Washington Square Press
published in Australia in 2008
I really enjoyed this cleverly woven story of three generations of women. Set in Brisbane, Australia and Cornwall, England, it flips back and forth - quite flawlessly, actually - between the period from 1900 through 1913, to 1975, and then 2005. It is a mystery, with a cottage on a Cornwall cliff that contains a walled secret garden as one of the characters. It is also intertwined with the fairy tales written by Eliza, which adds another dimension to the rich story.
In 1913 Nell is abandoned on a ship that is making its way from London to Australia. Many years later, she tries to piece together the story, figure out who she is and where she came from. After she dies, her beloved granddaughter Cassandra picks up the pieces and continues the search, trying to figure out the mystery of which her grandmother had never spoken.
We meet Eliza, orphaned daughter of beautiful Georgianna, who left Blackhurst Manor to flee an obsessed brother and follow her heart. Georgianna's husband is a sailor, and when he is killed, she chooses to live in poverty in London with her twin daughter and son rather than return to Cornwall. The son tragically dies and Eliza is swept back to Blackhurst to "entertain" her sickly cousin, Rose. Years later the cottage on the cliff, connected by an intricate maze to the manor, becomes Eliza's. It sits empty for 60 years until it becomes Nell's, then another 30 until it becomes Cassandra's. And it is Cassandra that eventually unearths all of its secrets and works diligently to make it her new home.
I couldn't put this book down. Even though I had a pretty good idea of the outcome, it was nice to see all the extra, intricate pieces of the story fall into place. I very much enjoyed Kate Morton's writing, and will look to find the book she wrote a few years previously, The House at Riverton.
21 hours ago