The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

2529281Fiction — print. Scholastic, 1987. Originally published 1911. 298 pgs. Purchased.

After the death of parents, ten-year-old Mary Lennox is sent from India to live with a distant relative at Misselthwaite Manor on the Yorkshire Moors. Left alone to her own devices, Mary stumbles across a secret garden that has also been left to its own devices. But it’s not the garden that holds all the secrets, but rather the house that is now Mary’s home because at night she hears the sounds of weeping even when the master of the house is gone.

It takes a while for this book to get started and I would have abandoned it at the fifty page mark had the book not been on my TBR Challenge list. As I’m really glad that I did not end up abandoning this book because I would have missed out on a wonderful book that I already missed out on as a child.

I think part of the problem I had with the beginning of the tale was that I had a hard time understanding the Yorkshire accent, but I really started to love the addition of the accent to the tale. It made the tale seem more authentic and wonderful.

Magic abounds in this tale; so much so that it borders on being a fantasy tale. Apparently, Burnett infused the comfort she found in Christian Science teachings after her son died into this story about the power of mind over body.

There is some orientalistic thought in this book because India is portrayed as “unhealthy” and England as “healthy”, which I guess is to be expected because it was originally published in 1911. But it’s also a fun little book of kids discovering what it means to be kids and learning the joys of being outside instead of stuck inside.


    • I have. Personally, because I grew up with A Little Princess, I’m more included to say that one is better. But then again I’m a bit biased seeing as how I never read The Secret Garden until now.


  1. I grew up with this but it’s many years since I read it and I’m overdue for a re-read. Very much enjoyed your review. Yes, India featured in many of Burnett’s books and not always favourably. The curious thing is – she never went there.


  2. Aw, I loved this book when I was a kid. Seeing the cover picture you posted is taking me right down memory lane because that was exactly the edition I read. I wonder if I’d like it as much if I re-read it now….


  3. Did you listen to this one or read it? Just wondering about your comment regarding the accent. I never read this one as a child but have thought about reading/listening to it recently. Glad you persisted and enjoyed it!


    • Me too. And to think I almost gave up on it…

      The edition I show was given to me as a set along with Burnett’s A Little Princess and L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables as a child. Montgomery’s book is the only one of the set I have yet to read.


    • Just finished it actually. I started compiling a list of other book bloggers’ thoughts on Jane Eyre and that seems to be the sentiment of almost everyone. I’ve only been able to find two not so favorable reviews.


  4. Pingback: The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett | Ardent Reader

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