Friday, April 22, 2011

Retro Friday Book Review: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Angie of Angieville and "focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc."

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Publisher: many
Publication date: 1910/1911
ISBN: many
Source: audio download from library

The Secret GardenThe Secret GardenThe Secret Garden

When Mary Lennox is sent to England to live with her uncle, she finds everything is very different than what it was in India.  She has no servants to wait on her hand and foot and no one cares if she is lonely or sad.  When she discovers a secret garden, she finds an outlet for her anger and begins to transform just as the plants do from winter to spring.  She also helps her cousin, Colin, to change from a sickly, weak and spoiled little boy to a strong healthy one. 

Things I Liked:
I'd forgotten just how magical this book was.  My husband and I listened to it on a road trip and it really is delightful.  Even my husband laughed and enjoyed the story.  We especially loved the accents and voices that Josephine Bailey used (top notch, really, she was great).  The story sucks you in and the magic of the secret garden seems so real.  I loved listening again to how Mary changed and then helped to change Colin and he helped to change his father.  A beautiful story of growing up and the magic of nature.  Seriously, I felt so nostalgic listening to this, remembering adoring this story when I was younger.  I can't wait until I have kids I can introduce to this story for the first time.

Things I Didn't Like:
Not much I can think of.  A great story that still has remarkable appeal for kids today (and adults, apparently).

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

And really a hundred other classic children's stories, simply for nostalgia

s-factor: none

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: none

Overall rating: *****

What's a book you loved as a child that you still love as an adult?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. I've been looking forward to rereading this one for a long time now. I think I'll try it out with my son pretty soon.

  2. Hey! This is a good, book to movie, idea! There's so many movie versions of this. I like it too.

  3. I really need to read The Secret Garden. I enjoyed the movie version of it that was made in the 1990s, but yeah, I'm sure it's not as good as the book.

    Lovely review!! :-D

  4. This is one of those books that I feel is a huge gap in my reading! I need to pick up a copy soon.

  5. I recently re-read Little Princess - planning to read Secret Garden this spring along with Wind in the Willows.

    I love the story in Little Princess, but I think I like Mary Lennox better as a character - she's so wonderfully fiesty!

  6. Angie, I'm dying to read it with my kids - just waiting for them to come!

    Jenny, ooh yes there are lots of great movie versions.

    April, definitely worth a read sometime. The movies have all been pretty good though!

    Caroline, totally needs to be read! You should pick it up when you want to feel young again :)

    Caitlin, I like Mary better too - she changes a bit more and is more entertaining I think.

  7. I haven't read Secret Garden, but I have always loved Little Princess. It has always been one of my much loved favourites.

  8. BushMaid, it's definitely worth a read - I really like it better than Little Princess.

  9. I just read TSG again too! Absolutely loved it. :)

  10. Timothy, definitely it will always be a classic!

  11. This book enchanted me as a child, and started a lifelong love of books set on the English moors. Another book I loved as a child: "A Wrinkle in Time." I read it again as an adult and still found it moving.

  12. Sarah, oh I love English moor books! I'll have to start a list. I read Wrinkle as an adult and not a kid - I didn't love it, but more liked it. I think I've forgotten it, so maybe I'll give it another go.


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