The Interlopers


Working in a library has several thousand perks, i.e., all the news about new and future book publication coming under our noses. Not to mention the brand new books themselves, upon which we may put holds and read before the general public.

I used my SUPER POWER to put Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden on hold as soon as I read a review of it.

Check this out:

Amazon Best of the Month, April 2009: Like Frances Hodgson Burnett's beloved classic The Secret Garden, Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden takes root in your imagination and grows into something enchanting–from a little girl with no memories left alone on a ship to Australia, to a fog-soaked London river bend where orphans comfort themselves with stories of Jack the Ripper, to a Cornish sea heaving against wind-whipped cliffs, crowned by an airless manor house where an overgrown hedge maze ends in the walled garden of a cottage left to rot. This hidden bit of earth revives barren hearts, while the mysterious Authoress's fairy tales (every bit as magical and sinister as Grimm's) whisper truths and ignite the imaginary lives of children. As Morton draws you through a thicket of secrets that spans generations, her story could cross into fairy tale territory if her characters weren't clothed in such complex flesh, their judgment blurred by the heady stench of emotions (envy, lust, pride, love) that furtively flourished in the glasshouse of Edwardian society. While most ache for a spotless mind's eternal sunshine, the Authoress meets the past as "a cruel mistress with whom we must all learn to dance," and her stories gift children with this vital muscle memory. —Mari Malcolm


Considering it has a waiting list, and is overdue from the library, I pushed aside a pile of review books to read a few pages and see how good it actually was. The cover review, and all the other reviews I read, made it sound like the best thing written since Dickens' untimely passing. But you know how those darned reviewers are, how they tend to exaggerate and such.

Intending to read a chapter at most, I didn't come up for air until sometime around page 100. Ye gods, this is a GOODIE. If you enjoy these thick, richly layered books, edged with a bit of semi-gothic mystery, at least one orphan and a few fairy tales stuck in for good measure, you will love this book. Love, love, love. It's all you need.

I've pushed aside everything else I'm reading. Very bad of me, I know, but then again quite responsible, as the book has so many other people patiently waiting for this greedy almost-librarian to hurry up and finish it, already.


Oh, but did I mention this one, too? How remiss of me. It likewise jumped the queue, the cheeky thing, after I read this:

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Leigh follows her internationally acclaimed The Hunter with a haunting family drama tightly packed into a tense novella. Olivia, referred to primarily (and somewhat affectedly) as the woman, has fled her abusive husband with her two sharp-tongued young children. She seeks refuge at her mother's chateau in France, which she left on bad terms to get married 12 years earlier. Soon after Olivia's unexpected arrival, her brother shows up with his wife, Sophie, and the body of their stillborn child. Although the plot feels a bit slight, there is great emotional weight and disturbing imagery, as Sophie wanders aimlessly, still wearing her hospital ID bracelet and carrying her lifeless daughter in her arms as if the baby were a doll. The chateau is an ideal gothic setting for the morbid events that occur over the course of several days; indeed, there is only one scene that takes place off the chateau's grounds, infusing the novel with an unsettling atmosphere of claustrophobia. Death and impending death reign, but Leigh also paints a subtle portrait of a broken family trying to piece itself back together. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

By the way, the body of the baby must be stored in the freezer at night, for obvious reasons. It's left in there on a little pink blanket and satin pillow.

And … No, can't tell you that. It would be a huge spoiler.

It's a tiny book. A novella really. I'm planning to re-read it to determine if the disturbing thing I think happened really did. It's a bit vague that way, but chilling nonetheless.

Yours in reading heaven,


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