Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

This book is a mystery, written as a fairy tale. At the beginning, we are given a part of the story, and with every chapter we learn a few additional factors. There are some dark alleys, and maybe some red herrings.

Oh wait! Maybe it’s gothic; there is a huge mansion with a variety of unsavory rich folk and stereotypical kindly servants and a Cinderella-like relative and dark secrets lurking in the corridors.

A young woman researches her grandmother’s history to try to figure out who she was and what her story was. She had arrived in Australia, four years old, and alone in 1913. We go back and forth in time, and we see the story from many different eyes, each adding pieces to our puzzle.

The annoying thing about this mystery – to me, anyway, is that it seems to me that there are a lot of distracting tongue-in-cheek references to fairy tales which seem to imply that the story we are reading follows some kind of prototypical pattern. There is a real book of fairy tales involved, written by someone who seems to be related in some way to the young woman’s grandmother, but there are too many coy coincidences and too many interweavings for me; several times I just wanted to throw the book across the room in disgust.

I finished it, but it left me with a bad taste in my mouth. It was murky, and I never got the feeling that the author truly cared about her characters, but was playing some kind of intellectual game with the plot, and it just annoyed me.

February 4, 2011 Posted by | Books, Fiction | 2 Comments