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text 2017-10-23 21:12
Reading progress update: I've read 98 out of 530 pages. . . . and the ending
The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton

It wasn't a bad ending like The Thorn Birds, so I might actually have enjoyed reading the rest of the book.


BUT . . . if I can't get into the story and cheer for at least one character after almost 100 pages, why should I invest my time in another 430?


And there was something about the ending that didn't make sense, to the extent that it made me suspicious of how the author would have pulled it all together.


So I'm going to DNF

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text 2017-10-23 04:10
Reading progress update: I've read 98 out of 530 pages.
The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton

This is well on its way to being a DNF.  I've just reached the point where Cassandra is going to read the fairy tale on the airplane, and I'm like WTF?


(Shades of Marguerite Henry's Born to Trot.)


There are two things bothering me to the point of wanting to quit.


First, Cassandra is almost 40 years old, but she acts like a lovelorn teenager.  Something happened to her marriage, so she went back to live with her grandmother and sell antiques, and she forgot all about art history, yada yada.  Um, no.  Not believable. 


Second, and far more important -- I can't stand Nell.  I know she's already dead at this point, other than in the incessant flashbacks, but I still can't stand her.


I have several people in my real life who have had experiences somewhat similar to Nell's, in that they were raised by people not their natural birth parents.  With only one exception, they are grateful to have been raised with love.  They acknowledge what sacrifices were made by all parties, and they know that whether they know who their birth parents are or not, they are still complete and whole individuals. 


The one who is an exception remains bitter and resentful and not a very nice person.  I don't like him, and I don't like Nell, for the same reasons.


And when it comes to HEA endings, yes, damn it, I DO expect that the characters who have earned happiness get it.  I have enough "life's a bitch" in real life, and I'm not going to pay good money and spend hours of my time to get more of the same.


I'm skipping to the end of this book, and if it's another Thorn Birds, that's it.  I'm done. DNF, no stars.

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text 2017-10-22 22:38
Reading progress update: I've read 74 out of 530 pages.
The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton

I sincerely hope I'm not supposed to like Nell, because I don't like her at all.

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text 2017-10-22 20:57
Reading progress update: I've read 56 out of 530 pages.
The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton

This third person omniscient point of view distances me as the reader from the story.



I don't mind so much when it's a plot- or action-driven story.  But this is character-driven, and I'm just finding it so difficult to bond with these characters.  I want to bond with them.  I'm curious about them and about what's going on.  I feel as if Morton keeps pushing me away.


Years ago I read Eileen Goudge's Garden of Lies and I ended up coming very close to literally throwing the book against the wall at the end.  What a sucky ending!  I see now that there was a sequel, but I hated Garden of Lies so much that I never bothered to notice a sequel.  From what I've read about it, the second book was maybe just as bad.


Maybe my fear of encountering a similar "and some of them lived and some of them died, but the ones who lived didn't necessarily live happily ever after even if they deserved to" ending is holding me back and making me see picky details in The Forgotten Garden.  All I know is that if I'm stopping to post updates after only ten or so pages, the book isn't holding my attention.

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text 2017-10-22 18:51
Reading progress update: I've read 50 out of 530 pages.
The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton

As I wrote just a little while ago, I'm feeling uncomfortable with the flashbacks.  Being confronted with another, I now know why.


And since I'm only 50 (electronic) pages in, I'm not going to consider this a spoiler as such.


After the girl on the ship and the birthday party and the funeral, Morton jumps back to Cassandra's childhood.  That's where I was when I wrote that I wasn't feeling good about this.  Now, just a few pages later, the next chapter swings back again.


I had gotten in touch with the character of Cassandra.  I wanted to know what happened next, how her relationship with Nell developed.  I wanted a "this happened and then this happened and then this happened" sequence, moving forward with tension and interest building.


Instead, I feel as if Morton has said, "Aha!  I got you intrigued but now I'm going to play mind games with you.  Don't get too attached to that character because it's not her story as much as it's my story and I'm going to mess with you, manipulate you, control you."


It's that business of the writer pulling the reader into the story and making them believe they're sitting right there on the stage, all invisible, while the action goes on around them.  The reader is right there and sees and feels and smells and hears everything the same as the characters do.


Maybe this is a personal thing with me. Maybe I'm too empathetic, a fault of which I've been accused more than once.

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