IT was dark where she was crouched but the little girl did as she’d been told. The lady had said to wait, it wasn’t safe yet, they had to be as quiet as larder mice. It was a game, just like hide-and-seek.
From behind the wooden barrels the little girl listened. Made a picture in her mind the way Papa had taught her. Men, near and far, sailors she supposed, shouted to one another. Rough, loud voices, full of the sea and its salt. In the distance: bloated ships’ horns, tin whistles, splashing oars and, far above, grey gulls cawing, wings flattened to absorb the ripening sunlight.
The lady would be back, she’d said so, but the little girl hoped it would be soon. She’d been waiting a long time, so long that the sun had drifted across the sky and was now warming her knees through her new dress. She listened for the lady’s skirts, swishing against the wooden deck. Her heels clipping, hurrying, always hurrying, in a way the little girl’s own mamma never did. The little girl wondered, in the vague, unconcerned manner of much-loved children, where Mamma was. When she would be coming. And she wondered about the lady. She knew who she was, she’d heard Grandmamma talking about her. The lady was called the Authoress and she lived in the little cottage on the far side of the estate, beyond the maze. The little girl wasn’t supposed to know. She had been forbidden to play in the bramble maze. Mamma and Grandmamma had told her it was dangerous to go near the cliff. But sometimes, when no one was looking, she liked to do forbidden things.
Dust motes, hundreds of them, danced in the sliver of sunlight that had appeared between two barrels. The little girl smiled and the lady, the cliff, the maze, Mamma left her thoughts. She held out a finger, tried to catch a speck upon it. Laughed at the way the motes came so close before skirting away.
The noises beyond her hiding spot were changing now. The little girl could hear the hubbub of movement, voices laced with excitement. She leaned into the veil of light and pressed her face against the cool wood of the barrels. With one eye she looked upon the decks.
Legs and shoes and petticoat hems. The tails of colored paper streamers flicking this way and that. Wily gulls hunting the decks for crumbs.
A lurch and the huge boat groaned, long and low from deep within its belly. Vibrations passed through the deck boards and into the little girl’s fingertips. A moment of suspension and she found herself holding her breath, palms flat beside her, then the boat heaved and pushed itself away from the dock. The horn bellowed and there was a wave of cheering, cries of “Bon voyage!” They were on their way. To America, a place called New York, where Papa had been born. She’d heard them whispering about it for some time, Mamma telling Papa they should go as soon as possible, that they could afford to wait no longer.
The little girl laughed again; the boat was gliding through the water like a giant whale, like Moby Dick in the story her father often read to her. Mamma didn’t like it when he read such stories. She said they were too frightening and would put ideas in her head that couldn’t be got out. Papa always gave Mamma a kiss on the forehead when she said that sort of thing, told her she was right and that he’d be more careful in the future. But he still told the little girl stories of the great whale. And others—the ones that were the little girl’s favorite, from the fairy-tale book, about eyeless crones, and orphaned maidens, and long journeys across the sea. He just made sure that Mamma didn’t know, that it remained their secret.
The little girl understood they had to have secrets from Mamma. Mamma wasn’t well, had been sickly since before the little girl was born. Grandmamma was always bidding her be good, warning her that if Mamma were to get upset something terrible might happen and it would be all her fault. The little girl loved her mother and didn’t want to make her sad, didn’t want something terrible to happen, so she kept things secret. Like the fairy stories, and playing near the maze, and the times Papa had taken her to visit the Authoress in the cottage on the far side of the estate.
“Aha!” A voice by her ear. “Found you!” The barrel was heaved aside and the little girl squinted up into the sun. Blinked until the owner of the voice moved to block the light. It was a big boy, eight or nine, she guessed. “You’re not Sally,” he said.
The little girl shook her head.
“Who are you?”
She wasn’t meant to tell anybody her name. It was a game they were playing, she and the lady.
“It’s a secret.”
His nose wrinkled, freckles drew together. “What for?”
She shrugged. She wasn’t supposed to speak of the lady, Papa was always telling her so.
“Where’s Sally, then?” The boy was growing impatient. He looked left and right. “She ran this way, I’m sure of it.”
A whoop of laughter from further down the deck and the scramble of fleeing footsteps. The boy’s face lit up. “Quick!” he said as he started to run. “She’s getting away.”
The little girl leaned her head around the barrel and watched him weaving in and out of the crowd in keen pursuit of a flurry of white petticoats.
Her toes itched to join them.
But the lady had said to wait.
The boy was getting further away. Ducking around a portly man with a waxed moustache, causing him to scowl so that his features scurried towards the center of his face like a family of startled crabs.
The little girl laughed.
Maybe it was all part of the same game. The lady reminded her more of a child than of the other grown-ups she knew. Perhaps she was playing, too.
The little girl slid from behind the barrel and stood slowly. Her left foot had gone to sleep and now had pins and needles. She waited a moment for feeling to return, watched as the boy turned the corner and disappeared.
Then, without another thought, she set off after him. Feet pounding, heart singing in her chest.
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition
“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) (Ft. Worth Star Telegram)
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition
Une histoire sur trois générations. Trois femmes, trois destins dont le récit s'alterne au fur et à mesure des chapitres, à la recherche d'un secret enfoui. On s'attache a chacune, et si parfois leurs personnalités, et leurs destins se ressemblent, l'histoire ne se répète pas. Et la lectrice ne s'ennuie pas ! Je trouve que c'est un roman somme toutes très réussi. Les retours en arrière et les saut en avant ne sont pas du tout problématiques. Au contraire, ils apportent un dénouement progressif de l'énigme, vu sous plusieurs angles au fur et à mesure que les enquêtes progressent. A savourer dans un jardin en été :).
This novel has its flaws: a rather worn-out theme (family secrets buried in the mysterious garden of a house on the cliffs), a structure that I found rather more cumbersome than necessary(three layers of the story that don't always imbricate themselves very naturally), a not very imaginative language, a somewhat artificial turning point in one of the stories (this assumption that an adopted child 'self-evidently' turns her back to her family once she is told, as an adult, that she was adopted). But then it has its merits too: a touching story of a young girl who finds herself all alone in Australia, and no idea how she ended up on the ship that brought here there; a slow and smart unfolding of the mystery of her identity; a gentleness for the main characters, in particular Nell (the lost child, later a not very good mother, and later still a tender and selfless grandmother to her grand-daughter), but also her adoptive parents (a couple desperate to have children, loving and cherishing this found child, but not making much of an effort to find out whose daugther she really is); and wonderful Dickensians scenes in the sub-narrative that plays back in the early 20th century; a happy ending (of course) that makes it an "easy" and somehow satisfactory read! It took me a while to get into this story, but at midway or so, I really got hooked and thoroughly enjoyed it! TI'd rather give three and a half stars if I could.
Kate Morton est une grande compteuse, elle vous emmene dans son cinema et vous entraine, comme si on y etait. sur le bateau en 1900 qui se rend en australie, dans la campagne en cornouaille dans les vieux magazins poussiereux dans le coeur de londres< Difficile de lacher le livre dont on cherche a connaitre le secret, ON voyage dans le temps et c est magique.
Les romans de kate morton c est du cinema rien que pour soi,
Lorsque Nell apprend à la mort de sa mère qu'elle est en fait une enfant trouvée, retrouvée seule sur un quai après avoir débarqué d'un navire venu d'Angleterre, elle entreprend de percer le mystère de ses origines et de son abandon. Trente ans plus tard, Cassandra, sa petite-fille, suivra les pas de sa grand-mère pour conduire à bien cette quête inachevée.
Le livre compte de nombreux points positifs à son actif: c'est bien écrit; le récit est bien maîtrisé avec des évènements et des personnages qui font écho d'une période à l'autre; les rebondissements sont bien amenés; et du roman se dégage l'impression d'une mystérieuse destinée qui opère.
En dépit de ces qualités, le roman n'est pas parvenu à me passionner tout à fait. L'histoire se divise en 3 périodes/3 générations, avec des chapitres faisant alterner les unes et les autres, mais on trouve aussi des flash-back à l'intérieur des chapitres, d'où l'impression parfois d'une certaine confusion et de répétitions. Et je regrette aussi certains aspects invraisemblables de l'intrigue.
Bref, l'ensemble est agréable, mais j'ai trouvé le roman moins réussi que 'The House of Riverton' du même auteur.
Très joli univers que celui où nous entraîne Kate Morton. Une histoire qui vous prend et vous surprend à chaque détour. Le narrateur et l'époque change à chaque chapitre pour mieux nous dévoiler ce mystère sur 3 générations. On ne perd pourtant jamais le file, même si parfois on a vraiment hâte de connaitre la suite de l'histoire d'un personnage et qu'on est frustré de revenir à l'histoire moins passionnante d'un autre protagoniste. Chaque détour à une époque dans la vie d'un personnage, apporte une pièce supplémentaire au puzzle du mystère de ce joli drame familiale. N'hésitez pas vous allez vous régaler!
Kate Morton is a very gifted writter weaving the lives of women into a rich & complex story of secrets, love, hatred, guilt & betrayal, I loved the way the fairy tales unravel Eliza' & Nell's life & gradually untwine the truth of this superbly written generations spanning mystery . The vivid and elaborated description of settings, views , colors & fragrance are so beautiful you feel that you are there. This magnificent novel completely engulfs you,