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Monday, 16 November 2015

Childrens Book Review: Return To The Secret Garden by Holly Webb


SYNOPSIS
Return to Frances Hodgson Burnett's timeless classic, The Secret Garden, in this magical sequel by bestselling author Holly Webb.
It's 1939 and a group of children have been evacuated to Misselthwaite Hall.
Emmie is far from happy to have been separated from her cat and sent to a huge old mansion.
But soon she starts discovering the secrets of the house - a boy crying at night, a diary written by a girl named Mary, and a garden.
A very secret garden...

MY MUSINGS
A welcome return to one of my favourite classics is sure to weave its spell over a new generation. Set against the backdrop of World War Two it tells of a lonely orphan Emmie sent to Misselthwaite for safety. She is  isolated and desperately unhappy. Her only friend was a little stray cat which she was forced to leave behind in London. Holly Webb really captures the atmosphere of what it must have been like as a child to be sent away from home to 'safety' in the country. None of the children, orphan or otherwise knew what to expect. 

However Emmie is one of the lucky ones and despite pining for her cat there is a secret garden to be uncovered and a little robin to befriend. This is a book that can be read with or without reading the original story. For me however it was a delight to revisit old familiar characters and see what happened to them and what their future holds.  

The realities of war are never far away however heralding new beginnings and endings. Holly Webb had a great deal of courage to write a story that was truthful to its period while still retaining the magical idyll of The Secret Garden. I won't reveal any spoilers but there was an exceptionally sad part of the story that I recognised had to be told and understand why Holly wrote it this way. This only adds to the richness of the story and it does end with feelings of hope and new beginnings.  This is an atmospheric, beautiful read I thoroughly enjoyed and a worthy successor to the original.

 A beautiful gift to give to any little book worm. 
ISBN 9781407144856 Scholastic HB £8.99