Kate Morton is a stellar wordsmith and I am so impressed with how she spins a tale. If there were a picture next to "storyteller" in the dictionary, it would be of Kate Morton's face. It's always so delicious to find yourself in a novel that is a bonafide story, where the fibers of plot and syntax connect in such a way that you find yourself in awe of how the author was able to weave it all together so richly. Historical fiction, mystery, light fantasy, and tragedy are all bled together to create a spellbinding story.
Amazingly you don't even realize that you are in a mystery until you have already connected with the story, and then it is such a quality mystery that the outcome is not even able to be guessed at until the last fourth of the novel (and even then, it is still a watery guestimation).
I haven't felt this way about a story since I finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society last year. There is a special sensation that certain books give you; like you have stumbled into something remarkable and though part of you wants to tell everyone so that they can witness it too, the other half of you wants to keep it your own precious secret. These books did that for me.
So often throughout The Forgotten Garden I wondered how the author was able to articulate ideas that felt like my own. It takes not only work, but concentration, observance, and a generous amount of introspection to be able to translate those universal feelings onto the page (or in this case onto 549 pages) yet keep the ideas fresh. In the conclusion, Morton backstitches the threads of the piece in such a way that the reader steps back in admiration of the final product; I was taken until the very last punctuation mark. It will be my displeasure to return this to the library -- this is a title that deserves a place in my personal library, and I intend to secure a copy for future re-reading.
The Coconut Library