Monday, November 9, 2009

A Medley of Creepy Stuff

Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden reminded me of many things.

Wuthering Heights: The scope of its story takes place over multiple generations, and the high-spirited women of the family seem cursed as they seek happiness and love.

The Secret Garden: There's a fantastic walled garden, plus cousins--one sickly and one eager to drag the sick one out of the English manor and into the fresh air so they can share the garden. Frances Hodgson Burnett even has a brief cameo.

The Thirteen Tale: Twins, the gothic mood, creepy English manors, the suggestion of incest, etc.

The Lady in White: Secrets are revealed from multiple perspectives, although TFG's narrative bounces back and forth from 1913 to 1975 to 1913 to 2005 (and so on).

Dickens: Abandoned children and orphans are in the Dickensian vein, especially those trying to survive in Victorian slums whose only comfort comes from spinning terrifying tales about ghosts and Jack the Ripper. Also Dickensian are the cruel, low-class Mrs. Swindell and the vile Mr. Mansell.

Rebecca: The portraits are oppressive and haunting, and Lady Mountrachet pulls a Mrs. Danvers.

Jane Eyre: There's something about that old creep Linus and his withered leg, hiding in the darkroom with his stalker photos and living on the edge of insanity that recalls Mrs. Rochester.

The Faun and the Woodcutter's Daughter: A collection of fairy tales plays a central role in the story, and several of the tales are included in full in the book. TFatWD is just one of the better fairy tale collections that have a similar feel.

Everything I've read set in Cornwall: Because it's set primarily in Cornwall. (Although the bit set in Queensland puts me in mind of The Thornbirds.)

If you like all those things, especially in combination, you'll certainly enjoy The Forgotten Garden. I'll refrain from summarizing the plot and leave it as a pleasant secret to you readers. Although it felt a bit pulpy at times, there were many genuine and tender moments.

1 comment:

Jackamo said...

I knew you'd like it! I felt many of the similarities and reminders that you pointed out. This book made an excellent airplane trip for me recently.