Book Review: The Secret GardenĀ 

The Secret Garden by France’s Hodgson Burnett

Ah, what a sweet and lovely way to wander into Autumn, than with a book about a truly magical garden. 

The story starts with Mary Lennox, as spoiled and sour child, living in India, like a princess, whom at the age of 10 cannot even dress oneself. Through circumstances beyond her control , she is taken in by her Uncle and is sent to England to live with him. She eventually meets her cousin, Colin Craven, who is in fact a worse child than herself, and has been told repeatedly he is going to die.

As she begins to explore her new home, and stately gardens at Misselthwaite Manor, she meets some very interesting characters, (human and animal) and learns about how happy life can be as a normal, healthy child. To see the garden come back to life , to observe the ‘moor’through each season, as seen through a child’s eyes, who has very little himself, but has such joy in his heart ( Dickon Sowerby), it is hard not to be captured by this old classic story. 

My favourite character: The Robyn.

Notes: Slow to start, keep with it, it’s truly worth it. The Yorkshire English dialogue may pull the young reader out of the story. 

Suitable for ages 10 and up.  



Writing 101: Day Sixteen: Secret Writing

This is not exactly meeting Day 16 prompt, but I’m going with what inspires me. I’ve recently discovered micro writing. (More on this interesting subject in another post.)

However it does follow the thread of my story from Day 5: Be Brief. If you would like to read it here. .

Jean rushes down the street, her heels almost catching between the cracks in the pavement.

Knocking on the door, checking the envelope again and again to ensure she has the correct number. After what seems an age, a beautifully dressed lady answers the door.

‘I’m very sorry to disturb you Mam, it’s just , I found this , well rather it found me.’ She hands the letter to the lady. ‘I thought you should have it, is this your son?’

The lady clutched the door handle, and steadied herself, hand to her heart. ‘Both my boys went to war, some would say I’m lucky , one returned. Won’t you come inside out of the wind dear, and I’ll explain.’

Jean was late for her bus home, another bus would be past soon. She was intrigued by this beautiful, yet mysterious woman, and hoped the young man in the letter had survived to return home to his mother.

‘Alright, thank you, as long as I’m not imposing?’ She said politely.

The lady put the kettle on the stove, lit a cigarette and offered one to Jean.

‘No thank you, I’m asthmatic.’

The lady quickly butts out her own. ‘Tea?’

‘My name is Jean Simpson, nice to meet you.’ Taking a sip of her tea from the delicate tea cup.

‘My name is Ingrid Butler. I know my son wrote this letter. More importantly to the Government is what is written on the back of this stamp.’ Ingrid proceeds to the stove and holds the letter over the boiling steam from the kettle.

Jean wonders why she hasn’t pulled the letter out. Wouldn’t this letter be more important to a grieving mother, than some sort of code the Government has an interest in?

Ingrid grabs the magnifying glass from the side cabinet and begins to read.

‘Ah, yes, my boy, you’ve found it! My smart, clever boy. You’ve been through so much, yet you found it!’ She’d almost forgotten the young girl was standing there, looking shocked, yet intrigued at the same time.

‘I need your help.’ Ingrid asked Jean, suddenly.

‘My help? You hardly know me, what can I possibly do to assist you?’ Jean said, emphatically.

‘If I tell you what my son has found, and where I’m about to go, you might think differently.’


My daughter and I have made some lovely notebooks over the weekend. I’m thinking of making lots of them for gifts, and personalising them for each recipient.

I think it’s really important to write about your life. My Grandmothers were a great influence in my life, my Grandfathers both served in World War Two. I feel I owe it to all of my grandparents to honour their lives, and to write it down. Every single life means something.

I need to categorise, so I’m making a journal to write all my childhood memories. Wonderful times spent with parents, grandparents and how they shaped my life. I will have a page that will take the reader through their homes. A sort of sensory journey. I still remember everything so vividly.

Then I have another notebook for daydreaming, whatever I need to put down. This usually occurs before bedtime, so it rests on my side cupboard, ready to go. Beautiful quotes, a sentence from a radio interview, or a movie. Whatever inspires me, moves me, and maybe I can use in future writing projects.

My daughter made a memory book of moments that mean something to her.

So, dear readers, how many notebooks do you have, and what do you use them for?