The Secret Garden: Book Review

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Image by: Cristina Colli: www.cristinacolli.com

On World Book day, I wrote about two books that have shaped my life. Today I wanted to review something that I am currently reading; The Secret Garden written by Frances Hodgson Burnett and published in 1911!

Why Did I Decide To Read It?

A while ago I was incredibly lucky to be able to spend some time in Bali, Indonesia. One thing I loved the most about the country was the scenery! I live in the north of England so as you can imagine: jungles, palm trees and tropical flowers are not exactly things I get to see very often.  While I was revelling at these sights, I realised that I had really been taking the UK’s countryside for granted.

I was desperate to get my hands on a book that celebrated the landscapes of this cold climate. (maybe thinking it would cushion the blow of flying back home during the depths of winter)  and I remembered this book was sitting at home in my bookcase.

Overview

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”

– Frances Hodgson Burnett – The Secret Garden

The story follows a little girl called Mary who spent her young life living as a very spoiled, bad tempered child in India. When a terrible illness wipes out everyone in her home but her, she is sent to live with her uncle at his manor house in Yorkshire, England.

With nothing much to do and many rooms in the house considered “out-of-bounds”, Mary takes to the gardens. Here she meets gardener Ben Weatherstaff, makes friends with a Robin and uncovers both the key and the entrance to the off-limits secret garden.

Plot

“As she came closer to him she noticed that there was a clean fresh scent of heather and grass and leaves about him, almost as if he were made of them. She liked it very much and when she looked into his funny face with the red cheeks and round blue eyes she forgot that she had felt shy.”

– Frances Hodgson Burnett – The Secret Garden

Playing outside and breathing in the fresh air from the Yorkshire moor has a strange effect on Mary, much to the surprise of the staff at the manor. Mistress Mary, who previously never had a nice word to say, nor interest in anything or anyone gradually changes for the better.

The Secret Garden follows Mary’s adventure and the friends she makes along the way.

“However many years she lived, Mary always felt that ‘she should never forget that first morning when her garden began to grow’.”

– Frances Hodgson Burnett – The Secret Garden

My Verdict

Delightful and enchanting are two words that spring to mind when I think of this book! It captures a real sense of childlike wonder and places emphasis on the simple things in life that we often take for granted.

Having a central character that is flawed and unlikeable is really refreshing and the descriptions of the Yorkshire moors are gorgeous!

I really enjoy the sentiment behind the story. In a gentle way, the author portrays how after throwing herself into the outdoors and tending to a garden; a previously miserable, ungrateful child suddenly comes into bloom herself. Mary starts to appreciate the beauty in her surroundings, gains a whole new respect for life and ultimately lives as a happier child.

There is something in that, don’t you think?

“Everything is made out of magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us. In this garden – in all the places.

Frances Hodgson Burnett – The Secret Garden

“Where you tend a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow.”

– Frances Hodgson Burnett – The Secret Garden

I’d love to know if there are any books from your childhood that you feel have stood the test of time and absolutely love today! I haven’t read many of the classics so if there is anything you think is worth reading then please let me know and hopefully we can discuss them soon!

Lyndsay xo

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4 thoughts on “The Secret Garden: Book Review

  1. Hi…i love reading The Secret Garden too. I think i would suggest you to read Charlotte’s Web, if you haven’t read it yet… 🙂

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    • Glad you like it too! And yes what a great suggestion! I’ve never read it but I had a friend when I was younger (also called Charlotte!) who I remember absolutely loving it. Will try and get my hands on a copy 🙂 x

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