The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, A New Favorite

I practically jumped with excitement upon realizing the probability that my December's wrap up is not going to be as deserted as I initially assumed earlier this month. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett has officially become my fifth book in 'tis season and I'm thrilled to announce that I've finally come to find another classic book to add to the short favorite list of mine.

"It made her think that it was curious how much nicer a person looked when he smiled. She had not thought of it before."

The Secret Garden follows the story of a rude and stubborn little girl called Mary Lennox who has to live with her unknown uncle in England after losing both of her parents in a cholera epidemic. Mary is used to getting everything she wanted from her Ayah and servants who worked for her family in India, and because her parents never actually had anything to do with her, Mary is a little indifferent towards the fact that she has no one now, except that she has to do things her own like wearing her clothes and tying the shoes herself.

Misselthwaite Manor is such an odd place to live in. While Mary feels a little annoyed with the cheerful maid her age called Martha, she is ultimately drawn to the charm of the idea that there's a secret garden in there. From Martha, Mary finds out that the door to the secret garden has been locked for ten years with the key being buried in who-knows-where. When finally Mary finds her way to go in, nature transforms her into someone she didn't know she could be. Before she knows it, she's not only uncovering the secret of the garden, but also the mysterious sob somewhere in the manor in the middle of the night.

The Secret Garden started out a little too draggy for me but thankfully I did enjoy the style and the pace as much as I loved the setting and the characters at some point. I'll admit, Mary was a difficult character to like at first. Her tantrums were quite obnoxious at times though honestly it was the sole reason why I was very much eager to come upon her character development. Dare I say it didn't disappoint at all. How the garden played such a significant role was quite unique and I found it interesting that we got to see how Mary grew from a very ignorant kid to actually be rather likable.

I especially adored her friendship with Colin the most. There's not an ounce of doubt in my part that the turmoil in it strengthened each of them as individuals and I'd love to talk about it all day. I don't have it in me to bore you though, so let's just conclude that I liked how their friendship brought out the best of each other. It's heartwarming to witness the way the magic weaseled its way through the garden and bloomed such big hope in Colin's heart.

While the descriptive passages made me wonder about how beautiful the secret garden must be, after weighing all my options, I would say that the aspect I loved the most in this book was still the characters. Don't get me wrong, the setting was magical and lively albeit... a little ordinary compared to how I had originally guessed, and even when I loved and very much wanted to visit the manor myself, (side) characters like Dickon, Martha, and even their mother captured my heart more. This book was quite full of lovely surprises. I certainly hadn't expected to adore the vibes this much.

Overall, I considered The Secret Garden a beautiful and heartwarming classic book. The ending was quite fast in contrast to the pace of the first part but all in all it's very uplifting and lovely. I'm now intrigued to try A Little Princess too. Maybe I'll enjoy it as much as I did this book.

Actual rating: 3.9