Book Reviews by NBPL Teens

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Review by Anna

Post Date:05/24/2023

the secret garden book cov

Mary Lennox had not grown up in an environment of love, but rather neglect. In this surrounding toxicity, it was only fair that she grew up to be dependent on the ones surrounding her. Yet, when the rise of cholera spreads, all of whom she had once before, left. In her novel The Secret Garden Frances Hodgson Burnett displays the overwhelming need of love for a child to thrive.


After cholera had spread to most parts of India, Mary found herself aboard on a journey towards her uncle’s manor. Everything about the destination was different than what she was used to. Instead of her Ayah and servants carrying out all the needs ordered by her, a housemaid named Martha allows Mary to try things by herself. In ordered time, Mary then meets her cousin Colin who is ill and mistreated due to the belief in his lack of strength.


Two broken children from a lack of love and full of loneliness find each other in none other than a secret garden. As Mary begins to become entangled with the beauty of the garden, she finds herself caring and finding pleasure within the fields of nature. Stringing along Colin, he also begins to see the beauty of life and the possibilities of happiness it brings along.


Two broken children were beginning to heal with the help of empathy, new surroundings, perspectives, and nature.


Reading this novel was a delight. I was especially intrigued with the overlaying plot of the book as well as the character development of both Mary and Colin. Burnett’s use of words illustrates an image of how lost children were without love before finding each other and building trust as well as friendship. I especially enjoyed the message of allowing oneself to heal over time with use of a new environment and outlook of the world. Even taken from the accounts of the stories of children, this novel was able to create so much depth and meaning behind the individual characteristics of each character.


The setting of the novel and historic events also gave awareness of how these events may have impacted certain characters and situations, leading to the increase of understanding for this book.


The novel has a fantastic overarching storyline, yet in between certain parts it was hard to comprehend. Especially in the writing style of old English, understanding some of the events was hard to process. Enjoying the novel was more difficult in some areas due to the lack of interesting components which may make the novel appear as a boring read. Yet despite this, The Secret Garden offers an insightful overall message and moments of relation. 

The Secret Garden is definitely worth the read. The character developments of the main protagonists, the plot, messages, and setting contribute to the intriguing components of the novel. Although some parts may be hard to understand, it is a very absorbing work that captures the reader’s attention from the very start to the end of the story. It gives the audience much to reflect and connect towards after seeing the journey of Mary and Colin. I highly recommend this novel towards anyone who is craving an eye opening journey. The Secret Garden is worth all the hype and praise!



Check out the Secret Garden from NBPL. 

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