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Homecoming – Kate Morton

Homecoming – Kate Morton

I have read The Forgotten Garden and while I enjoyed it, I didn’t think I would read any more of her work. However, a friend (with similar tastes to me) recommended it, so I reserved it at Borrowbox and listened to the audio version.

Here’s the blurb …

Adelaide Hills, Christmas Eve, 1959: At the end of a scorching hot day, beside a creek on the grounds of the grand and mysterious mansion, a local delivery man makes a terrible discovery. A police investigation is called and the small town of Tambilla becomes embroiled in one of the most shocking and perplexing murder cases in the history of South Australia.

Sixty years later, Jess is a journalist in search of a story. Having lived and worked in London for almost twenty years, she now finds herself laid off from her full-time job and struggling to make ends meet. A phone call out of nowhere summons her back to Sydney, where her beloved grandmother, Nora, who raised Jess when her mother could not, has suffered a fall and been raced to the hospital.

Nora has always been a vibrant and strong presence: decisive, encouraging, young despite her years. When Jess visits her in the hospital, she is alarmed to find her grandmother frail and confused. It’s even more alarming to hear from Nora’s housekeeper that Nora had been distracted in the weeks before her accident and had fallen on the steps to the attic—the one place Jess was forbidden from playing in when she was small.

At loose ends in Nora’s house, Jess does some digging of her own. In Nora’s bedroom, she discovers a true crime book, chronicling the police investigation into a long-buried tragedy: the Turner Family Tragedy of Christmas Eve, 1959. It is only when Jess skims through the book that she finds a shocking connection between her own family and this once-infamous crime—a crime that has never been resolved satisfactorily. And for a journalist without a story, a cold case might be the best distraction she can find…

An epic novel that spans generations, Homecoming asks what we would do for those we love, and how we protect the lies we tell. It explores the power of motherhood, the corrosive effects of tightly held secrets, and the healing nature of truth. Above all, it is a beguiling and immensely satisfying novel from one of the finest writers working today.

This novel was fascinating and there were enough twists and turns to keep me interested. I enjoyed all of the various settings and the characters were well-written and sympathetic.

A review.

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The Forgotten Garden – Kate Morton

This month we’re reading The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. Selected because Kate Morgan went to the University of Queensland as did one of our book club members.

Here’s the stuff on the back …

A lost child
On the eve of the first world war, a little girl is found abandoned on a ship to Australia. A mysterious woman called the Authoress had promised to look after her – but the Authoress has disappeared without a trace.
A terrible secret
On the night of her twenty-first birthday, Nell O’Connor learns a secret that will change her life forever. Decades later, she embarks upon a search for the truth that leads her to the windswept Cornish coast and the strange and beautiful Blackhurst Manor, once owned by the aristocratic Mountrachet family.
A mysterious inheritance
On Nell’s death, her grand-daughter, Cassandra, comes into an unexpected inheritance. Cliff Cottage and its forgotten garden are notorious amongst the Cornish locals for the secrets they hold – secrets about the doomed Mountrachet family and their ward Eliza Makepeace, a writer of dark Victorian fairytales. It is here that Cassandra will finally uncover the truth about the family, and solve the century-old mystery of a little girl lost.

I found this story compelling. I wanted to know what happened to Nell, who were her parents. Ms Morton certainly knows how to write a ripping yarn. The novel is told from the point of view (chapter about) of many different characters; Cassandra, Nell, Eliza etc. Thus the novel also moves forwards and backwards in time – revealing more information (or more red herrings as the case may be). I can see this novel being made into movie (although the ending might not suit Hollywood).

I thought the characters were well written (if a bit cliched) and I do think they live beyond the page.

Overall I liked this book, but it is airport fiction (like Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code). However, I thought it was well researched with lots of seemingly disparate threads that came together in a suitable ending.

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