The Secret Garden

May 29, 2010

The Secret Garden
By: Frances Hodgson Burnett
266 pages** (my 1992 copy)

When a cholera outbreak uproots Mary Lennox from her life in India she is sent to live with her Uncle Archibald. There she sets out to find the garden that has been locked up tight for the last 10 years and meets a handful of wonderful friends along the way.

Mary Lennox is a little girl who's life in India is anything but normal. Her father was either too busy with work or too busy being sick to see her and her mother couldn't be bothered to take care of a child who was "most disagreeable looking" in comparison to her own beauty. Kept in her rooms with a host of servants to make sure she is kept out of sight and doesn't disturb her mother, Mary (when she isn't sick herself) is spoiled to the point of being "tyrannical and selfish a little pig as ever lived."

However, at 9 years old, life as she knows it changes forever. Cholera breaks out in the massive household and she is kept in her room to avoid catching it. Forgotten for several days, it's not until 2 men find her does she learn both her parents died, as well as her nanny. Any servants who survived fled the house quickly without looking back, or thinking of Mary. She's then sent to live with her Uncle with only rumours of a hunchback, a cross personality, and an odd statement from her Uncle's housekeeper as preparation: "You are going to a queer place."

Life at her Uncle's house is as far from life in India as Mary can get. She's expected to dress herself, servants talk to each other as if they are equals, and there's a garden no one is allowed to go in. Mary sets on a mission to find out where it is. With a robin's guiding help she finds the key and later the door. A gardener named Ben and a servant named Martha tell Mary the sad story of why the garden is closed to the world, but she is determined to get in there.

Not only does Mary find it, but an "animal charmer", named Dickon, helps her bring the garden back to life. And while Mary immerses herself with the garden she uncovers another mystery. She finds a cousin she never knew she had. Together, these 3 children turn a neglected garden into their own paradise.

The Secret Garden is every bit as magical and enchanting as I remembered it being when I read it in high school. You can't help but be swept away with the children and the garden. (It made me wish I had a green thumb myself). You'll fall in love with the garden that has "magic" enough to heal the sick and bring all walks of life together.

Rating: BUY IT!!!


Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read on May 29, 2010 at 11:06 AM said...

I love your review! It really does the novel justice. It's a magical book.

agirlreads on May 29, 2010 at 11:45 AM said...

I just love this book so much. Its so magical and beautiful and brings me back to early childhood. Fabulous review.

Jen on May 29, 2010 at 4:23 PM said...

Thanks, guys!! It is definitely one of those timeless books that never loses it's magic! I love reading the classics!!

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