Return to the Secret Garden by Holly Webb

Standalone. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (Nov. 1st, 2016) NetGalley
Return to the magic of Burnett's classic tale with a brand-new character as she discovers a very secret garden.

It's 1939, and the occupants of the Craven Home for Orphaned Children have been evacuated to Misselthwaite Hall, a fancy manor in the English countryside, to escape the Blitz. Emmie would hardly call the orphanage "home," but her heart breaks knowing that leaving Craven means leaving her beloved cat, Lucy. Away from everything she's ever known and trapped in imposing Misselthwaite, Emmie finds herself more miserable than ever.

But soon she starts discovering the secrets of the house-a boy who cries in the night, a diary written by a girl named Mary, and a garden. A very secret garden…

I absolutely loved the 1993 film version of The Secret Garden, My dad just bought it one day and thought I would like it. If I was smart I would have watched it right away. As I watched, I became mesmerized by that garden and the magic in it. I loved reading the original book too so I was really happy to see and read Return to the Secret Garden from a new author. 

Emmie is very much like our Mary. She's an orphan who has no friends other than a sullen cat she named Lucy. She's very skinny and always gets in trouble for the way she acts. Emmie follows in the footsteps of the original very closely which I don't mind too much. I enjoyed rediscovering the secret garden with fresh eyes. The secret garden isn't secret anymore but Emmie discover it because she needs the magic within. She finds a new life in Misselthwaite. She makes friends with a little robin and a boy she finds crying in the middle of the night - Jack. She transforms like Mary did while interacting with the original characters. 

The original characters - Mary, Colin, Dickon, and Martha - all make an appearance. It was bittersweet to see where in this version our original characters end up. I never really like it when characters age. They should stay the same always but I did like getting a glimpse of how one person sees these characters all grown up. There's a major event happening surrounding Emmie's arrival in Misselthwaite - WWII. The whole situation of them getting on trains to get out of London reminded me of Narnia. There was a lot of preparation and insight on what happened during those time which I found fascinating to read.                                                                                                                               I have to mention Lucy and her symbolism in this story. She's the first friend that Emmie makes. She starts being very skinny and wary of Emmie but is desperate enough to go to her because she's starving. They slowly create a bond but then Emmie has to leave her behind which crushes her. Their slow bond reminds me of the magic of the secret garden. Emmie and Lucy grow to depend on each other while the garden that she grows to depend on brings people towards Emmie to create new friendships. Lucy and Emmie are also very much alike.

I had fun exploring the secret garden once again. The original is of course the best but Return to the Secret Garden was such a wonderful story that brought back great memories with a new entertaining story and characters.

Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for letting me read and review Return to the Secret Garden in exchange for an honest review!


  1. This is an interesting concept. I don't know if I would like it or not...

    1. If you've seen or read the secret garden I'm sure you would like it (:

  2. I've never read The Secret Garden. I'm glad to hear this was a fun continuation of the story though, with a new MC.

    1. You should do it! I feel like I'm secretly a nature person so that's probably why I love the story so much.


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