The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

A few weeks ago I hosted a read-a-long for this classic book.  For me, this was my first time experiencing it, for a few that read a long, it was their first time as well.  Here are my thoughts, on The Secret Garden…


Mary Mary, quite contrary how does your garden grow? 

When Mary Lennox is orphaned she is moved away from everything she ever knew and relocated to her uncle’s home in Yorkshire.  It doesn’t take long for all those around to see that Mary is not the most agreeable child in the world.  Through her lonely days in her new home, Mary explores the large home with many rooms.. searching for the crying sounds she hears but no one can tell her what it is.  When she finally does venture outside she meets Dickon, a mysterious boy who tells her of a secret garden… one that has not been entered in many many years. 

Mary’s adventures outdoors leads her not only to the garden, but into a magical world for her to explore with talking animals and adventures beyond her imagination!  Suddenly, Mary’s demeanor changes as the garden blooms her into a whole new girl….

Would you dare enter? Would your life ever be the same if you did?

Why did I want to read this?  I feel like I missed the boat on many of the great reads that many people read in high school.  None of the greats were required reading where I went to school, and honestly in a way I feel cheated.  I have been trying to implement the classics into my reading diet… and thus… this book 😀

The Secret Garden was what I had hoped it would be.  This story was one of innocence and a time when kids did not sit in front of a tv show or a video game but actually got outside and used their imaginations.  I enjoyed Mary, even when she wasn’t the most likable and I think that was because she had potential.  When she meets her cousin and he is just as pouty and unpleasant as she is (probably even more so). To see them work together and help one another is a pretty sweet part of the book and the discover y of the garden and how the garden itself heals people….

well, honestly the message is a powerful one.

I enjoyed the read and I am so thankful so many joined me in this reading of a classic that I can happily now cross off my to be read list. 

I think this book should be on every child’s book shelf.  The Secret Garden is a book that truly is meant to be read.

I listened to this book on audio and really enjoyed Victoria Mcgee’snarration.

Be sure to see our discussion we had on this book and the other reviews from the read a long.

48 thoughts on “The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

  1. I’ve always wished for a secret garden of my own ever since reading this book as a child. Since you enjoyed this one, you should read Heidi and Anne of Green Gables, if you haven’t already.

  2. I read it as a kid and as an adult and I have to say that it was far more magical when I read it as a kid. 🙂 I still liked it, but it didn’t have the same power as that first read in childhood. My boys liked it when I read it to them though.

  3. One of the things that I like about it is that it’s one of very few older children’s books that encourage independent thinking and curiosity as traits befitting young women. It was one of my favorite books as a kid for precisely that reason.

  4. One of my all-time favorites as a young girl. I remember all those wonderful afternoons pretending we had our own secret garden in the back yard. Perhaps I’ll get around to revisiting this gem over the summer months. So glad you liked it!

  5. This really captured my imagination when I read it as a child. I just finished reading it out loud to my girls and it wasn’t quite the same, but still a great story. It is rather difficult to read out loud because of all the Yorkshire dialogue, so I think if I were to do it again I would have just played the audiobook for them!

      1. My ten-year-old loved it, my 13-year-old not so much. But that might just be because she feels too old to be read aloud to. We mostly found some of the old-fashioned language humorous. Did you notice the overuse of the word queer? There were times when it popped up several times on one page. I wanted to get the author a thesaurus, lol!

  6. I’m so glad you loved this one! I recently read it for the first time, too, and just adored it. I was hardly required to read anything in school, either! In my senior AP class, I remember we read a Hemingway and watched The Scarlett Letter. I think that was all! (I may have forgotten one, though. But it was incredibly easy. A shame, that.)

  7. Like you, I read The Secret Garden the first time when I was no longer a child 🙂
    I enjoyed it too and wished that I could have been as adventurous. For a time, it even made me wished I had more of a gardening bent. LOL.

  8. I read it some time ago and wondered why I haven’t read it before ! I think I will send my 12 year old niece my copy.

  9. Glad you liked it! And yes, the message and symbolism of the garden is very strong, something I think it takes being an adult to fully appreciate. And wow, you didn’t read the big classics at school? I suppose I assumed it had always been a part of English classes, reading at least one of them I mean.

  10. This is one I loved as a child. (Although, I think I actually liked A Little Princess even better!) The enchantment of the garden and the children discovering it–lovely!

  11. I’m glad I finally read it. I knew the story of the secret garden, just never read the book. I’m finally getting motivated to catch up on the classics…. next month, Rebecca!

  12. I’m really glad you enjoyed this one since you went through the trouble of organizing the read a long. It would be horrible if you did all that, then hated the book.

  13. This is such a lovely book–and probably responsible for my fascination with inaccessible gardens on the other sides of walls. You know, the ones where you can just see the trees over the top. It’s like they HAVE to be more magical than the ones in plain view…

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