From the #1 internationally bestselling author of The House at Riverton, a novel that takes the reader on an unforgettable journey through generations and across continents as two women try to uncover their family’s secret past.
A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a single book—a beautiful volume of fairy tales. She is taken in by the dockmaster and his wife and raised as their own. On her twenty-fi rst birthday, they tell her the truth, and with her sense of self shattered and very little to go on, "Nell" sets out to trace her real identity. Her quest leads her to Blackhurst Manor on the Cornish coast and the secrets of the doomed Mountrachet family. But it is not until her granddaughter, Cassandra, takes up the search after Nell’s death that all the pieces of the puzzle are assembled. A spellbinding tale of mystery and self-discovery, The Forgotten Garden will take hold of your imagination and never let go.
These discussion questions forThe Forgotten Gardenby Kate Morton are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
1. On the night of Nell’s twenty-first birthday, her father Hugh tells her a secret that shatters her sense of self. How important is a strong sense of identity to a person’s life? Was Hugh right to tell her about her past? How might Nell’s life have turned out differently had she not discovered the truth?
2. Did Hugh and Lil make the right decision when they kept Nell?
3. How might Nell’s choice of occupation have been related to her fractured identity?
4. Is it possible to escape the past, or does one’s history always find a way to revisit the present?
5. Eliza, Nell and Cassandra all lose their birth mothers when they are still children. How are their lives affected differently by this loss? How might their lives have evolved had they not had this experience?
6. Nell believes that she comes from a tradition of “bad mothers.” Does this belief become a self-fulfilling prophecy? How does Nell’s relationship with her granddaughter, Cassandra, allow her to revisit this perception of herself as a “bad mother”?
7. Is The Forgotten Garden a love story? If so, in what way/s?
8. Tragedy has been described as “the conflict between desire and possibility.” Following this definition, is The Forgotten Garden a tragedy? If so, in what way/s?
9. In what ways do Eliza’s fairy tales underline and develop other themes within the novel?
10. In what ways do the settings in The Forgotten Garden represent or reflect the character’s experiences?
Kate Morton is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of The House at Riverton, The Forgotten Garden, The Distant Hours, The Secret Keeper, The Lake House, and The Clockmaker’s Daughter. Her books are published in 34 languages and have been #1 bestsellers worldwide. She is a native Australian, holds degrees in dramatic art and English literature. She lives with her family in London and Australia.