As I stated in my review of The Railway Children by E.Nesbit I have a few children’s classics on my list to read and The Secret Garden was most definitely high up on that list alongside The Railway Children. So, once again I would like to thank Will at Alma Books for being so kind and offering to send me a copy of The Secret Garden in exchange for an honest and fair review.
The Secret Garden was written by Frances Hodgson Burnett and first published in 1911. One again, similar to The Railway Children I have seen the TV adaptation of The Secret Garden and The Return to the Secret Garden countless times but this was the first time I have actually read the book and I absolutely loved it and to top it all off the edition I read was also beautiful.
The story centres on a little girl (Mary) who lived in India until her parents died of cholera and is made an orphan and then sent to England to live with an uncle that she has never met. Once she arrives at her uncle’s house she begins to explore the grounds and finds a secret garden that she has heard about and this is where her story and new life in England really begins. Throughout this novel the story brings together three lonely and different children: Mary, who has no close family and is really not fond of people in any shape or form; Colin, who is so full of hatred, self-pity and anger, and he is not even sure whether his own father loves him, but he is certain of one thing in life and that is the fact he is going to die; and finally there is Dickon, who although is constantly has a bright and sunny disposition, prefers the company of the wild animals of the moors and countryside to people, until he meets Mary.
This children’s classic is such a charming story that is written with the right amount of intrigue for children. This novel is completely realistic with beautiful illustrations of love, death and life that shows that love, care and attention really can help to heal a sickly child. This book also makes a clear statement that a child can only show love, can only be loveable, if they experience that love themselves. Throughout this novel the power of nature plays a major role within the lives of these three children and in many ways a number of the adult’s lives that play a part within the story as well. One of the key aspects that can be seen throughout a majority of this book is the fact there seems to be a lack and absence of the nurturing father figures which thus has its own affects and issues on each of the three main children within this novel.
She made herself stronger by fighting with the wind.
The beautiful illustrations by Peter Bailey that accompanied the start of every new chapter brought this wonderful story to life even more with every page that you turned. They definitely made the whole journey so much more magical and really did give a nostalgic feeling of them childhood afternoons I spent watching this beautiful story come to life. This book is definitely a children’s classic that will stand the test of time and will continue to enchant future generations of children and even adults to come.
The edition that I read was published by Alma Classics (2016)
(Image is my own please do not copy/take without permission first)