"The Forgotten Garden" was rather disappointing, as I was sure that I would love this book. Secrets, mystery, a hidden garden...these are ingredients that I love. Just not the most fortunate use for them in this plot.
For one thing, this book should have been half its length - so many and not particularly beautiful descriptions, detailed rendering of unimportant gestures and unnecessary talk. And the secrets were not really secrets, I could glimpse at several possibilities, one of which turned out to be true in the end. If the mystery were deeper, the writing more alert, it would have made a perfect easy read. I made sure to be a fast read though, as I couldn't waste too much time with this book, seeing that it didn't please me the way a good book should.
Some parts of the story are indeed catchy, the setting of Blackhurst estate is amazing (though I made little use of the map enclosed), but some of the characters and events are not quite believable. Nell, for one thing, behaved in a stupid manner; no matter the author's attempts to explain her behavior, I just couldn't relate to her choices. On top of that, I wasn't fond of any particular character in this novel, because they were not easy to like.
If you made a résumé of this book, the resulting story would be interesting enough, but the 500 pages are not worth the time spent in its company, if you're looking for a gripping, fast-paced novel.