Books · Read in 2023 · Reviews

(audio) Book Thoughts: The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)

Such a lovely surprise

★★★★☆ 1/2 – CALSPIE 8.93

Title: The Secret Garden
Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Johanna Ward
 Classic / Middle Grade
First published: 1811
Edition: Audio & ebook

When orphaned Mary Lennox comes to live at her uncle’s great house on the Yorkshire Moors, she finds it full of secrets. The mansion has nearly one hundred rooms, and her uncle keeps himself locked up. And at night, she hears the sound of crying down one of the long corridors. The gardens surrounding the large property are Mary’s only escape. Then, Mary discovers a secret garden, surrounded by walls and locked with a missing key. One day, with the help of two unexpected companions, she discovers a way in. Is everything in the garden dead, or can Mary bring it back to life?


I was not sure what to expect from this one. I vaguely remember watching a movie adaptation of this when I was a child, but the book was a bit different than what I remember, though my memories may well be wildly inaccurate.

It is a lovely story of children doing children things and the power of play and joy. Of course there is the idea of how thinking you are a certain way will make you exactly like that. I think it is has a lot of positive messages and overall it has a feel good vibe to it.

There are some aspects of this book that are a bit questionable. There is casual racism that thankfully would not be ok these days and there is a sense of not being good enough if you’re disabled or sickly. In that way this is a story clearly of its time, but at the same time there is something timeless about it. The healing power of nature and the outdoors and of just joy. I definitely believe in that and it was beautifully described.

The narrator did a great job and I greatly enjoyed listening to her. If you haven’t read this, it’s worth reading and the (included in subscription) audio book was a treat.

4.5 out of 5 stars



  • Characters: 9
  • Ambience: 9
  • Language: 9
  • Story: 8.5
  • Pacing: 9
  • Interest: 9
  • Enjoyment: 9


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