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What I'm Reading Wednesday: The Secret Garden

Wednesday, September 2, 2020


Happy Wednesday, My Lovelies!

On today's What I'm Reading Wednesday post, I'm revisiting The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

I also put together a little vignette for fun to honor this classic.  Did you read this book when you were a child?  I think I was a little jealous of Mary Lennox and her freedom to have her own secret garden to play and dig in when I read it as a child.  I had a different reaction re-reading it as an adult, though.  I had more sympathy for Mary and the neglect she suffered from the adults in her world.

According to Goodreads:

"One of the most delightful and enduring classics of children's literature, The Secret Garden by Victorian author Frances Hodgson Burnett has remained a firm favorite with children the world over ever since it made its first appearance. Initially published as a serial story in 1910 in The American Magazine, it was brought out in novel form in 1911.

The plot centers round Mary Lennox, a young English girl who returns to England from India, having suffered the immense trauma by losing both her parents in a cholera epidemic. However, her memories of her parents are not pleasant, as they were a selfish, neglectful and pleasure-seeking couple. Mary is given to the care of her uncle Archibald Craven, whom she has never met. She travels to his home, Misselthwaite Manor located in the gloomy Yorkshire, a vast change from the sunny and warm climate she was used to. When she arrives, she is a rude, stubborn and given to stormy temper tantrums. However, her nature undergoes a gradual transformation when she learns of the tragedies that have befallen her strict and disciplinarian uncle whom she earlier feared and despised. Once when he's away from home, Mary discovers a charming walled garden which is always kept locked. The mystery deepens when she hears sounds of sobbing from somewhere within her uncle's vast mansion. The kindly servants ignore her queries or pretend they haven't heard, spiking Mary's curiosity.

The Secret Garden appeals to both young and old alike. It has wonderful elements of mystery, spirituality, charming characters and an authentic rendering of childhood emotions and experiences. Commonsense, truth and kindness, compassion and a belief in the essential goodness of human beings lie at the heart of this unforgettable story. 

My review:

Mary Lennox is not just another sad orphan.  She is a character who deserves tons of sympathy because she was so neglected by her parents.  Because of her entitled upbringing from Indian servants, she is not very delightful, and the adults in her world think she's ugly and difficult, too.  But Mary has a sweetness in her that is developed once she arrives at Misselthwaite Estate in Yorkshire.  All it took was a gruff but kind gardener and a robin redbreast who introduce her to the love of gardening.  

Mary not only discovers a locked, secret garden at Misselthwaite: She also discovers that she has an invalid cousin who's her age.  Mary is an encourager, although her methods aren't always the most kind.  But she encourages her cousin Colin to change his attitude, get stronger, and behave!  Add their friend Dickon, a boy who understands and communicates with animals, and you have a trio of children who transform a forgotten garden and each other.  

I wanted to re-read this classic before seeing the new adaptation for film starring Colin Firth.  Have you seen it yet?

This edition includes beautiful illustrations by Tasha Tudor.

"Might I," quavered Mary, "might I have a bit of earth?"

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill


  1. ok, you've made me want to re-read this. i haven't read it since i was a little kid. and i love your vignette.

  2. One of my faves. This is a special book you can go back and read time and time again. Happy Wednesday. xoxo

  3. Beautiful post, RJ! I should reread this classic! Love your gorgeous garden gate.

  4. So funny daughter was cleaning out the basement this summer and found this book in a box. The books belonged to my mom, who was born in 1931, and make marks and notes in the books. My daughter decided to read Secret Garden, fell in love with it and recommended I do the same. I'd never read it before. I was a Nancy Drew/ Little House girl. Anyway, we both LOVED it and discussed it by the pool. I'm actually glad neither of us read it as children, as it was so much more meaningful this way...and the message really resonated with us. Now we've moved on to Jack and Jill and Peter Pan. They were both in the box, too!

  5. One of my all time favorite books. I haven't seen the movie yet -- I haven't found it streaming on anything I already have and no way I'd go in a theatre. (Actually, theatres in Michigan are still closed in most of the state, thank goodness. That's a covid party waiting to happen!) I think it might be on demand on my home cable and I'll definitely watch.

  6. I read the book as an adult . Reading "The First Daughter and immensely enjoying it.

  7. I read "The Secret Garden" a few years ago and enjoyed it. Re reading The American girl series. "Meet Kristen" and now "Meet Samantha".

  8. I read "The Secret Garden' years ago. It was quite enjoyable. I am now doing Victoria Magazine's Classic's which is now "The Secret Garden'. It involves answering questions pertaining to the book. I just finished reading "An Amish Harvest",a four part novella. I am now reading "Sisters Of The Heart".


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.

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