...or why books and tv rank higher than sleep

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Forgotten Garden

Morton, Kate. The Forgotten Garden: A Novel. New York: Washington Square Press, 2009. 560p ISBN 1416550542. $15.95

A young girl is adopted by a dock master after being abandoned on a ship bound for Australia in 1913. On her twenty-first birthday the same young woman learns she is not who she thoughts she was. Armed with a small suitcase containing a book of fairy tales written by a woman she remembers as The Authoress, Nell leaves her adopted family and embarks on an odyssey to discover her true identity. Upon Nell’s death, her granddaughter Cassandra discovers she has inherited a cottage in Cornwall she never knew existed. Cass sets off to England to finish Nell’s quest and solve the mystery of her family tree.

Morton skillfully weaves the story of three women separated by generations, leaving the reader on the edge of his/her seat trying to solve the mystery of who this four year old girl was that was abandoned on a ship, and why was she left behind. Morton’s novel combines Victorian sensibility, gothic intrigue, fairytales, and romance. For fans of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, there is a cameo by the author and more than a passing similarity to the tale.

At times the plot stumbles with too many extraneous details and unnecessary hints at possible incestuous relationships. The male characters are not as well crafted as the women, and the number of characters can be difficult to keep track of at times. The similarities to The Secret Garden left this reader wanting more originality. Morton’s second novel is an engrossing read that keeps the audience on a merry chase thinking they have discovered the answers but in fact they have not. Rating: 8.5/10

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New Beginning

So I've decided to try again with this blog thing and focus on book and entertainment reviews. And since it takes up so much of my day to day reading habits, I'm sure I'll be blogging about the every day life of a library/history student.

To start things off, I'm going to review The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Heretics-Daughter/Kathleen-Kent/e/9780316024495/?itm=1&USRI=heretic%27s+daughter

Sarah Carrier is a stubborn, willful daughter in 17th century Massachusetts struggling against her Mother and the world she lives in. She finds a new respect and appreciation for her Mother during the Salem witch hysteria. This is a true story told from the 10th generation descendant of Martha Carrier.

This is one of those books that I've picked up at the store, looked at, and put back a multiple number of times. When I was able to get an advanced reader copy at ALA midwinter, I figured it was a sign I should read the book. I'm glad I did.
I've read plenty of books about the Salem witch hysteria, and this book is a fresh perspective. Not only does it tell the story of a woman outside of Salem, but it is told from the perspective of her daughter. The story is not just about the hysteria; it's about the relationship between a mother and a daughter, it's about the bond of a family admist turmoil, and it's written by a descendant of the protagonist.