Summer Reading

3:37 PM

I never seem to be reading the book of the moment in the moment.  If there is something popular right now, I'll get to it in the next year or two.  Somehow this works for me and allows me to avoid disappoint if something is overly hyped and doesn't live up to the expectation.  Remember the hubbub about The DaVinci Code?  Completely avoided it, and, ironically, I had an advance readers copy of that book.

I feel the same way about the book I'm currently in the middle of, Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden which was published back in 2008.  I had no preconceived notions when I picked it up, so I've been able to just enjoy the story.

On the night of her 21st birthday in 1930, Nell's father heartbreakingly tells her that she is not his biological child.  While working in an Australian port, he found her abandoned when she was 4-years old.  With his wife, he takes her in, and they raise her as their own beloved daughter along with their biological children.  When Nell learns of this secret, it changes her life making her distrust and question all she knows and what she thinks about herself.  The narrative jumps between Nell's story, her granddaughter, Cassandra's, unraveling of the tale, and the story of Nell's family and how she was transported from an estate in England to Australia.

The construction of the story and unraveling of the mystery reminds me of A.S. Byatt's Possession, a book that I absolutely loved when I read it the first time while I was in graduate school.  Morton's book has pieces also reminiscent of Jane Eyre, The Secret Garden, and Wuthering Heights.  For me, this is the best kind of summer reading: a big, thick, chunky book full of big English houses and secrets.


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