The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton begins with a 4 year old arriving alone on a dock in Australia with only a few belongings in a small white suitcase.  When the man who found and cared for her dies, an older Nell is given the suitcase.  Within it is a book of fairy tales written by the woman who put her on the boat.  Join Nell, and then her granddaughter Cassandra, on a journey to England and a cottage on a cliff to unravel the mystery of her past.

Book Club Ideas

What to Wear

The initial plan was to have a garden party before storms blew in just before everyone arrived.   So flower dresses, floral shirts and garden hats were worn by some of us.  But I was not prepared for the fairies that walked in the door…they looked awesome!


Jo also submitted some very creative decorating ideas, including a white suitcase with a book of fairy tales.

For our book club party for The Forgotten Garden,  vignettes of the fairy tales were sprinkled throughout the garden and the guests had to try to figure out which of Eliza’s fairy tales it represented.

For The Crone’s Eyes (page 95) I decorated with a fairy princess, a fawn and two eye bouncy balls in a jar as well as a figurine of a well (I love Goodwill!).

The Crone’s Eyes

Decorations for The Changeling (page 285) included a bird cage from Annie that I painted with gold metallic paint, a bird and gold pieces.

The Changeling

For The Golden Egg fairy tale I found a Christmas ornament with a golden egg from Garden Ridge (I think this is primarily a local store.  You can probably find a similar one wherever Christmas decorations or sold).   I was roaming through Ross when I found the statue in the picture.  I was way across the store when I could just make out an angel and a little girl.  I squinted my eyes…what are they holding…a book?  A book of fairy tales?  I ran over there as fast as I could afraid someone grab this treasure before I could get to it.

The Golden Egg

I also decorated the garden with fairies and a little boy angel (page 521) that I found at Goodwill. (By the way, whenever I am planning a book club party I always start at Goodwill or Salvation Army…it is amazing the treasures you can find on the shelves there.)


Eliza Makepeace as a Fairy


A flower arrangement for a table setting could include Rose’s welcome home gift when she arrived from New York (page 368).   Eliza selected plants that were a symbol of their bond – Ivy for friendship, pink rose for happiness, oak leaf geranium for memories.    She tied the bouquet with a pink satin ribbon torn from her hem.

Book Club Menu

Every book should mention Prosecco (page 171) so we can serve it at every book club party!   Some bottles of Prosecco were placed in a plantar full of ice and some were used to make a Golden Apple Sangria.

A big pot was filled with basketballs and volleyballs then topped off with ice to keep the water bottles cool.

I did not want to have to make teapots of tea (and most of us don’t drink hot tea…iced tea loaded with sugar is the drink of choice in Texas) so I set up my coffee maker so people could make their own tea.  I arranged Earl Grey K-cups and English Breakfast tea bags in the shape of a flower (you put the tea bag in the cup and just run hot water through the coffee maker).

Golden apples in an urn (something I found in the bulk trash at my neighbor’s house…don’t tell my husband) represent the apple tree in the forgotten garden.  Nuts, seeds and fruit plates made to look like flowers provided snacks as well as decoration.   The table was also decorated with candy roses made from melting wafers and a rose candy mold.

Shortly after setting up the table above the wind kicked up, the sky darkened and then the clouds let loose.  So much for a garden party!

That’s okay,  Golden Apple Sangria was waiting for us in the refrigerator inside.  This is made with Prosecco, a little brandy and loads of fruit.  The ice cubes in the sangria were made with apple cider and flower and leaf silicone baking molds.

The food eaten in The Forgotten Garden consisted mainly of stew and broth.  It is way too hot in Texas in September to have a hot soup, so I made a cold soup instead.  I also challenged myself to make food shaped like flowers.

Book Club Resources


About Kate Morton

 Kate Morton was born in South Australia.  She studied in Speech and Drama at Trinity College London and graduated from the University of Queensland with First Class Honors in English Literature and a Masters degree focusing on tragedy in Victorian literature. Read more at Kate Morton’s web site

A Couple Photos from Our Party