thoughts. She held out a finger, tried to catch a speck upon it. Laughed at the way the motes came so close before skirting away.