The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

I read this book many year ago when I was in middle school, and was absolutely delighted when I was looking through Amazon’s free classics available for kindle and found The Secret Garden again. Just remembering the words from so long ago bring back the amazing evocation of spring, joyous excitement and new growth – a perfect read for the new year, I felt. Any book that can elicit that much excitement and thrill just through the memory of it has to be an amazing story – and it is in the Classics section for a reason.

The Secret Garden is one of those wonderful books that are written for children, but are still just as enjoyable for an adult as you go back to read it in later years. I don’t think it’s just about rekindling some of the childhood memories, the book is so captivating and full of Magic itself, that you can’t help but feel that you are completely caught up in the children’s’ secret, and feeling the spring time growing up all around you. The characters for the children are written perfectly, with the innocence of behaviour and circumstance written so that you feel sympathy for them, not frustration at their bratty and spoilt behaviour. I love all the broad Yorkshire characters, from sweet Martha to the worldly 12-year-old Dickon – Burnett is able to describe the Yorkshire Moors with such clarity and wonderous effect that I defy anyone to not want to book a week up on t’ moors, or create their own magical garden full of flowers and plants and birds and creatures.

The book also holds something which I think is important for adults to understand as well. Through the growing of the garden and the development of the children, Burnett describes the importance of positive thinking – through either Magic, religion, or whatever you believe in, it ‘du na matter’ what its name is. I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason, trying to remain positive, and making your own things happen for yourself. This is a great thing to instill into children, but a lesson that we can all take as we grow up and begin to come across the uglier things life can throw at us. Lost jobs, broken relationships, dreams seeming to struggle to get off the ground; The Secret Garden shows how some fresh air and a decent outlook to work miracles, and I guarantee that reading this will give you a fresh, exciting view on life and what you can do with it.

I’ll leave you with a line from the book that near broke my heart with its wonderful aptness:

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


The Vintage Housewife x


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