January 2019 Book Club Discussion Questions: The Forgotten Garden By Kate Morton

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It’s time to review our January book club pick! Find out what everyone thought of The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton.

Welcome to our first ever Pingel Sisters book club discussion!!! Can you tell we are excited? Or should we add another exclamation point?

Hopefully, you are enjoying reading our January book club pick. I finished it earlier this month and am so glad we picked it. Don’t worry, it’s okay if you didn’t love it as much as I did.

Guess what. It’s time for our book club to begin ! Our discussion questions have been up for a a few weeks, so hopefully you had a chance to glance at them. If not, then you’ll just be coming at them with fresh eyes.

And the beauty of an online book club is that it doesn’t matter if you are free today. Come back anytime this week to add your input to our book club discussion questions.

Also, no need to dress up, or even get dressed, to join the conversation. Isn’t the internet a wonderful thing.

Excited to hear everyone’s thoughts!

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January 2019 Book Club Pick

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

The Forgotten Garden
by Kate Morton

Still reeling from the death of her beloved grandmother Nell, Cassandra is startled by an unexpected request her grandmother left her. Now Cassandra must rethink everything she thought she knew about her family history and piece together the truth of an abandoned girl, a book of fairy tales, and a forgotten garden. While she unlocks the mystery of her grandmother’s heritage, can she find herself in the process? Read more →

Discussion Rules

Let’s lay down some ground rule for our book club.

  1. You are not required to like the book.
  2. Keep it civil. Don’t attack other people’s opinions. We want discussion, not a shouting match.
  3. No profanity. Let’s keep it clean and family friendly.
  4. Engage with the other comments. We want to build a community of readers.
  5. Have fun!

Disclaimer: You are not required to leave an email address when you leave a comment. For more information on how we process your information and our comment policy, read our Disclosures.

The Forgotten Garden Discussion Questions

1. Did you like The Forgotten Garden? Why or Why not. Please be specific about what made you like it or dislike it.

I loved it! It was my first 5-star read of the year. I loved that Kate Morton had her overall mystery – how did Nell end up in Australia – but slowly revealed layer upon layer of small revelations to keep the book compelling.

2. The story jumps between 3 time periods – Eliza and Rose in the early 1900s, Nell’s trip to England in 1975 and Cassandra in 2005. How did you feel about the intertwining of the three lines? Did you feel they balanced well? Was one better written than the others?

When done right, intertwining story lines are a fun way of slowly revealing information. I felt that by far the most well-written story line was Eliza and Rose. Their story kept me coming back for more.

On the other hand, Nell’s trip felt a bit neglected in my mind. I would have loved a stronger grasp on her character – how she felt taking in Cassandra.

Lastly, Cassandra’s plot line tied up too neatly for my taste. It lacked enough depth and nuance.

3. Could you see Eliza and Rose realistically acting the way they did? Was it believable that a husband like Nathaniel would actually go along with their plan?

Part of me says no way. No way would Eliza give up a baby and then be okay being cast aside. However, her past history made her desperate need for Rose’s love actually feel possible she would give in. Contrarily, Rose’s desperation and selfishness throughout the book made her insane request feel realistic.

It’s Nathaniel, though, that gets me. How weak must he be? How could he not try to convince Rose that he loved her regardless. Or suggest adoption? Or show any kind of backbone? And then to let Eliza be treated as she was. What gall!!

4. One of the themes of the book is the sense of identity we derive from our family. Every character in some way lost that sense of their identity at some point in the novel. What other themes and motifs did you notice in the book?

I’ll leave the other themes to you and just expound on the sense of identity. Though will someone please share their thoughts on the bird that was always appearing in the garden!

I was particularly drawn in by how each character had to confront their sense of identity. For example, Eliza had to remake herself after Sammy died, and then again after Rose married. Her whole sense of identity seemed to be based on the people around her.

Similarly, Rose loses her sense of identity when she finds she can’t have children. Losing the image of “perfect wife” breaks her and causes such shocking and selfish choices.

Even Rose’s dad (whose name I can’t remember), has a break when he loses his identity as beloved older brother when he hears his sister is running away. He never seems to find it again, either.

Plus, the obvious answer of Nell, whose whole life changes when her father tells her the truth about her past.

Though, in all honesty, how can you not derive your sense of identity from those around you. “Mother,” “sister,” “daughter” are all parts of me that I cannot separate from the rest. Losing one would be such a shift to myself that I would have to become something else. Though, I guess how I cope with that loss would really reflect on who I am.

5. In the story, Nell almost completely shuts out her family when she finds out she was adopted. Her whole personality seems to shift. Do you feel this shift was necessary to the story and did it seem authentic or overly dramatic?

Though I felt Nell’s shift was necessary to the story and played into the theme of identity, I did fell it was over the top. That she would so completely pull away from a loving family just because she found out she was adopted seemed a bit much. In reality, I would have expected much more of an internal shift and growing conflict inside herself, but not such a dramatic external shift with her relations.

6. Our theme this year is to Read With Intention. What is something you got out of this book?

Reading this book, I couldn’t get over how much Nell changed around her family when she discovered she was a foundling. I know this is an overly dramatic fictional account, but it just reminded me how important it is to openly discuss adoption. Adoption should be something we celebrate.

Think of how differently Nell’s life would have been had she known from an early age about her past. She still would have gone searching, but she could have done it with her loving family there to support her.

7. It must be extremely difficult to write a book of more than 500 pages? Do you feel the length was justified, or do you think she could have shortened the story without losing any of the substance?

I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I read this book. The Rose and Eliza narrative keeps the story flowing and the small revelations throughout just make you want to read more. I will say I kept expecting something to come of the story line with the creepy uncle. I’m surprised she set it up so much not to use it.

8. How did The Forgotten Garden compare to other books by Kate Morton? Would you be willing to try another of her books?

Of all Kate Morton’s book I’ve read, I think this was my favorite. Eliza and Rose’s story completely drew me in, and the more I read the more I wanted to figure out how it would unwind.

Among her other books, I would say The Secret Keeper is my next favorite, followed by The Lake House. I just finished The Clockmaker’s Daughter last night, and I have to say, I didn’t care for it. Probably because I know how well she can write, so the story just didn’t measure up to her other books.

9. What’s another book you recommend to your fellow book club members after reading this book? Something with a similar genre, style, themes or plot.

Historical Fiction – The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. Similar story within a story framework, and an excellent read.

Family Themed – The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. Though this is not historical fiction, it shares the concept that we can’t understand our parents without knowing their history.

10. Research Question: What would you like to get most of this book club?

Feedback time. Each month, we’ll have a research question in an effort to hear from you. Since we’ve never done this before, a lot of our efforts will be trial and error, so we appreciate any input you might have.

View The Forgotten Garden Discussion Questions as a PDF

Agree? Disagree? We’d love to hear your thoughts on The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton!

Book Club Discussion Questions: The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton // Join the book Club! Come read along with the Pingel Sisters as we read The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

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113 Comments

  • Reply Rachael January 24, 2019 at 1:53 am

    1. Did you like The Forgotten Garden? Why or Why not. Please be specific about what made you like it or dislike it.

    • Reply Rachel @ Never Enough Novels January 24, 2019 at 1:25 pm

      Loved it too! This is classic Kate Morton with multiple story lines and unexpected connections. Despite the length, I felt like I flew through the book and enjoyed getting to know all of the characters.

      • Reply Christine Bullock January 25, 2019 at 7:14 am

        I loved the book. I am not quite finished reading it and really hate for it to end. I wasn’t crazy about
        Eliza’s stories being whole chapters in the book. I would rather have had more about the lives of the characters, especially Cassandra.

        • Reply Christine Bullock January 27, 2019 at 9:52 am

          I finished it and was sorry to see it end. I thought the ending was perfect for he story. I would to see a sequel telling the story of Cassandra and Christian.

        • Reply michelle polk January 27, 2019 at 2:36 pm

          I agree with you. I would rather have had a bit more story on the characters.

          • Christine Bullock January 28, 2019 at 9:00 am

            Thanks Michelle, I was afraid I would be the only one who felt this way.

    • Reply LindaKay January 24, 2019 at 5:48 pm

      I absolutely fell in love with this story! It reminded me of a classic favorite “The Secret Garden” with its intrigue and buried secrets.

      • Reply Anissa February 1, 2019 at 10:02 pm

        I felt the same. It reminded me of “The Secret Garden”

      • Reply Rachael February 2, 2019 at 12:34 pm

        I loved how she gave that nod to Frances Hodgson Burnett by including her in the story.

    • Reply Carla Hutley January 24, 2019 at 7:11 pm

      I loved it. I loved the story and the way it was written, switching between characters.

    • Reply Jacqueline January 24, 2019 at 9:43 pm

      I loved it! I haven’t had time recently to read so being able to read a long, good book to get me back in the swing of things was amazing! I read the book in 2 days! My favorite part of the book was the interchanging of the narratives. It was refreshing to get different point of views!

    • Reply Solera January 25, 2019 at 10:43 pm

      Besides the classic The Secret Garden, I have never read a book like this. I usually read spiritual or self-help books. I found that reading this book allowed me to reflect upon my own lives, and I feel that I learned more about myself through reading a fiction book like this than any other 10-step “feel better” book. It also felt like such a luxury to allow myself the time to read a fiction book instead of a “useful” book.

      The book itself was surprisingly easy to ready and follow. I found myself reading at home, reading on the train, reading everywhere. I finished it quite easily in two weeks with a steady pace, but not feeling rushed. The characters were lovable. My favorite is Eliza. I especially loved reading the fairy tales that Eliza wrote!

      • Reply Rachel @ Never Enough Novels January 26, 2019 at 3:33 pm

        I loved the fairy tales too! It amazes me that Kate Morton is able to switch into writing that type of story in the midst of writing a historical family drama!

      • Reply Rachael February 2, 2019 at 12:37 pm

        That’s the power of a good narrative. Eliza was my favorite, too. I felt she had the most challenges, so her character had the most depth.

    • Reply Tracey January 26, 2019 at 10:28 am

      I really enjoyed it. Some of my favorite books are those that have a story line that transpire over several decades.

    • Reply Kelly January 26, 2019 at 4:56 pm

      3 stars – The Forgotten Garden is a book I’ve been wanting to read for quite some time, so I was glad to see it as the January pick. Upon completing it, I had conflicted feelings about it. On the one hand, I enjoyed the storylines and how they tied together. On the other hand, it took me 200+ pages to get into and for me that’s just too long. I admired the characters and their stories, and Morton ties together the three stories effortlessly. I understand that historical fiction often takes time to develop properly, but through the first half of the book, I found myself avoiding reading, which is extremely rare for me.

      (Looks like I’m in the minority here – but really looking forward to the February pick!)

      • Reply Rachael February 2, 2019 at 12:39 pm

        You are perfectly free to not like the book. I don’t mind. I agree that the intro to the book was harder to get into than the later part.

    • Reply Anonymous January 29, 2019 at 6:43 pm

      I absolutely loved this book. I fell in love with the storyline, the characters and I especially liked Eliza’s fairy tales throughout the book.

    • Reply Anonymous February 20, 2019 at 3:42 am

      I really liked The Forgotten Garden. It had many stories to keep me interested. It had many mysteries to keep me reading. It had a family drama and love and mystery who wouldn’t love it?!

  • Reply Rachael January 24, 2019 at 1:53 am

    2. The story jumps between 3 time periods – Eliza and Rose in the early 1900s, Nell’s trip to England in 1975 and Cassandra in 2005. How did you feel about the intertwining of the three lines? Did you feel they balanced well? Was one better written than the others?

    • Reply LindaKay January 24, 2019 at 5:52 pm

      I thought the balance between time periods was very well done. The author did a good job of winding the stories around each other and keeping me on the age of my seat on how the mystery of these stories were intertwined.

      • Reply Christine Bullock January 25, 2019 at 7:17 am

        I thought the jump between time periods was easy to follow. I was anxious to learn the truth about the connection between Nell and Eliza.

    • Reply Carla Hutley January 24, 2019 at 7:16 pm

      I liked the style and felt they were balanced. It flowed well and was not confusing. I read Paula Hawkin’s Into the Water and she jumped between too many characters along with time periods and it was pretty confusing.

      • Reply Kelly January 26, 2019 at 4:58 pm

        Into the Water is on my list for 2019, but I’ve heard mixed reviews about it.

        • Reply Carla Hutley January 29, 2019 at 7:11 pm

          I liked Into the Water once I was able to remember who everyone was.

      • Reply Rachael February 2, 2019 at 12:41 pm

        I did not like Into the Water, either. I didn’t feel like the characters tied together well, and I just didn’t care about any of them.

    • Reply Solera January 25, 2019 at 10:44 pm

      Yes, I really loved reading the three periods, though sometimes I had a hard time keeping track. For the most part, I enjoyed the flow of this book. I loved how the author revealed each clue one chapter at a time.

    • Reply Tracey January 26, 2019 at 10:32 am

      I found that the that the three time periods and characters helped build the mystery. I found that I could ready Rose and Eliza’s chapters quicker.

    • Reply Kelly January 26, 2019 at 4:59 pm

      The intertwining of the three stories is one of my favourite parts of this book. Morton did a fantastic job at tying them together, and this way information is revealed slowly and across time periods.
      For me, Eliza’s storyline took up quite a lot more of the book than the other two, simply because there has to be a lot of back story. But for me there was too much back story, it dragged on too long.
      As for Nell, I wished I could have known more about her. Got inside her mind a little more to understand how she felt about the events that happened to her.

      • Reply Rachael February 2, 2019 at 12:42 pm

        I think Nell got the short end of the stick. She was used at the beginning to push the plot through, but it almost seemed like Morton forgot about her storyline.

    • Reply Jacky January 29, 2019 at 6:48 pm

      I didn’t mind that the story went through different time periods, I did feel it was well balanced. Although I would have to say that Eliza and Rose’s story was by far my favorite.

    • Reply Anonymous February 20, 2019 at 3:45 am

      I like when stories jump between time periods. But I felt like it didn’t do them justice. There was so much mystery that I bet each character could’ve had their own book. But for the purpose of this book and it’s length I believe that they did balance well.

  • Reply Rachael January 24, 2019 at 1:53 am

    3. Could you see Eliza and Rose realistically acting the way they did? Was it believable that a husband like Nathaniel would actually go along with their plan?

    • Reply Dana January 24, 2019 at 3:51 pm

      I was surprised at the plan. I imagine people being more private about sex and pregnancy at that time. It would have felt more realistic to me if Eliza and Nathaniel had carried on an affair, gotten pregnant, and then handed the baby off to Rose for whatever reason (guilt, shame, etc.)

      • Reply Christine Bullock January 25, 2019 at 7:20 am

        Although I haven’t finished reading the book, I had a feeling that this would happen. I wasn’t sure the exact story line but am not surprised. I will finish the book so I can see the whole story to the end.

      • Reply Tracey January 26, 2019 at 10:35 am

        Dana, I thought the exact same thing!! Especially in the part where Eliza feels there was a connection (during one of his visits to do the deed 😉 …..

      • Reply Rachael February 2, 2019 at 12:44 pm

        Yes, I would definitely believe this storyline more than what actually happened.

    • Reply LindaKay January 24, 2019 at 6:01 pm

      This is very plausible and is an example of a story that is old as time – the Bible story of Abraham and Sarah. The hunger and longing for a child can drive to people to do unexpected things.

    • Reply Carla Hutley January 24, 2019 at 7:19 pm

      I could see Eliza helping Rose by carrying a child for her because she loved her and was hoping to win her back. And I think the fact that Nathaniel was not an Aristocrat made him more likely to accept the situation. He didn’t have to worry about his position.

    • Reply Solera January 25, 2019 at 10:47 pm

      Yes, the whole baby thing was a bit shocking, but I can see how Eliza would agree to it. She wasn’t someone who particularly wanted to be a mother. Maybe it’s possible that one doesn’t realize that one wants and loves a child until it is born. So that part is understandable. Back then they don’t have “surrogate” mother, so Eliza served as that function. Men can have sex without their feelings being attached, so I can see why Nathaniel would go along with it originally.

    • Reply Kelly January 26, 2019 at 5:00 pm

      When it comes to love, it is surprising the things one person will do for another. What Eliza did for Rose was an act of pure undying love, because it definitely wouldn’t be something easy to do, but she knew how much it meant to Rose and Rose meant so much to her.
      I didn’t have a hard time believing Nathaniel would go along with the plan, simply because he didn’t seem happy in the marriage anyways. He didn’t see himself making Rose happy. I suspected from an early point in his entry into the story that something would go on between him and Eliza, I just didn’t suspect what. So it didn’t surprise me at all, I got the sense he was into Eliza more than his own wife.

      • Reply Rachael February 2, 2019 at 12:46 pm

        See, and I think that’s what gets me. He wasn’t happy in his marriage, so I wouldn’t see him doing anything for Rose. I would have seen his unhappiness as a trigger for an affair though. I just didn’t feel like he loved Rose enough to do anything for her, like Eliza did.

        • Reply Kelly E. February 2, 2019 at 3:05 pm

          Maybe he went along with the plan for his own benefit, to know he’d be connected to Eliza forever afterwards.

    • Reply Jacky January 29, 2019 at 6:54 pm

      I had a feeling that that was what the story was leading up to but I thought the same as some of the other readers; that Eliza and Nathaniel would have an affair. I could however see Eliza agreeing to make Rose happy or somehow give a part of her to Rose since she felt neglected once Nathaniel cane into the picture.

    • Reply Anonymous February 20, 2019 at 3:48 am

      I think because both Rose and Eliza were so lonely and desperate for love that I could see them
      Acting the way they did. I think because Nathaniel comes from a humble and poor background that he would go along with their plan in order to keep Rose and her mother happy. But I also think that having done so he would’ve fell in love with Eliza and they would have an affair and run away together.

  • Reply Rachael January 24, 2019 at 1:54 am

    4. One of the themes of the book is the sense of identity we derive from our family. Every character in some way lost that sense of their identity at some point in the novel. What other themes and motifs did you notice in the book?

    • Reply Carla Hutley January 24, 2019 at 7:21 pm

      Gardens and Nature are wonderful places to derive peace of mind. And position and wealth do not equal happiness.

      • Reply Christine Bullock January 25, 2019 at 7:29 am

        Many people want to know their family’s past regardless of our they perceive themselves. This gives a good explanation of the many avenues we can take to do that. Whether is through travel, talking to people who knew some of the old stories or just doing the research in libraries and courthouses. I think one of the themes that comes through the story is how we can find satisfaction in our own lives by learning how others handle adversity. Also we gain strength in know the truth.

    • Reply Solera January 25, 2019 at 10:51 pm

      The theme of identity is definitely the strongest, but I think it’s also about searching for the meaning of life. Each character, through their own loss, tried to find meaning in their lives again. Don’t we all try to find meaning everyday? At the end we all die, so it’s the process of living that we are trying to “figure out.” Most people don’t really figure out what the meaning of life is for them. I think it makes sense that in the end Eliza died because once her child was gone, there was no more meaning. Like Rose’s mother, once her daughter and her energy – Eliza, were gone, there was no more meaning. Nell found meaning through raising Cassandra in a way, though she could not figure out her own identity.

    • Reply Kelly January 26, 2019 at 5:02 pm

      Going back to the previous question, for me, one of the most powerful themes of this book is definitely love. And what people will do for love. Eliza gave up her child, and Nell gave up her future plans when Cassandra arrived all in the name of love and family.
      Also, for me the ability to overcome difficult circumstances and not letting them define as a person. This is true for Eliza, Nell and Cassandra.

    • Reply Anonymous February 20, 2019 at 3:57 am

      A common theme I noticed was that each of them had lost their mother. They didn’t care about wealth. They all (Georgianna, Eliza, Nell and Cassandra) all had tragic things happen to them.

  • Reply Rachael January 24, 2019 at 1:54 am

    5. In the story, Nell almost completely shuts out her family when she finds out she was adopted. Her whole personality seems to shift. Do you feel this shift was necessary to the story and did it seem authentic or overly dramatic?

    • Reply Rachel @ Never Enough Novels January 24, 2019 at 1:27 pm

      I have absolutely no real life experience with this (or even close friends who have experienced anything close to this), so it’s hard to say how realistic her reaction is. However, from a purely outsider’s standpoint, I found it a bit hard to believe that she shut out her family so completely. I would have expected that reaction initially, but assumed time would help heal the riff.

      • Reply Carla Hutley January 24, 2019 at 7:24 pm

        I felt it was authentic but not necessarily a reaction everyone would have. And I think it was unfortunate because Nell missed out on her Father’s love. She should have forgiven her family but still looked into her heritage.

        • Reply Solera January 25, 2019 at 11:04 pm

          I agree with you. The reaction was kind of unnecessary especially because her adopted parents and sisters loved her so much.

    • Reply LindaKay January 24, 2019 at 6:06 pm

      I find in real life people handle unexpected news, especially about their identity or what the thought to be true, very differently and some lock themselves away. On this story it seemed authentic adding to the intrigue and mystery of the story.

    • Reply Christine Bullock January 25, 2019 at 7:37 am

      I think this is a very realistic way for Eliza to behave. During this time period there was very little talk about adoption or babies being given away. I think it also depends on when a person learns about it. I have seen people accept it in different ways depending on their age. To me this was the key element of this story and would not have been nearly as interesting if it had been handled differently.

      • Reply Tracey January 26, 2019 at 10:40 am

        Yes!! I agree, during this time period family business was kept very quiet. I think it was typical for information to remain secretive.

    • Reply Solera January 25, 2019 at 10:54 pm

      Yes, I felt that the personality shift was a bit shocking, but then, I cannot personally relate. I imagine how I would feel if I find out that my family actually adopted me. Yes, I would feel confused and maybe hurt somehow, but my love for my family will always be there. In fact, I’d appreciate them even more for the love and care that they have shown to me. I would not shut myself out like Nell had done.

    • Reply Kelly January 26, 2019 at 5:04 pm

      I was surprised by this shift, and while probably necessary for the story, I found it odd. She likely felt betrayed and misunderstood, because her entire life would have felt like a lie, but that had nothing to do with her “sisters”. It was a choice her “father” made, so to take it out on them didn’t seem fair. But at the same time her whole life was flipped upside down, so withdrawing is something that makes sense, but for me it would have been an internal shift.

    • Reply Jacky January 29, 2019 at 8:01 pm

      In my opinion, Nell’s shift felt a bit dramatic. It seemed odd to me that anyone would shut out the family that chose to raise and love you as their own. I could understand if she might not have taken the news well from the beginning and somewhat come around to her family later on. However, I could see how Nell might have felt betrayed. It’s hard to say since I can’t relate to that sort of experience but everyone has their own way of coping with their feelings.

    • Reply Anonymous February 20, 2019 at 4:02 am

      I feel like she was overly dramatic, but then again I’ve haven’t had a shock like that So I don’t know how I would react. However I do feel like that shift needed to happen for the story to turn out the way It did.

  • Reply Rachael January 24, 2019 at 1:54 am

    6. Our theme this year is to Read With Intention. What is something you got out of this book?

    • Reply Carla Hutley January 24, 2019 at 7:27 pm

      Forgiveness is important for a happier life. Families are complicated and when we love someone we don’t always make the best decisions.

    • Reply Christine Bullock January 25, 2019 at 7:54 am

      This book reinforces to me my love of family and learning about our past. It is important to know what has brought us to our place in history and the world.

    • Reply Solera January 25, 2019 at 10:58 pm

      I think what I got out of it is that I am not my past. The characters showed me what I don’t want to do, which is to let the past drag on and on. I realize that the moment to live is NOW. I don’t need to continue to be upset over something that I perceived to be wrong so many years ago. I can choose to be happy and to choose my thoughts consciously. I understand that the characters’ consciousness is that who they are is attached to their past. I appreciate actually seeing the damaging result of that. Nell could have continued to have a wonderful family while searching for her original parents. But she chose to shut herself out. I just really appreciate seeing that through a fiction character. It makes me think that I don’t want to do that to myself ever.

      • Reply Jacky January 29, 2019 at 8:14 pm

        Yes, I completely agree with you. Sometimes people choose to dwell on the past and they don’t focus on the life that is in front of them at the moment. Life is beautiful and you can’t take it for granted, we have to be able appreciate everything that is around you and be eternally grateful for it.

      • Reply Rachael February 2, 2019 at 12:51 pm

        I love this. Yes, I think Nell is the perfect example of this. She assumed she couldn’t be a good mother because she was abandoned by her own mother – so she didn’t seem to try as hard as she would have with her daughter. But then when she has to raise Cassandra, she realizes that she is not her past, and there is no reason she can’t be a good mother.

    • Reply Kelly January 26, 2019 at 5:05 pm

      This may seem odd but something I took away from this book is the importance of family history. It made me want to know my family history and where my ancestors lived and what they did and went through.
      Secondly, I took away the message of overcoming difficult and trying circumstances to get to a better place, which seems to me the main theme of Cassandra’s storyline.

      • Reply Rachael February 2, 2019 at 12:52 pm

        I love researching my family history. It’s so addicting once you get into it.

    • Reply Anonymous February 20, 2019 at 4:12 am

      Something I got out of this book is that all families have secrets and that it sucks. Because of these secrets lives are turned upside down. Outcomes could be better if we were honest and would support each other. Something else I got out of this book is no ones family is perfect and just because you’re related to someone doesn’t mean you have to deal with them (Linus).

  • Reply Rachael January 24, 2019 at 1:55 am

    7. It must be extremely difficult to write a book of more than 500 pages? Do you feel the length was justified, or do you think she could have shortened the story without losing any of the substance?

    • Reply Dana January 24, 2019 at 3:42 pm

      I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the length of the book. I often get antsy in the 300-350 page range. I felt like parts of Cassandra’s past, particularly having to do with her husband and child, were kind of glossed over and just tossed in haphazardly when Morton was trying to explain her behavior. I would have preferred more on that story than the romance between Cassandra and the restorer, which to me felt a little contrived and forced, like the author wanted to check a box on including a romantic angle.

      • Reply Rachael February 2, 2019 at 12:53 pm

        I completely agree! But she spent so much time on Eliza and Rose that the Nell and Cassandra story lines had to be a bit neglected I guess. Else the book would have topped 800 pages.

    • Reply Carla Hutley January 24, 2019 at 7:29 pm

      I did not find the book too long. I was anxious to discover all the secrets but was sad when it was all over. There was a lot of story to tell.

    • Reply Christine Bullock January 25, 2019 at 7:41 am

      To me the longer the story the better especially when it continues to tell what happens to the characters. As I said in an earlier comment I didn’t think Eliza’s stories were necessary to the plot . I did enjoy reading them but if they were left out it wouldn’t have hurt the story line.

    • Reply Solera January 25, 2019 at 11:03 pm

      I agree with what the other reader Dana said about Cassandra’s story. It was just too short. Or, the author could have skipped that. I guess the author wanted to give Cassandra a “reason” to stay in the cottage. So, she had to make up a love story. But Cassandra could also choose to stay in England on her own.

      The length of the book is totally fine. It was a pleasure to read it, so I didn’t think it was that long. If I could get through all 4 books from Twilight, then I could definitely read this book, which has way way way better writing. I guess I can’t really compare them. Just saying.

    • Reply Tracey January 26, 2019 at 10:48 am

      I felt the 500 + pages were needed to let the story unfold. I never had the feeling of the story dragging on. I have read so many books where I become antsy for the suspense or mystery to be revealed. I really enjoyed this book.

    • Reply Kelly January 26, 2019 at 5:06 pm

      For me the book was a too long. There was too much back story and side stories that I don’t think were needed. That’s the part I found the hardest to get into. I think the book would have been fine without some of it.

      • Reply Rachael February 2, 2019 at 12:55 pm

        I definitely think she should have cut all the story about Rose’s father. He was super creepy, but that storyline never actually led anywhere.

    • Reply Jacky January 29, 2019 at 8:18 pm

      I enjoyed reading this book and didn’t feel that it was too long. I was sad to see it end.

    • Reply Anonymous February 20, 2019 at 4:14 am

      Actually I think the book needed more pages! Each character could’ve had their own book in my opinion. To shorten the book would mean she would details that I believe were needed in order to put the whole story together.

  • Reply Rachael January 24, 2019 at 1:55 am

    8. How did The Forgotten Garden compare to other books by Kate Morton? Would you be willing to try another of her books?

    • Reply Rachel @ Never Enough Novels January 24, 2019 at 1:28 pm

      My favorites are The House at Riverton and The Secret Keeper, but this is almost as enthralling. I should get around to rereading those two : )

      • Reply Carla Hutley January 24, 2019 at 7:32 pm

        I really enjoyed The House at Riverton, The Secret Keeper, not as much. The Forgotten Garden is my favorite so far. I just got The Clockmaker’s Daughter so will see if that changes.

      • Reply Rachael February 2, 2019 at 12:56 pm

        I think The House at Riverton will be the next one of hers I read.

    • Reply Dana January 24, 2019 at 3:45 pm

      This was my first time reading Morton. I am beginning The Clockmaker’s Daughter now, which was my library’s January book club pick. (I didn’t get it from the library in time to join the club meeting.)

    • Reply LindaKay January 24, 2019 at 5:55 pm

      I have read all of Kate Morton’s books and this was is still my all time favorite. The Secet Keeper was very good, too. I just read The Clockmakers Daughter and loved the haunting tale.

    • Reply Christine Bullock January 25, 2019 at 7:43 am

      This is the first Kate Morton I have read but I will definitely look for more based on what others have said about them.

    • Reply Solera January 25, 2019 at 11:11 pm

      This is my first book from Kate Morton. I would love to read her other books. I usually love to follow authors that I love. I am a loyal reader in general and would stick to the same authors. This is why I need a book club to branch out!!

    • Reply Kelly January 26, 2019 at 5:07 pm

      This was my first read from Kate Morton and although I have several others on my TBR, I’m not sure I’ll get to them anytime soon after reading this one. Maybe I’ll get to them someday, but for now I’ll stick to more fast-paced books.

    • Reply Jacky January 29, 2019 at 8:21 pm

      The only other book I’ve read from Kate Morton was The House at Riverton some time ago. I want to say that she also jumps around to different time periods but I can’t really remember too well. I remember enjoying the book and it reminding me of The Great Gatsby in some way.

    • Reply Martha Robles February 20, 2019 at 4:16 am

      This is the first book I read by Kate Morton but I’m definitely Interested in reading more now that i finished this one!

  • Reply Rachael January 24, 2019 at 1:55 am

    9. What’s another book you recommend to your fellow book club members after reading this book? Something with a similar genre, style, themes or plot.

    • Reply LindaKay January 24, 2019 at 6:10 pm

      Anything by Lucinda Riley or Susanna Kearsley. I recently read Susanna Kearsley ‘s “Bellwether” and highly recommend it.

    • Reply Carla Hutley January 24, 2019 at 7:35 pm

      All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer It has a similar style, told from the point of view of two characters and flipped between time periods, although was set during World War II.

    • Reply Tracey January 26, 2019 at 10:58 am

      Saraha’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. The story takes place in Paris, July 1942, when a young Jewish girl and her family are arrested in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup. 60 years later in 2002, a journalist is asked to write an article about that dark day in France’s history. From there, the story unfolds to a story that has, to this day, been my favorite book.

    • Reply Kelly January 26, 2019 at 5:08 pm

      I’ll leave this question to others who really loved the book. I can imagine that many would recommend other Kate Morton books.

      I absolutely loved Sarah’s Key though, and would definitely recommend it.

    • Reply Jacky January 29, 2019 at 8:46 pm

      I recently read The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill. The story follows two orphans lives through the Great Depression in Montreal. It was a dark and a bit twisted but I really liked how the author wrote.

    • Reply Martha Robles February 20, 2019 at 4:23 am

      I recommend any book by Mitch Albom. I love all his books. I don’t think they have similar genres, style, themes or plots but they’re good!

  • Reply Rachael January 24, 2019 at 1:55 am

    10. Research Question: What would you like to get most of this book club?

    • Reply Rachel @ Never Enough Novels January 24, 2019 at 1:29 pm

      I’m not a part of any real life book clubs, so I’m looking forward to discussing specific questions with fellow readers! It’s neat to go more in depth than just whether or not I liked a book.

      • Reply Tracey January 26, 2019 at 11:01 am

        This is my first book club. I have always wanted to join one, or start one. All of my friends are readers, just never have time. I can’t wait to get reading recommendations from other members!!

    • Reply LindaKay January 24, 2019 at 6:13 pm

      Looking forward to discussing other readers thoughts on selections for this club. I don’t often get to interact with other readers and so excited about this opportunity.

    • Reply Christine Bullock January 25, 2019 at 7:49 am

      I am always looking for new authors to read and appreciate hearing about them from other readers. This is an opportunity for me to meet and chat with others who have the same love of books that I have. I love to share books I find with others and I am not a member of any other Book Club so this is perfect for me.

    • Reply Solera January 25, 2019 at 11:14 pm

      Yes, I don’t join real-life book clubs. I found your January challenge list on Pinterest. I am so glad to do this with other readers! Doing the discussion makes me appreciate the reading even more.

    • Reply Kelly January 26, 2019 at 5:09 pm

      So a year ago today, a year and half away from my 30th birthday, I was inspired by a blogger to create a 30 Before 30 list. You guessed it, joining a book club was one of the items on my list!!
      I originally thought it would be an offline, in-person, book club, but living in a small town bookclubs are few and far between. In December, I stumbled upon your 2019 Reading Challenge on Pinterest and thought I should give it a go. When I investigated further, I found the bookclub, and it’s as if it was meant to be! For me it was perfect timing and I am able to tick one more thing off my list.
      All that being said, I’ve wanted to join a book club, because books are and have always been a huge part of my life. I’m an introvert and books are my entertainment. I don’t have many people in my social circle who read (other than my mom) and so I don’t have anyone to discuss books with, or recommend books to. For awhile, I’ve wanted to find a community whom feel the same way about books as I do, and be able to share and discuss them. I’m hoping to find that here. To learn things from others, to appreciate others opinions and discuss freely without being judged.
      So I look forward to getting to know others who are participating and sharing our love of books. So Thank You for having this wonderful idea and giving it a go, I’m glad to be along for the ride. Happy reading!

      • Reply Christine Bullock January 27, 2019 at 9:50 am

        Kelly,
        Although I am many years past my thirties, I know exactly what you mean about a small social circle and few people to discuss books with. My daughters both read but do not live close by. We will tell each other about a special book when we find one but that is about it. I would have a hard time expressing myself in front of a group but online is much easier for me. I am so happy I found the ladies and their book blog, book challenge and most of all the book club. I hope to make some friends though this opportunity

      • Reply Tracey January 27, 2019 at 2:44 pm

        Kelly,

        Same for everything you said about having a small social circle and being an introvert. I am a bit older than you but look forward to building an online connection over a good book.

    • Reply Jacky January 29, 2019 at 8:52 pm

      I have always wanted to join a book club but with work, and two young active boys I find it almost impossible to read or do anything for myself. This year I decided I was going to take the time to read, even if it means just one book a month (for me that’s progress). I look forward to interacting with others and seeing books from a different perspective 🙂

    • Reply Martha Robles February 20, 2019 at 4:21 am

      Although I LOVE to read this is my first book club! I’ve always wanted to join one so I’m super excited even though I’m way behind! What I want to get out of joining is recommendations for good books, new authors, and the different views people have on books!

  • Reply Carla Hutley January 24, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    Love discussing what I read and seeing what everyone else thinks.

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