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on 16 March 2017
I first saw the television production of this book many years ago and when I came across the title on Amazon I vaguely remembered it. I read the first review and knew then that I would have to read it myself. I am recently bereaved of both my father and my husband and was finding it difficult to believe I could ever really be happy again and what the reviewer wrote made me think the book would help me. It's not a miracle cure but it awakened my mind to the small things in life and I thought that, if perhaps I could enjoy my own garden (plant bulbs, tidy up the fallen leaves, etc.), I might start to see a light at the end of my dark tunnel. I have just finished the book and it really has helped me. It's a simple, uncomplicated story and I wholeheartedly recommend it.
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on 27 November 2017
A warning for those in hopes of obtaining this particular 1956 edition by The Reprint Society London with its dust cover illustrated by Ernest H Shepard. I read this book during the 1950's as a child & wanted to replace my very scruffy copy with this copy as shown with its dust jacket. Sadly the image of this book may not be delivered by one of the sellers despite being specified as this 1956 copy. I was sent another format 1986 Octopus books ltd which I had not wanted. (I've been extremely fortunate to recently secure an exact copy with its dust jacket from an antiquarian bookseller for a price far more that this one advertise!)
However despite my original disappointment I would urge you to obtain a copy that appeals to you for there are some editions with very nice illustrations too for this classic story is a wonderful read of a nostalgic world that has long disappeared. With the strong elements of children bonding with each other through animals & nature, the transformation of a hidden garden & the endearing company of the robin Frances Hodgson Burnett's story will appeal to any generation.
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on 22 November 2017
The rating is for the edition, not the story (wonderful book). I was looking for an attractive edition for my daughter but this is an odd and unappealing format - large pages, tiny marginals and no page breaks between chapters, just a line. Poor quality, cheap-looking cover too. Looks like an amateur publishing job - terrible. Asked for refund.
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on 24 August 2015
Reading this aloud to my ten year old daughter was a real treat. It truly is a timeless classic, perhaps Burnett's finest work. Emotions such as grief are delicately wrought while the horror of being a poverty stricken orphan in the 19th century is well brought out, with this section of the book lasting a lot longer than I expected it would. Despite concerted efforts to humiliate and break the spirit of our heroine, she retains her sense of self worth and so who could resist the ending she undoubtedly deserves. My little girl had no idea about the story and so met each unfolding episode with shock, tears, wonder and delight: finally declaring (and she's a tough one to please!), that it was the best story she'd ever read or heard. I didn't read it myself as a child, but as an adult I was surprised at how well the author controlled the potential for over-sentimentality: Sara remains believable and likeable throughout. As you can tell, I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
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on 8 April 2017
This is just an amazing book, full of hope and forgiveness. One to read when you feel 'all is lost'; I couldn't put it down!

My younger brother in NZ recommended it as it's one of his favourite books and as I was recovering from major back surgery needed something to distract me. Reading it got me through many a turbulent night. Interestingly, it also relates strongly to our early years of life when we were fortunate enough to end up living on two different walled-in gardens on Victorian estates. Both were neglected and in disrepair but through the loving and skilled hands of our parents and family were again producing beautiful flowers and bountiful crops for us and beyond.

Hope is in growth and creativity - take a 'leaf' out of this book and live....
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on 21 January 2013
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."
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 1 February 2018
I thought I had read this book as it is such a well-known and well-loved book. Both my children (now in their twenties) studied this at school but I never did.

I am so pleased that I have now added this book to my list of classics that I have read.

Mary Lennox has been orphaned in India and sent to live with her uncle, Archibald Craven, in a huge house on the Yorkshire moors. Mary is lonely and has always been ignored when she was in India, being brought up by a succession of ayahs and nurses.

This life seems to be continuing as her new guardian, apart from a cursory meeting, leaves Mary in the care of his housekeeper and a young maid, Martha. Again she has nothing to do or anyone to talk to apart from Martha but fortunately for Mary, Martha comes from a large, happy family and encourages Mary to chat. Mary becomes fascinated with this lively family and especially Martha’s brother, Dickon, who is 12 years old but has an amazing affinity with nature and nature’s creatures.

Mary decides to explore the garden and becomes fascinated with helping things to grow and weeding and planting. She hears the rumours surrounding the Craven family and discovers that there is a secret garden that has not been touched for 10 years ever since Mr Craven’s wife died in that garden. Quite by accident she discovers the key to this garden and decides to dedicate her days to bring it back to life.

After hearing crying in the middle of the night she discovers that Mr and Mrs Craven had a son, Colin, who thinks he is invalid and refuses to leave his bed. His father cannot bear to spend much time with him as it brings back too many painful memories of his wife.

Mary does not treat Colin as the invalid that he thinks he is and tells him to stop feeling sorry for himself, make an effort to go outside, breathe the fresh air and get involved with the garden. Dickon is enlisted to come and help and the children spend many happy hours planting and weeding with Dickon and the tame animals that he brings with him.

As time goes by both Mary and Colin have an amazing transformation; not only in their health but also their joy in life and if there is a moral intended, it would be that happiness is not necessarily down to possessions but just in the joy of nature.

This book was written in 1902 but like many enduring works of fiction, it is still relevant today and a lovely read. Sometimes we all need a little bit of happiness in our lives and this book provides this in abundance.


Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of the book to review
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on 11 January 2016
I'm not sure if I have ever read The Secret Garden before. I certainly can't remember doing so. But I got such a strong feeling of deja vu whilst reading it that I'm not sure anymore. It honestly felt like a reread, but I have seen the film countless times so it could be that coming through.

It was, however, still a lovely read. Heartwarming in its own way I suppose. The story is of course set in Yorkshire and the descriptions of the moor and the garden really make you feel like you are there. The story is told in the third person and I think this really helps these beautiful descriptions. I definitely don't think there would have been the same effect had the story being told in the first person.

Of course, I knew the story previously so I can't really comment on the predictability or anything. I will say that this was both nice and annoying. In a weird way, I didn't finish The Secret Garden as quick as I wanted to having already known the story. I really had to fight the urge to skip parts.

I didn't like Mary or Colin. They are both spoilt, bratty, awful children. Too used to getting their own way and downright rude. It's their way or no way. This did get slightly better throughout the story. But they still needed a slap of reality.

Anyone who likes animals is great in my book so of course I did really like Dickon. He is a genuinely nice, easy-going, lovable boy who would help anyone or anything. However, my brain hurt trying to understand what on earth he was saying. And then the other two starting speaking Yorkshire. I can generally understand the Yorkshire accent when spoken but this just had me thinking, for lack of a better word, "eh?".

Overall, The Secret Garden was a nice read. It's a classic so of course I would recommend it to everyone. Just prepare for bratty children and Yorkshire accents.
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on 15 July 2016
I loved this book as a child and my eight year old niece is now enjoying it. As many reviewers have said, it's a timeless classic. However, my review is for this edition, which isn't very nice, rather than the story which is great. The cover is quite unpleasant and my two nieces have discussed who the picture could be as it doesn't match the description of the heroine! The writing is tiny which is quite off putting and overall the quality is not that great. After only 18 pages the book is already looking quite worn. Somehow I just feel that this story deserves a beautiful edition and I think there are better ones available although a little more expensive.
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on 24 November 2015
I'm glad I bought this one for my young children rather than read them the original unabridged version. The original is very dense and I think my kids would have lost the plot a little if they read that. Only gripe with this is I spotted a typo or two. But I am so pleased with the way the Classic Starts series presents timeless classics to younger children, I have bought another when we finished this, and intend to buy quite a number of these to make up a collection that my kids can read by themselves. I would say these books are suitable for the average 7 to 9 year old but can also suit a more advanced 5 year old or an 11 year old who may not be a very confident reader. My kids love these so much. I'm enjoying reading many of these classics for the first time with my kids too, as when I was younger, I often avoided classics as I found the language in them too archaic and hence boring. These Classic Starts books however bring the story to life without omitting any important details and retaining as much of the original spirit of the language in the unabridged versions as possible without overwhelming younger readers.
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