The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett

After finishing Big Magic, I was worried that no book would be able to capture my attention and spirit. There was no planning involved in the set up of these two books… but it was the perfect fit, and completely accidental. I read this one with dear friend in the spirit of a mini book club, as it’s one of her all time favourite books and I have never read it. I strongly encourage doing a mini book club. It’s a really fun way to read a book, and stir up some deep conversations with a friend.


If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.

The Secret Garden is a book that is for every reader, and is a coming of age story.ย Mary Lennox comes to live at her uncle’s great house on the Yorkshire Moors when she is orphaned at the age of 10. This house has a hundred rooms, in which she finds tons of secrets. Some rooms are locked, some are forbidden, and some of them have the sound of crying at night. Mary is intrigued by the secrets, and when she hears of a secret garden that is locked up with a missing key she makes it her mission to find it. Then one day, with some help, Mary finds this key and takes on the task to spruce the dead garden. What she finds is her spirit, and her outlook changing towards herself, and other people as the garden comes back to life.

I will be honest, I avoided reading this book for so long because I thought it would an unreadable classic. I remember watching the movie as a little girl and loving it, but for some reason the book just always seemed out of reach for me. Well, yet again, I was wrong. With the descriptions of the moors, and the moody “wuthering winds”, you are instantly transported to Yorkshire. The imagery in this book is so vivid, you can almost see the flowers blooming and smell of the fresh earth. And although this is a simple story, I was instantly captivated and pulled into Mary’s experience.

Transformation is a huge theme in this book. You see Mary, whose attitude was snotty and grumpy, turn into this beautiful girl who sees the world in a whole new life. Along with Mary you see her uncle, and cousin, Colin transform into strong people who crawl out of their dark and musty mind.

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

The reason I think that this book transitioned so well from Big Magic for me was the talk of “magic” in it. The magic in this book was believing in the force in living things. That everything has a spirit, and sometimes it just takes a little grooming to discover that magic… but once the magic is present, it’s time to flourish. I’d feel really guilty if I didn’t mention how much I loved the character, Dickon. He was a hoot, and sort of an animal whisper. If you’ve read this book, please let me know in the comments what you thought of it!

Until next time, happy reading friends!



One thought on “The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett

  1. This book is a cornerstone of my childhood. “The Secret Garden” is superb in marrying true-to-life transformation and the magical element. I’m so so glad you read this and loved it. If you haven’t read “A Little Princess,” you should!


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