The Secret Garden

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The Secret Garden

Book Review- The Secret Garden by Frances Burnette


The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is a classic centred around Mary Lennox who is forced to return to England from India after the tragic death of her parents from Cholera. Although if she thinks back, the memories of her parents were never pleasant ones, they were very selfish and self-centred people. After a bit of tossing from one relative to another, she is sent to her uncle, Archibald Craven, in Misselthwaite Manor is gloomy Yorkshire.  

When she arrives in dreary and cold moors of Yorkshire, a big change from the sunny tropics of India, she is rude, stubborn and easily breaks out into many tantrums. But goes through a drastic change in attitude when she finds out about the tragedies that her strict uncle had to go through, whom she had despised and feared earlier.  

When he was off on a business trip, she discovers the existence of the secret garden and why it had been shut up. Her curiosity grows, when she starts hearing mysterious sounds of sobbing in the mansion. When she questions these sounds all she receives is a cold shoulder and a deaf ear, this only increases her suspicions… 

Plot Summary 

Mary Lennox is a stubborn young girl who grew up in sunny India, surrounded by slaves, answering her beck and call. She has never dressed, forget being taken care of by her parents. Her parents were selfish, neglectful and self-centred people who never lent one hand in raising Mary. So, her life is drastically altered when both her mother and father are killed in a cholera pandemic.

 She has no home left there. So, after being handed over from relative to relative, many whom she did not know of, she is handed over to her uncle Craven in Yorkshire. The cold and Barren Moors of Yorkshire are a big change from the sweltering heat of India.  

When she arrives at Misselthwaite Manor she is stubborn and rude as she has no servants to help her, she is scared and despises her uncle, who she has not met. After her first day in the manor she learns about the tragedies in her uncle’s life, she has a change of heart and so does her behaviour, before you know it Mary is wandering the paths of Yorkshire, where she comes to know of the secret garden which is always locked.  

With a newfound goal, Mary is determined to solve the mystery and be the first person to unlock the secret garden after years of neglect. But over time she starts making friends with Ben. As the days roll on Mary starts to hear the strange sobbing sound around the manor and goes to investigate… 


The secret garden is a true classic which I have enjoyed reading repeatedly. You can keep reading it and always feel that sensation of wonder and happiness and sadness all over again. I personally, am a big fan of the classic which have inspired so many authors. Their writing style is somehow different which gives a fantasy feeling to normal adventure, without adding fairies or dinosaurs. 

 The secret Garden deserves its own kind of praise for making the main heroine stubborn and then making her going through so much character development. When you initially hear about Mary’s sudden and drastic change in attitude, you would think it was a little bit rushed, that character development like that deserves time. However, the way Frances has actually written the vents of the story will astound you! A definite must-read even if you have already, these types of books are ageless. 

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

One of my favourite parts about reading the Secret Garden is the description before and after the kids have repaired and brought it back to life. That description brings the words to life and it’s relaxing just reading about their adventure without action or thill. This book is perfect for all years but specifically over eight or nine as I feel they would enjoy more. This book is a classic and fiction book for primary and secondary school students. It has also been adapted into various different books and films. 

Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnette was an English-American author and playwright who was best known for writing children’s book. Her top three children’s books were A little Princess, Lord Fauntleroy and The Secret Garden. She was born in Manchester, Cheetham, England. She had settled in Nassau County, New York, where she died in 1924 and is buried in Roslyn Cemetery. 

Overall I give The Secret Garden by Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnette a five out of five for language and a timeless classic. 

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