Fuerteventura 2009 - My Travel Read

The best book that I have read in a long, long time!

I have been reluctant to attend to a book since a while because my previous choices haven’t been very successful. After initial excitement the stories were fading into some pretentious lecture or spiritual conclusion - neither of which is my thing - leaving me with disappointment and the feeling of having wasted several hours of precious time.

Oh, how differently the yarn of ‘The Forgotten Garden’ is spun. Firstly the language: I am green of envy of the power of the words used, the imagery created to set the scene for the respective mood – so easy do dive into and to forget the world around me.

Secondly, the intertwined strands of the story, stretching along a century, unraveling a mystery the likes of Agatha Christie would be proud of. I learned a bit about writing in the past, and I understand that the use of several story lines is supposed to enhance the tension of a book. However, all too often I found them set in a confusing ways. While trying to adjust my mood and my mind to one, I tend to forget what happened in the other, constantly being forced to wreck my brain, to pay attention or to even read back.

Not so in ‘The Forgotten Garden’. The three main lines are starting off, beautifully told, like little streams emerging from their wells, side lines joining them bringing pieces of information and making them swell to bigger rivers, moving faster and faster and drawing them closer and closer together. One can already sense that they are just about to meet, when the one or the other is meandering a bit away, never to deceive the reader, but to take him/her on the journey to catch up with another piece of information needed to tie up a lose end.

None of the characters is ever made to behave out of personality only to make the story work - the story just works for itself and the characters are lovingly crafted. And thus the story maintains an even flow throughout until it reaches it’s climax when all the rivers meet in the calm delta of recognition that one had anticipated the solution of the riddle all along, while eagerly wanting to read on; firstly, to be proven right, secondly to enjoy the beautiful way the story is told and thirdly, to avoid the fear of possibly having missed a turn.

With other books, I all too often have been scanning rather then reading several pages containing descriptions of landscapes, costumes or characters, but never while reading ‘The Forgotten Garden’.

The third striking characteristic of this book is the fact that it is hard to allocate to a genre, which in other cases might concur into becoming an obstacle in regard to its success. Readers of historic novels might not necessarily like crime and none of them might like romance or spiritual inklings and so forth. In ‘The Forgotten Garden’ however, Kate Morton combines all of those beautifully with the historic setting used as a main stage since it determines the beginnings of the whole plot.

I personally like historic novels of all sorts and the insight into the slums of London around 1900 on one hand, and the aristocratic lifestyle on the other, is very telling and creating a tension that just makes sense; and from what little I know, it is brilliantly researched. In the same way the story lines are entwined and gathering speed and closeness to each other, all those genres get woven in, very gently and very unobtrusively.

I just love this book and I feel a bit lost now that I finished it. That is what makes a good book to me: The feeling of bidding a farewell to its characters, having gained them as friends along the way.

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Author: Rika