The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Published By: Sterling

Year of Publication: 1909

Categories:Middle Grade, Classic, Fiction

Pages: 248

Summary (from Mistress Mary is quite contrary until she helps her garden grow. Along the way, she manages to cure her sickly cousin Colin, who is every bit as imperious as she. These two are sullen little peas in a pod, closed up in a gloomy old manor on the Yorkshire moors of England, until a locked-up garden captures their imaginations and puts the blush of a wild rose in their cheeks; “It was the sweetest, most mysterious-looking place any one could imagine. The high walls which shut it in were covered with the leafless stems of roses which were so thick, that they matted together…. ‘No wonder it is still,’ Mary whispered. ‘I am the first person who has spoken here for ten years.'” As new life sprouts from the earth, Mary and Colin’s sour natures begin to sweeten. For anyone who has ever felt afraid to live and love, The Secret Garden‘s portrayal of reawakening spirits will thrill and rejuvenate. Frances Hodgson Burnett creates characters so strong and distinct, young readers continue to identify with them even 85 years after they were conceived.

Review: The last time I had read The Secret Garden was 7 or 8 years ago. I remember liking it, but it not being one of my favorite classics. Since then, I’ve come to appreciate the outdoors, and flowers and plants in particular, a lot more. For the last three years I’ve worked growing and selling native wildflowers. And if you didn’t know, they’re AMAZING! They grow all by themselves, every year, with no help (no water or fertilizers or weeding from people). Whenever I look at them when I’m out on a walk in a park or on a hike in the mountains I can’t help by smile. They make me happy.

So it’s from this place of added appreciation of flowers that I read this book again. and boy did it make a difference. Whenever plants were described I could practically see them in my head, putting the garden together in my head as Mary and Dickon worked away. It’s enough to make someone want to go immediately spend time outside.

I loved the fact that the more time that Mary and Colin spent outside in the garden, the more they healed – whether it be physically or emotionally. I know that to be true in real life as well – there’s just something about plants and nature that makes you feel good, that gives you the opportunity to figure things out. My boss has told me that several employees that she’s had over the years seemed to come to work for her when they were dealing with some pretty heavy duty stuff, and by the time they left, they had seemed to be getting better. It’s not just fiction that nature is healing.

Even if you’re not much of a gardener, I think the beauty of the outdoors will still be apparent. It’s hard not to be drawn into the beauty of the English moorlands. I can just picture Mary, Colin, and Dickon working away with the robin watching over them. It’s hard to not smile when you think of that.

If you haven’t read this classic before, I definitely recommend it. You can’t go wrong reading about the transforming power of nature.


Disclosure: I bought this book.


2 thoughts on “The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

  1. Pingback: Armchair BEA 2011 Best of 2011 « Geeky Reads Blog

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