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Return to the Secret Garden

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  142 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
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
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published November 1st 2016 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (first published October 1st 2015)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Cait (Paper Fury)
I think watching a tulip grow would've been more interesting than this. WOAH WAS IT BORING. And I fully admit I don't read a lot of middle-grade anymore because it often doesn't click with me (although I recently read The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart and A+++ amazingness...proof that I still can enjoy MG!), but even 12-year-old-Past-Cait would've been bored stupid with this. Literally nothing happens except a disagreeable girl cries about her cat and trims roses. I'm still struggling to figure ...more
Bee (Heart Full of Books)
Too much cat related side-plot, but it captures /some/ of the original's essence. Sidetone: Did Mary marry Colin? She's supposed to be with Dicken! (Though that opinion is heavily influenced by The Misselthwaite Archives web series (one of my favourites!))
Nov 08, 2015 imyril rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a perfectly fine children's book and will no doubt find an audience amongst those who are less strongly of the opinion that a sequel is a thing you read straight after reading the original.

Featuring another spiky young heroine in orphan Emmie Hatton (evacuated during WW2 from the Craven Home for Orphaned Children to Misselthwaite Manor), the first half of the novel follows closely in the classic's footsteps as Emmie befriends a gardener and a robin and explores the manor. If you're look
Nov 17, 2016 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
Since I've yet to finish a book yet this year, I thought it was a good time to go ahead and work on the reviews that I never had a chance to post last year. Which, especially in the case of Return to the Secret Garden, is a shame. This book was absolutely adorable, and I wish I'd been on top of my reviews enough to give it the pre-release love that it deserved. On the bright side, hopefully I'm reminding some of you out there of its existence, and it will scoot up your reading lists after this r ...more
Trish at Between My Lines
. This review was originally posted on Between My Lines

Is there any book that you love as much as the books that you loved in your childhood?  For me I think not, those early books have nestled into my bookish heart and I can't logically review them as I'm all wrapped up in feels for them.  But a sequel (hello Return to the Secret Garden by Holly Webb) to one of those books is fair game!

My Thoughts on Return to the Secret Garden by Holly Webb:

I adore The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnet
Carla Johnson-Hicks
Oct 24, 2016 Carla Johnson-Hicks rated it really liked it
It has been a long time since I read "The Secret Garden" but as I read this, a lot of it came back to me. This is a sequel but it is written in a different style and much more child friendly. Holly Webb has this story take place in 1939 when a group of orphans have been evacuated from London and are now living in Misselthwaite Hall. The theme of being abandoned and forced to move somewhere new and foreign is the same feeling that Emmie has in this book as Mary did in the original.

Emmie, the mai
Jul 04, 2016 Stargazer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-under-12s
it was ok, but for me, not a patch on the original.
Apr 14, 2016 Katherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is as magical as the original story by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Webb has placed her sequel in 1939 which is really effective as it presents a believable way to bring children back to Misselthwaite Hall with the same sense of abandonment, a search for family and a need to belong that Mary had in "The Secret Garden". It is also effective as the whole concept of being taken away from the city and deposited in the middle of the countryside in a big rambling old house is very appealing to childr ...more
Laurie - The Baking Bookworm
I want to preface this review by saying that the original classic novel, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, is my all-time favourite childhood book. That meant that going into this newer version I had reservations and anticipation in equal measure.

Webb undertakes a huge responsibility to readers who loved the original as she continues the story of the garden and its next generation of admirers. I enjoyed how Webb incorporated Emmie's story within the backdrop of WWII which was such a
Heather Lawson
Nov 07, 2015 Heather Lawson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted here:
I’ll admit that I have never actually read the original Secret Garden, but I absolutely adored the movie adaptation when I was a child. After reading this book, I had a strong urge to re-watch it as well. I was thrilled when I learned about this book and was intrigued to see what direction Webb would take it in.

When Emmie and the other orphan children are forced to evacuate from their London
A big Did Not Finish at 25%.

First, let me say that I loved the original Secret Garden. Great book. Probably a little preachy, but a wonderful story, none the less.

But this book. Oh this book. I tried. I tried so hard to love the little girl and her story in this book. I tried to take this revision, set in the early days of World War II, for what it was, a simple take on the original story, told about 20 years later. It tried to give me everything I had before. There is the grumpy gardner, check
3.5 stars

It's 1939, and among the hundreds of children being evacuated from London are 20 from the Craven Home for Orphaned Children. Emmie is more dissatisfied than most, and with good reason, but you immediately feel a sympathetic bond with this little girl who's compared so unfavorably to others.

I don't think you'd have to read The Secret Garden first - this could probably stand on its own - but you'd miss much of the charm, as Emmie discovers that the past is not so very different from the p
Jan farnworth
Nov 07, 2016 Jan farnworth rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting this treasured place in literature and move classics from my childhood. I totally enjoy the side story with the cat and the sweetness that the dad brought the cat back to Emmie. The description of the gardens and finding the dairies and emmie slowly discovering that the characters are real people that she interacts with everyday. Now of course since this is a different author the story may not totally go the way we all would like but that what happens when you bor ...more
Feb 02, 2017 Leah rated it it was ok
This was a tough book for me to finish; it was quite disappointing. It was, in my opinion, so boring. I didn't like the characters either. I couldn't connect with them. It was nice to have the original MCs in this book, but I didn't they weren't involved enough in the story. The garden was the best thing about this story, but that was my favorite thing about the original, too. Also, I thought the ending was too abrupt. I expected more for the ending and the book as a whole.
Oct 06, 2016 Adriana rated it really liked it
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 alw
Cindy Mitchell
Webb, Holly Return to the Secret Garden, 240 pages. Sourcebook Jabberwocky, 2016. $17. Content: G.

Emmie and the other orphans are being evacuated from London because of the War and the bombings, sent off to a manor house near the moors. Emmie was forced to leave behind Lucy, the stray cat she befriended and is having a hard time settling in to the new place. When she finds a diary written by a long ago little girl who was also lonely. Emmie follows the clue and finds the garden.

I don’t want to g
Oct 23, 2016 Elizabeth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
Ehhh. It just couldn't match the magic and wonder of the original. Also, if the author was trying to be coy about who "Mrs. Craven," "Mr. Craven," and "Mr. Sowerby" were, she failed. Also the ending was kind of weird in that it seemed like there should be more to the ending.
Michelle Toy
This review was originally posted on

I was swept away by this books characters, story and charm. I loved every minute of reading it and it left me with warm butterflies fluttering about my tummy for hours afterwards.

Return To The Secret Garden is about a girl called Emmie and is set in 1939. Because of the war Emmie is evacuated from her orphanage in London before the planes fly over and drop their gas on the city, along with the other children who live in the orphanage
Dec 23, 2016 Suz rated it really liked it
If you've ever read Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden, you will recognize the setting immediately. But author Holy Webb also captures the feeling of the first book - the prickly orphan girl who has been brought to Misselthwaite, the grumpy boy who lives there and resents having to share his home, and the incredible secret garden behind the manor house. For those who are not familiar with the original story, this book does just as well as a stand alone, so don't worry.

It is the eve of
Mar 11, 2017 AwesomePerson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mar 02, 2017 Joanna added it
When I checked this from the library (digital and the Secret Garden thing should have given it away) I did not know it was a children's book however I enjoyed it immensely. It was a quick read, one evening. A nice follow up to the original The Secret Garden with some sad moments, although altogether not as grim as the original.
SJ Higbee
Nov 02, 2016 SJ Higbee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Emmie is certainly a worthy successor to poor, spoilt Mary Lennox. She has edges that have nothing to do with being unduly pampered – quite the opposite in fact. While the adults around her are quite tough with her, I did like the fact that the people running the orphanage aren’t depicted as evilly intent on crushing the spirit of their charges. While their form of punishment may jar with modern norms, at the time it wasn’t uncommon for children to be regularly slapped or beaten with a slipper o ...more
Maia Moore
Sep 16, 2015 Maia Moore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Original review posted here

I interviewed Holly Webb on writing a sequel to The Secret Garden a few weeks ago, and it made me really excited to read her book, so of course I couldn’t pass up the opportunity of a review tour!

It must tricky writing a sequel to such a well known classic, and I can see why Webb chooses to focus on a new set of characters rather than picking up where the first book left off. We get a whole new story in the same setting, but also get to find out what happened to our fa
Aug 08, 2016 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. My mom used to read to me all the time when I was growing up - The Secret Garden is one of my favorite books we read together. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and being able to say that this book lives up to the original really means something.

The book is set at the onset of WWII, and orphans from Craven House are evacuated to Mistlethwaite manor. Emmie is miserable - she does not like the manor, and there are no other children her age ex
Jan 19, 2017 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a child, I can remember reading A Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett and falling in love with the secret garden and it’s ability to heal the broken. When NetGalley allowed me to read an ARC of Return to the Secret Garden by Holly Webb, I hoped that again I’d find the magic of the secret garden still there. I was not disappointed. This again is a story for children but it still holds to the same high standards of the original classic. The story begins with a group of orphans being evacua ...more
Gem Routledge
Aug 03, 2015 Gem Routledge rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Scholastic sent me a parcel of several books, and as soon as I saw this one I knew I had to read it first as the original Secret Garden is one, of my all time favourite books, and one I always recommend to people.
This book is set in 1939 and a group of orphans are evacuated from to Mislethwaite Manor in Yorkshire. Emmie is the main character, and she is fantastic! She shares similar traits to Mary in that she is feisty, brave and knows her own mind, and upon discovering some old diaries in her
Nov 04, 2016 Jingle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Rating: 3 Stars

The Secret Garden has always been a childhood favorite of mine, along with A Little Princess. It's provided me a safe haven of imaginings and security, and so I guess it was a bad choice on my part to read the sequel.

Holly Webb writes this story, mind you, as best I think someone can write a children's sequel to the classic. But Emmie seems to only a milder version of Mary, and Mary herself has lost her spark—what I loved her most for. Sweet, mysterious Dick
Faye {Daydreaming_Star}
Ten Reasons to Read Return to the Secret Garden

It’s a beautifully written and wonderful book that you’re guaranteed to love.

The themes of the first book come through in the sequel so well.

It will make you feel so many emotions, and eventually leave you feeling full of hope and happiness.

The characters are strong, relatable and easy to fall in love with.

The secret garden is beautiful and really envokes an atmosphere of hope.

It was really great to read about the characters again and see where ther
Jul 28, 2016 KJ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I started reading this book, I found it hard to put down. The characters are wonderful. Using mostly their actions and a few words it's easy to tell what kind of characters they are. The author used them in a way that they didn't have to be endlessly described. The story is a continuation of The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I liked the way the characters from the Secret Garden are introduced into this story along with the history of what has happened to them since their last a ...more
Jul 15, 2016 Janice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
During WWII, Emmie Hatton is an orphan at the Craven Home for Orphaned Children. She like many children during that time is evacuated to the country. For her it’s Misselthwaite Manor, where she discovers a diary in her room. The diary leads her to a secret garden. As she starts to care for the overgrown garden, she starts to change. Emmie had been a very unhappy child without much purpose. The garden gives her a sense of place and belonging.

She has lost her one friend, back in London, a small b
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Holly Webb is the author of Dog Magic, Cat Magic, and Lost in the Snow. She has always loved animals and owns two very spoiled cats. They haven't said a word to her yet, but she's always listening, just in case! She lives in England.
More about Holly Webb...

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