|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 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.
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.)
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.
- Chilled Vegetable Soup served with Parmesan Flowers. This soup is made with Worcestershire sauce, just like the morgy broth (page 361) in The Forgotten Garden. I tried to find a recipe for a morgy broth in case someone wanted to make it for their book club party, but I could not find one on the Internet. If you have a recipe, please post it in the comments section.
- Beef Pasty (page 211)
- Cottage Pie Tart (page 17)
- Scones with clotted cream and Homemade Strawberry Jam (page 418). There are several recipes for clotted cream, but I wanted to try the real thing so I bought an imported jar of clotted cream from England. It was so delicious! I cannot imagine eating a scone without it.
- Bell pepper cut into petal shapes with a Vegetable Dip
- Chocolate Bird’s Nests with a Golden Egg (page 471)
- English Breakfast and Earl Grey Tea Custard served in a tea cup. I made it like Clara – 3 parts English Breakfast, 1 part Earl Grey (page 495)
Book Club Resources
- “Morton whisks the reader into scene after vivid scene, sometimes frightening us, often perplexing us, and always providing us with a great deal of entertainment.”—Star Telegram (Fort Worth, TX)
- “Often, when a book jumps narrators, the reader is invested in some stories more than others. In this case, I was equally enthralled by every plotline. I devoured this book, savoring each word that Morton gave me. I can’t describe how much I enjoyed the process of reading The Forgotten Garden.” – S. Krishna’s Books
- “What I loved about this atmospheric, fairytale-like novel was that Morton tells the story of these different, but connected, women, but she doesn’t give everything up right away. I tried to guess at the mystery many times, but ultimately my guesses were never correct. The characters are well developed, and although it takes a little while to get into the story, this is an excellent novel, filled with old houses and hidden gardens with secrets and surprises.” – A Girl Walks Into a Bookstore
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|