Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Return to the Secret Garden” as Want to Read:
Return to the Secret Garden
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Return to the Secret Garden

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  471 ratings  ·  109 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 Young Readers (first published October 1st 2015)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  471 ratings  ·  109 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Return to the Secret Garden
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!)) ...more
Stephanie Fitzgerald
Nov 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Lovers of the original story; history buffs; elementary and middle-grade readers
To all lovers of the original “Secret Garden”:
Please Don’t Hate Me Because I Loved This Book!

I found this to be an excellent sequel to the original; loved the follow-up stories of Mary, Dickon, Colin, and Martha Sowerby. The WW2 setting made this a historical fiction read for me, and that’s my favorite time to read about in history. The author did a marvelous job showing what the London evacuees and their caretakers felt as they got the news bulletins about the Blitz, and watched loved ones go t
3 stars.

Firstly, I need to point out that I do not think that is a bad book or that it is a bad book based on the writing. Its a bad book based on my nostalgia.

Im left feeling drained from my emotions about this book. Im struggling to give it 3 stars because I am so torn.

On one hand, the story itself, if it had NOT been a sequel would have been quite good! Written during World War 2, this MG story was done well. I liked Emmie. I LOVED her love for Lucy the kitty. The story of the orphans going t
Nov 08, 2015 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
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Nov 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had some hesitation about there being characters from The Secret Garden in this book, and can't say I completely loved where that went, but I did really like this book. In particular it captured a lot of the magic of that garden and house (Misselthwaite Manor) which was wonderful. And I loved the characters Emmie, Jack and Lucy the cat. I think Holly Webb wrote this with a lot of love for the original and that comes through and is appreciated!
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 Bu
Carla Johnson-Hicks
Oct 24, 2016 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 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.
Katherine Sunderland
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
S.J. Higbee
Nov 02, 2016 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
Jun 06, 2017 rated it liked it
First sentence: The children marched down the street in a long line of twos, and only one of them looked back.

Premise/plot: Emmie Hatton, our heroine, is an orphan. The book opens--in London, 1939--with her orphanage being evacuated to the countryside. All are sent to Misselthwaite Manor. Emmie is upset. You might think naturally so. After all, the children are being sent to the countryside for their safety, in anticipation of London being bombed. It's not just orphans facing this potentially tr
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 06, 2016 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
Heather Lawson
Nov 07, 2015 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 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
Nov 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3stars
"Emmie ducked right beneath the trails of ivy and stepped into the secret garden."

I decided to read this sequel by Holly Webb after reading the much-loved classic. I enjoyed the idea of children being evacuated to Misselthwaite and a child discovering the garden and Mary's story but the characters Emmie and Jack were recycled versions of Mary and Colin.

I couldn't warm up to Emmie like I did with Mary and found it slow, to begin with. I only continued for the sake of Dickon, Mary and Colin. I per
Feb 02, 2017 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. ...more
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
What a sweet book taking you right back to The Secret Garden. There were similarities to the original, but enough changes that it made the story new! This was well written for its audience, and I am so glad I heard about it!
A Bit of Earth
Jun 06, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Had this been its own story with no connection to The Secret Garden whatsoever, it would have likely been alright. Emmie was a likable protagonist, and I loved Jack's character! The one star I had to give this book is for him! (view spoiler) However, the entire book left me asking, Has Holly Webb ever actually read "The Secret Garden"? I'm probably a bit biased because The Secret Garden is my all-time favorite book, but I am ...more
Joey Susan
Oh my this was utterly beautiful, The Secret Garden is my favourite book in the whole world and when I found out about this book I was hesitant but also really wanted to explore the garden once more. I had no idea what this was about or if I would enjoy it or connect to it at all. I was pleasantly and happily surprised that I did.

Emmie is an orphan living in an orphanage in London, but during the war she and the 20 children and three staff members are moved to Misselthwaite Manor to avoid being
It's 1939, and Emmie lives in an orphan home in London, the oldest girl there and her only friend a stray cat. With the coming of war, the children are evacuated to their founder's home, Misselthwaite Manor in Yorkshire, though Emmie is forced to leave her cat Lucy behind. Although Mrs. Craven and the housekeeper, Miss Sowerby, are warm and welcoming, Emmie hates the manor at first (she pretty much hates everything anyway). She particularly hates ten-year-old Jack Craven, who loathes his home be ...more
Sylvie Gold
Sep 12, 2021 rated it liked it
Inspired by Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic, "The Secret Garden," this story takes place almost 30 years later, when another skinny, unloved orphan girl, Emmie, is evacuated at the begiinning of WWII from London to Misselthwaite Manor with the rest of the residents and staff of the orphanage which was apparently founded by Archibald Craven after Colin's recovery. It is a worthy follow-up in many ways. I read this book right after rereading "The Secret Garden," so all the characters and circums ...more
Belles Middle Grade Library
I really enjoyed this! However, I think it had some big shoes to fill, & could never be the same as the original. I loved The Secret Garden. It left me feeling joyful, & full of magic & hope. This gave me some of the same feels, but it left me more sad than anything. There’s something sad that happens that I didn’t care for at all, & I think took away some of the magic from the original. There were a couple happy things pushed onto the last couple pages that I which were given more page time. Th ...more
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
I enjoyed it a lot, mostly because I have re-read The Secret Gardens a bizzilion times and so was utterly fascinated by revisiting it through another lonely grumpy orphan girl's eyes. As a result I have no ability to form a distant critical opionion of the book and have no idea of those who do not have Secret Garden practically memorized will like it or nor. I had a few quibbles with where Holly Webb took the original characters--Dickon is grumpier and Colin nicer than I would have made them. Ma ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
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
« previous 1 3 4 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Gilded Girl
  • The Hatmakers
  • The Worst Witch (Worst Witch, #1)
  • First Term at Malory Towers (Malory Towers, #1)
  • ...And a Happy New Year? (The Spinster Club, #3.5)
  • Malamander (The Legends of Eerie-on-Sea, #1)
  • Small Persons with Wings
  • The Whispers in the Walls (Scarlet and Ivy, #2)
  • Flitterwig (Flitterwig, #1)
  • Clearheart (Flitterwig #2)
  • The Lost Twin (Scarlet and Ivy #1)
  • The Land of Roar
  • Mary Poppins and the House Next Door (Mary Poppins, #6)
  • Saving Shiloh (Shiloh, #3)
  • The Last Holiday Concert
  • The Curious Adventures of Jimmy McGee
  • My Louisiana Sky
  • The Trouble with Perfect (Perfect, #2)
See similar books…
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

Related Articles

  Tami Charles is a former teacher and the author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As a teacher, she made...
46 likes · 63 comments
“I wish he would make friends with me. I don't think I have ever had a friend and I should like one.” 0 likes
“But in my secret garden, I am only me and no one minds.” 0 likes
More quotes…