I love when I can find a book that I can’t stop thinking about, that I have to force myself to put down so I can sleep or do other productive things. The last time I found a book like that was when I read The Time Traveler’s Wife this summer. I actually bought Forgotten Garden after reading Time Traveler’s Wife, hoping to find the same addictive flavor. Either I was too consumed with wedding planning or the fact that I only read it before I went to bed, but I just couldn’t get into it.
It was one of the few books I took with me here to Miami, so I finally gave it another chance last week. I found where I had left off back in July, but realized that definitely too many months went by with me remembering practically nothing about what I read. So I began from the beginning, and after actually focusing my whole attention on the book, I was hooked.
Forgotten Garden alternates each chapter between three different time periods, three generations of women. This would make it hard to follow if you hadn’t been reading everyday with all of the stories fresh on your mind, but it was easy for me as this book soon became my obsession. This book is largely about a woman, Nell, who was adopted at a young age and seeks to find her real identity. She travels halfway across the world in order to do so, and the ending is a delightful surprise. The only real artifact from her past is a small suitcase she had with her as a child, which later provides clues to her real parents. Nell is left with this old book of fairy tales, some of which are actually written out and inserted in the book, which I loved reading!
The earliest story line begins in Victorian England, which has always seemed like such a romantic time to live even though I know most of the conditions were not so ideal. One of my favorite features of the book is the Victorian estate in England, which has elaborate gardens, caves, secret tunnels, a hidden cottage by the sea, and a maze.
Although The Forgotten Garden is an intimidating 549 pages, it will keep you captivated the whole way through, as all of the characters’ mysteries come to some kind of thrilling resolution at the end.