Travel the World in Books to Australia for The Forgotten Garden Readalong in June 2015. Discover the truth behind a prominent family with the help of a book of dark fairy tales and a secret garden.

The Forgotten Garden Discussion Questions ch 28-End

Travel the World in Books to Australia for The Forgotten Garden Readalong in June 2015. Discover the truth behind a prominent family with the help of a book of dark fairy tales and a secret garden.

Hello book lovers! If you are joining us for The Forgotten Garden Readalong, I hope you are enjoying the book. If you’re visiting our readalong for the first time, welcome! This month, Lost in Books,  Savvy Working Gal and I are happy to host a readalong of The Forgotten Garden as part of our Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge. This book was voted on by our Goodreads group for our Australia selection. Travel the World in books with us, it’s never to late to join our challenge and enjoy reading and learning about different countries and cultures. 

About The Forgotten Garden

A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a single book; a beautiful volume of fairy tales. She is taken in by the dockmaster and his wife and raised as their own. On her twenty-first birthday, they tell her the truth, and with her sense of self shattered and very little to go on, “Nell” sets out to trace her real identity. Her quest leads her to Blackhurst Manor on the Cornish coast and the secrets of the doomed Mountrachet family. But it is not until her granddaughter, Cassandra, takes up the search after Nell’s death that all the pieces of the puzzle are assembled. A spellbinding tale of mystery and self-discovery, The Forgotten Garden will take hold of your imagination and never let go.

WARNING: THIS DISCUSSION WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the ENTIRE book of The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton and don’t want spoilers, please come back to discuss when you are done . We also have a great discussion in our Goodreads group too.

Ok, here goes…

Story Recap


What a book! Most of my questions were answered in the end and I’m so thankful for that.  Cassandra doesn’t give up and eventually discovers the identity of Nell’s biological parents. What a difficult life these characters lead, the truth does not come easily and their lives are each tragic in their own way. 


My Thoughts:

I loved every page of this book. Morton’s writing was exquisite and kept me captivated, connected and curious as the characters tried to solve a century old mystery. Morton’s writing reminded me of J.K. Rowling (at least the Harry Potter series), where seemingly minute details told early in the story turned out to have great significance and provide clues to the ending. It’s books like these that get me excited to read, and as soon as I put it down, I can’t wait to find another that is just as good. 5 stars! 


Discussion Questions

1. If you could ask Kate Morton anything, what would you ask her? 

2. Who would you cast in the movie to play these characters? 

3. Were you surprised by the ending? What did you most enjoy about this book? What didn’t you like? 

4. Share some of your favorite quotes from this book.

5. Post some questions you’d like us all to answer. 

6. Do you think the Montrachet family is cursed as the townspeople believed?

The rest of the discussion questions are coming from the back of the book and the author’s website:

7. On the night of her twenty-first birthday, Nell’s father, Hugh, tells her a secret that shatters her sense of self. How important is a strong sense of identity to a person’s life? Was Hugh right to tell her about her past? How might Nell’s life have turned out differently had she not discovered the truth?

8. Is it possible to escape the past, or does one’s history always find a way to revisit the present?

9. Eliza, Nell and Cassandra all lose their birth mothers when they are still children. How are their lives affected differently by this loss? How might their lives have evolved had they not had this experience?

10. Is The Forgotten Garden a love story? If so, in what way/s?

11. Tragedy has been described as ‘the conflict between desire and possibility’. Following this definition, is The Forgotten Garden a tragedy? If so, in what way/s?

12. In what ways do Eliza’s fairy tales underline and develop other themes within the novel?


Join the Conversation on Goodreads

We’ll be posting the discussion on Goodreads too so be sure to join our groups there and connect with other book lovers who want to Travel the World in Books!


Don’t forget to mark your calendars to  join us on Twitter on July 8, 2015 from 9-10pm EST for  discussion of The Forgotten Garden. We will be using the #TraveltheWorldinBooks hashtag during the chat. We’re giving you an extra week to finish this chunkster before discussing it! 

The poll for the July readalong is open now and we’re heading to Latin/South America. Be sure to stop by and cast your vote in the Goodreads Group or leave it in the comments. The choices are: 

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley

This post linked up with The Book Nook At Create With Joy .

Well that’s it for this week’s discussion. Feel free to answer the discussion questions in the comments and on Goodreads! And please post your own questions you’d like us all to answer. Please join in the conversation to discuss this lovely mystery of a book!


  1. I do believe in telling someone their origins when they can handle and understand it, but waiting to bombshell the news to them is not right. I think we can escape our pasts if we are never told or never go looking for it. This would make a pretty cool movie, but I am not good at casting heh. I started to suspect the parentage but didn’t figure out that it was arranged that way. I don’t think I’ve heard tragedy defined that way before, that’ really something to think about. Great questions 🙂

  2. I won;t be able to join the July readalong – far too busy already, with too many books already lined up! But I am happy to vote (if that’s OK). I enjoyed both The Alchemist and Like Water for Chocolate – both great books. Love in the Time of Cholera has been on my TBR list for ages, but I think my #1 choice would be State of Wonder – heard great things about it. Wish I could join in, too! Maybe in the fall…


    2015 Big Book Summer Challenge

  3. I can see Julianne Moore as Eliza. I’m not sure on the others though I feel like Hugh Jackman should have a role. I was torn about Hugh telling Nell. In general I believe in honesty in those situations but maybe earlier or not at all? It’s hard to be for something that caused Nell such disastrous reactions. I think this was more a tragedy than a love story. It didn’t feel like love brought much happiness for any of the characters.

    1. Ooh, Hugh Jackman yes, perhaps he’d make a good Christian 🙂 I think Nell would have handled news better when she was younger and more open and forgiving. I agree that this story is very tragic. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us Katherine.

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