kate morton

365 Challenge: Day 182 – Authors (My Top 10)

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Authors: Writers of books that are in my top 10 list

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Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, organized by groups of five (5) focused on interesting things about my life. I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me.

  • Weeks 1 – 5: My Ethnicity
  • Weeks 6 – 10: A to Z Favorites
  • Weeks 11 – 15: Meaningful Colors
  • Weeks 16 – 20: Cities I’ve lived
  • Weeks 21 – 25: Jobs I’ve held

The next set of 5 Sundays covers the “Top 10” of entertainment options that I spend my time thinking about or doing: Authors/Books I Read (Week 26), TV Shows I Watch (Week 27), Countries to Visit (Week 28), Foods to Cook (Week 29), and Places to Spend Time (Week 30). It’s a bit of an unwieldy set of similar items, but these are five leisure activities where I spend a majority of my time, which clearly speak volumes about who I am and how I like to keep myself occupied.

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First up is a list of my ten favorite authors, chosen based on each having a number of books I have read or want to keep reading. Often in my favorite genres (mystery fiction, historical fiction or suspense/thriller fiction), you will likely see a pattern. I only selected authors under the following conditions: (1) I’ve read at least 2 of their books, (2) They have more coming out or already out that I desperately want to read, (3) I could re-read some of their books and still get something new from them each time, and (4) one or more of their books have been adapted to film or TV, which I have seen and loved.

It was tough to narrow down to only ten, and sometimes I questioned whether I just enjoyed the author’s novels or I truly felt I could read them at anytime. If I hesitated, I tossed them to the next level, which means this is a list of people who while I might not love 100% of everything they do, I can always settle into a comfy chair with a cup of coffee and a few hours in the world they’ve created (just for me, I know they had me and me alone in mind when writing the words!). These ten are in no specific order!

  • Agatha Christie
    • All the mystery and suspense I need to keep me highly interested
    • Favorite: And Then There Were None
  • Ken Follett
    • The storytelling is top-notch, I can feel all the connections between time periods and characters
    • Favorite: World Without End
  • Kate Morton
    • Amazing and brilliant descriptions, ability to transport you to a different setting
    • Favorite: The Forgotten Garden* (not yet a film, but I see it in my head already)
  • Dan Brown
    • Unbelievable suspense, so many weaving plots, rich depth of plot and setting
    • Favorite: Angels and Demons
  • Henry James
    • Lyrical language capable of truly making you think about who you are and why you choose to do the things you do
    • Favorite: Daisy Miller
  • J. K. Rowling
    • A world of magic like no other, I can read these over and over again with utter joy, even as an adult
    • Favorite: The Philosopher’s Stone
  • Edgar Allan Poe
    • I am a huge lover of Gothic and dark literature when done properly
    • Favorite: The Tell-Tale Heart
  • William Shakespeare
    • The ability to strike a balance between plot and character, where you simply get lost in everything he has to deliver
    • Favorite: Othello
  • Janet Evanovich
    • A bit of mystery, romance and humor, the only series I find myself laughing aloud consistently
    • Favorite: Eleven on Top
  • Philippa Gregory
    • I adore British history and lineage of all the kings and queens, plus her ability to present historical fiction in such a beautiful manner captivates my attention
    • Favorite: The White Queen

 

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What are your favorite books? Who are your must-read authors? What’s your favorite activity to keep occupied when you have free time to spare?

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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TAG: Dreamy Book Covers

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Many thanks to The Orangutan Library for tagging me on this cool Dreamy Book Covers tag. You must check out the site, as it’s absolutely fantastic. It was even one of my 365 Daily Challenge Recommended Bloggers to Know last week. If you missed in then, here’s your second opportunity / reminder to find a great blog to follow!!!

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RULES:

  • Thank the person who tagged you.
  • Mention the creator of this tag (Tiana @ The Book Raven)
  • Use the original tag image in your post.
  • At least tag one fellow blogger for doing this tag!
  • List the rules.

 

TAG QUESTIONS:

  1. ‘No Ideas But in Things’ A book cover that perfectly expresses the novel inside it.
  • It all takes place on a beach. And the ocean is essential to almost everyone in the story.

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  1. ‘Dark and Lovely’ –A cover that is so creepilicious, that you want to eat it up.
  • Those trees are gonna get you if you don’t get outta there.

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  1. ‘Sugary Sweet’- A CUTE cover that is so fluffy, you want to give it a hug.
  • I went literal — cupcakes are to DIE for.

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  1. ‘The Simple Aesthetic’ – A book cover that stuns with the most minimalist of designs.
  • Simple. Orange and block lettering. Yet powerful.

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  1. ‘Cover Envy’ –A book you wish you had on your shelves, but don’t yet.
  • I am a big Kate Morton fan, and I need to buy this book.

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  1. “Traveling Abroad” –A beautiful book cover featuring a country outside of your own.
  • The Romanov family of Russia was absolutely beautiful, but what happened to them was not.

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  1. ‘The Colour Wheel’ A cover that showcases one of your favourite colours.
  • Black, even tho many argue it’s not a color!

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  1. ‘Changing Gears’ –A cover change you absolutely adore.
  • One of my favorite books! Went from cool to absolutely mysterious and dark!

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(OLD)                                                 (NEW)

  1. ‘Oldie but Goodie’ A favourite cover of your favourite classic
  • I absolutely adore this book — one of my all-time favorites

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  1. And the winner is-Which book cover mentioned above is your favourite.
  • World Without End… always will be!

 

TAG TIME:

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

TAG: Ruler of the Books

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I want to thank PoojaG at Lifesfinewhine for nominating me for this cool tag. Please check out the site, as how often can you say you’re chatting with someone in Kenya?

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WHAT BOOK WOULD YOU MAKE EVERYONE READ?

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The Philosopher’s Apprentice by James Morrow — at least the first section (about a third of the book). It has so much to say about life, it really changed the way I thought about things… and it’s fiction. I love the rest of the book, too, but the first third is amazing.

 

WHAT WOULD YOU ABOLISH IN BOOK CONSTRUCTION?

None. I believe in free speech and do not agree with banning or destroying books. I might give something a really bad recommendation, but it is still someone’s opinion or thoughts. For example, anything Hitler used to guide his beliefs is not something I would want anyone to read unless they were learning more about the horrific behavior he exhibited. But if someone read it to learn how to be a racist, then there is a problem.

 

WHAT AUTHOR WOULD YOU COMMISSION TO WRITE YOU ANY BOOK?

Kate Morton. I think she can tell my life story in a wonderful way. Possibly Ken Follett, but he uses a lot of words sometimes!

 

WHAT BOOK WOULD YOU DEMOTE TO THE LIBRARY BASEMENT TO MAKE ROOM FOR NEW BOOK?

The White Bone by Barbara Gowdy. Stay away!

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WHAT COVER ARTIST WOULD YOU COMMISSION TO MAKE A MURAL?

To be honest, I am not familiar with this side of publishing, so I couldn’t be sure unless I did some research. I tend to like the covers of Follett’s books.

 

WHAT CHARACTER’S FACE WOULD YOU PUT ON A COIN?

Harry Potter. We’d all smile just a little bit more, wouldn’t we?

 

WHAT BOOK WOULD YOU AWARD THE “RULER OF BOOKS” 2016 PRIZE TO?

Of the books I read, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child seemed to be the most sought after before it was published

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Of the books I read, The Nest got the most votes.

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I disagree with both, but I can’t find another one more popular published in 2016 that I read in 2016.

 

My Nominees Are:

 

About Me

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. Once you hit my site “ThisIsMyTruthNow” at https://thisismytruthnow.com, you can join the fun and see my blog and various site content. You’ll find book reviews, published and in-progress fiction, TV/Film reviews, favorite vacation spots and my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge.” Since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life… see how you compare! Each month, I will post a summary of a trip I’ve taken somewhere in the world. I’ll cover the transportation, hotel, restaurants, activities, who, what, when, where and why… and let you decide for yourself if it’s a trip worth taking. Feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Tell me what you think.

TAG: Mid-Year Freakout Book

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Thanks to Steph @ LostPurpleQuill for tagging me! What a cool way to celebrate the middle of the year in our book challenges. I appreciate it. And to any readers on my blog, please go check out Steph’s blog. She posts regularly and has great things to say, also poetry, photography, and fantastic book reviews.


1 – THE BEST BOOK YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2017

You by Caroline Kepnes. It was a fantastic surprise with its different perspective, how it drew me in and the eerie sensation of rooting for the stalker. I must read the sequel this summer.

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2 – YOUR FAVORITE SEQUEL THIS YEAR

It’s not a sequel, but the third book in a series that I love. I cannot wait until Ken Follett releases A Column of Fire, part of the “Pillars of the Earth” historical fiction series. I love the characters and the plot so much.

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3 – A NEW RELEASE THAT YOU HAVEN’T READ BUT REALLY WANT TO

I want to read Paula Hawkins’ Into the Water, but the reviews are mixed. I put it on this summer’s Book Bucket list. If you’re not sure what that is, click to find out.

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4 – MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR

Dan Brown’s Origin. I would have picked Ken Follett’s book, but I already chose that above. Many folks don’t care for Brown, but I love this series. Can’t wait to see the complexity he brings in this plot.

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5 – YOUR BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

Lisa See’s Peony in Love. I really thought the description on the book cover would be a beautiful tale with lots of emotional heartache and connection. For some reasons, I found myself uninterested in Peony’s plight and thought it was way over-written for what its goal was.

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6 – BIGGEST SURPRISE OF THE YEAR

Sally Hepworth’s The Mother’s Promise. I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy the book, given it hit a little too close to home with someone you love dying of cancer. But it was written in such an intricate way that I couldn’t put it down. I certainly felt a lot of emotion and really had a connection with several of the characters.

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7 – FAVORITE NEW TO YOU OR DEBUT AUTHOR

Caroline Kepnes because of You. The style was fantastic. The way she draws you in, encourages you to love and root for the guy who’s a psycho stalking a woman. It took careful planning and I admire her skills as an author, especially with the point of view and perspective she chose to write it in.

 

8 – YOUR NEW FICTIONAL CRUSH

It would be scary if I chose Joe from You, given he’s a stalker. {But it is} So… from something I read this year… Patrick, the main character’s best friend, in Single Malt Murder, a new mystery series based in Scotland. He’s caring, loving and well-traveled.

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9 – NEW FAVORITE CHARACTER

Lucy from Amanda Prowse’s The Idea of You. Lucy desperately wants a child, but it doesn’t seem to want to happen for her. She is courageous and strong, especially when her husband’s daughter from a previous marriage causes some trouble. Lucy has a few flaws, but in the end, she really steps up and does the right thing to make the best of the entire situation.

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10 – A BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY

Gayle Forman’s If I Stay. The hospital scenes. The paradox of being alive yet being comatose. Having to learn what happens to the rest of your family. Making a choice of whether to let go or try to hold on. It grabs you by the throat and holds on for way too long. I couldn’t keep it in and had a few moments.

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11 – A BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY

Richard Jay Parker’s Be My Killer. This will probably come across the wrong way, but I loved the systematic tracking of all the people involved in this social media serial killer twisted thriller… simply to torture and kill them. I wasn’t happy because they were murdered, but I absolutely love horror and whodunits, so I was smiling the whole way thru, trying to figure out what was going on in this book. A Twitter killer. Sounds hilarious!

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12 – YOUR FAVORITE BOOK TO MOVIE ADAPTATION THAT YOU’VE SEEN THIS YEAR

Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind. I finally saw the whole movie and it was fantastic. I’d only seen a few scenes in the past. I know, crazy!

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13 – FAVORITE BOOK POST YOU’VE PUBLISHED THIS YEAR

The Book Bucket List post where I list the 12 books I must read this year in case I die. You can see it here.

 

14 – THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK YOU HAVE BOUGHT/RECEIVED THIS YEAR

Hmm… are we talking cover or story? I’m gonna go with story and say Kate Morton’s The Distant Hours. It is fascinating and has an incredibly beautiful but scary story inside its covers. I found it on the bookshelves in my apartment building’s library, quickly grabbing it to put on my TBR.

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15 – WHAT ARE SOME BOOKS THAT YOU NEED TO READ BY THE END OF THE YEAR

Ha! I could direct you to my book bucket list, or to some I listed above, but the two that come to mind that are must-reads for me in the near future:

Kate Mosse’s Citadel, as it’s the third and final in a historical fiction trilogy set in France. The story is amazing and is sure to have a fantastic conclusion.

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Kate Morton’s The Lake House, as I love her writing… and this needs to find its way into my hands soon.

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I TAG:

And anyone else who’d like to participate…


 

About Me

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. Once you hit my site “ThisIsMyTruthNow” at https://thisismytruthnow.com, you can join the fun and see my blog and various site content. You’ll find book reviews, published and in-progress fiction, TV/Film reviews, favorite vacation spots and my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge.” Since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life… see how you compare! Each month, I will post a summary of a trip I’ve taken somewhere in the world. I’ll cover the transportation, hotel, restaurants, activities, who, what, when, where and why… and let you decide for yourself if it’s a trip worth taking. Feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Tell me what you think.

Review: The Distant Hours

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The Distant HoursMy rating: 4 of 5 stars to Kate Morton‘s The Distant Hours, a beautifully written and compelling story of sisters, mothers and daughters across two different time periods set in London and rural England.



Why This Book?
I’d read one of her other books, The Forgotten Garden, and fell in love with Kate Morton‘s style, effortless reads and vivid settings and characters. I had to continue absorbing as much of her books as I could, but given they are usually 500+ pages, and quite intense, I have to layer them in every few months. I happened to arrive in my building’s laundry room a few minutes early and perused the library’s bookshelves while waiting for the dryer to complete its cycle. Low an’ behold, there she stood.

Some kind soul had dropped off this book and it beckoned me to depart quickly with it. Well… as soon as I finished getting all my clothes out of the dryer. It sat on my living room’s bookshelves for a few weeks, until I’d seen a review of it this week and decided to move it up on my TBR list. SO GLAD I DID!

Overview of Story
Edie Burchill, a thirty year old book lover working in the publishing industry, recently split from her live-in boyfriend, is visiting her parents one weekend when a letter arrives in the mail, postmarked nearly 50 years ago. Edie’s mother, Meredith, tells her very little, only that it came from one of the Blythe sisters who live at Milderhurst Castle where Meredith stayed as an evacuee during WWII’s German Blitz. Though Edie and her mother aren’t very close, she knows Meredith hasn’t told her the entire story. And when Edie finds herself driving near the castle, and an opportunity to take a tour arises, she jumps on it. Inside Edie meets 85ish twins, Saffy and Percy, who care for their much younger sister, Juniper who is in her early 70s. All is not well with Juniper, who thinks Edie is actually Meredith from nearly 50 years ago. Edie visits local historians, presses her mother’s family and becomes closer to the twin sisters, in hopes she’ll discover what hides behind her mother’s wistful eyes. And as she falls deeper in the story, she learns of a broken engagement, a missing fiancee, a long-lost love, a crazy author, an affair and a few mysterious deaths. Not to mention the mystery of the “mud man” who the sisters’ father, Raymond Blythe, wrote a famous fiction (or was it?) story nearly 70 years before.

Approach & Style
The book alternates time periods every few chapters, showing what happened in 1939-1941 and what is happening currently in the 1990s. Chapters take on different points of view and focus from all of the core characters: Raymond Blythe. His 3 daughters, Saffy, Percy and Juniper. Edie spends time with her parents and her mother’s sister Rita. Mr. Cavill, the missing fiancee, has his own stories and connections, and his family is still looking for him in current time. The stories and characters unfold chapter by chapter, leading readers to discover all the covert relationships and actions that have occurred to bring everything to current times.

Strengths
Kate Morton is quickly becoming my favorite author. Her writing style, though a little exaggerated and too lyrical at times, is astoundingly beautiful. You will always picture the setting, the views and the backdrops. Her choice of words ranges from intoxicating to phenomenal. And her ability to stop the story at just the right moment before switching to a different character or point of view is dazzling. And sometimes, it’s not even a cliffhanger or point of suspense; it’s a mere change to give you a chance to breathe and let your imagination run free for a bit.

The plot is intricate, realistic and intense. You question with each chapter the motivation of the good people and the sentiment of the bad people. You wonder why they make the decision they make, only to find out later, you should never second guess it. I can imagine Morton writes very detailed outlines over several months, determining when to drop certain hints, and when to hold back for a complete and utter shock. She’s clearly writing in a forum and a genre that is well-suited to her strengths.

Open Questions & Concerns
At times, the story is a little too unclear. In 90% of the cases, it works to your advantage as your suspense and thrill increases; however, every so often, it goes a little too far, unravels more than it needs to and opens itself up to a few too many questions that don’t fully find resolution. In particular, with the ending of this one, I wasn’t sure of a connection to make with the delay that happens on the bus (no spoilers here!)… that said, it’s easily forgiven, but this reader wanted it a little more tidied up.

Empathy for the character of Juniper should have been a stronger theme. Readers will feel attached to her, but when you discover what truly happened to her in the end, and how it seems so much could have been prevented, you wonder whether she was just there to suffer. A tweak here and there might have made this a little more acceptable, but then again, reality doesn’t always work that way either. People have a misguided notion they are doing the right thing for the wrong reasons.

Final Thoughts
If you love flowery language, tremendous detail and an ethereal quality in a story, you must read Morton’s books. And this one in particular shows the push/pull between siblings and parents and children, all the things you never know even though you live together for so many years. We are all different people and despite sharing so much in common, our relationships are unique. This books shows us how to question why a sister can control another, how a mother can choose not to truly love her child… and how a man could go crazy over losing so much in a lifetime.

Go into this one expecting a long and intense journey, and you will be pleased. Go into this hoping for a thrilling ride of great leaps and shocks, you will be disappointed. This is not about how dastardly someone has behaved; this is about how people disappoint one another when they least expect to.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: The Forgotten Garden

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The Forgotten Garden
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 stars to Kate Morton‘s The Forgotten Garden. The plot is mesmerizing and the story-telling of the grandmother and the granddaughter is unparalleled. Morton jumps from time period to time period, country to country, character to character in a flawless manner.

The imagery is astounding. The relationships are well planned. Morton keeps you guessing as to how it’s all connected with the garden up front and center the whole way through the ride.

Thoroughly enjoyed the journey this book takes you on. I am very happy with the ending!

View all my reviews