My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A big, fat, delicious novel. Although I’m giving them both four stars, I think this was a stronger book than The House at Riverton, or perhaps I was just more attached to this set of characters and places. Three story lines, ranging from the present to the early 20th century, are tied together to create a suspenseful story of a family over several generations. While some of the twists aren’t too difficult to guess, if you like to do that sort of thing, half the fun is finding out if you’re right and the other half is seeing which unanticipated twists Morton will throw in. The characters were vivid, wounded and flawed in interesting ways that felt more Gothic than depressing – I suppose the story could be described as a combination of Daphne du Maurier and The Secret Garden (although it was strangely jarring to find Frances Hodgson Burnett put in an appearance in the story). The places are often as vivid as the characters, whether it’s the garden and cottage, Nell’s home in Australia, or a flat in London. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a big, old-fashioned novel to sink into.
Thanks for Babelbabe for turning me on to Kate Morton – I’ll definitely pick up anything else she writes!