Goodreads Synopsis – The plot centers round Mary Lennox, a young English girl who returns to England from India, having suffered the immense trauma by losing both her parents in a cholera epidemic. However, her memories of her parents are not pleasant, as they were a selfish, neglectful and pleasure-seeking couple. Mary is given to the care of her uncle Arhibald Craven, whom she has never met. She travels to his home, Misselthwaite Manor located in the gloomy Yorkshire, a vast change from the sunny and warm climate she was used to. When she arrives, she is a rude, stubborn and given to stormy temper tantrums. However, her nature undergoes a gradual transformation when she learns of the tragedies that have befallen her strict and disciplinarian uncle whom she earlier feared and despised. One when he’s away from home, Mary discovers a charming walled garden which is always kept locked. The mystery deepens when she hears the sounds of sobbing from somewhere within her uncle’s vast mansion. The kindly servants ignore her queries or pretend they haven’t heard, spiking Mary’s curiosity.
My Thoughts – I enjoyed reading this book, but I’m going to admit from the start that it is not one of my favourites, it was alright. I think that the first half of the book was a little slow, and I was tempted to DNF it, but I continued and enjoyed the second half of the book much more. I think the ending was very fitting and it was exactly how I expected it to end.
At the start Mary is a very unlikable character, she is very upper class and expects everything to be done for her and she is very unchildlike for her age. As the book goes on, you start to see her change and she becomes much more likable and her childlike innocence is apparent. I had similar feelings towards Colin too, I found him to be unlikable and set in his ways. He has a very negative view of the world when we first meet him and gradually you start to see how he changes as he gets to know Mary and the garden.
There are some subtle racist comments hidden throughout the book, meaning that it is likely that children won’t pick up on this consciously. It makes reference to the colour black being bad and white being good, which may reinforce some racist ideas. But there is direct references to being accepting of other cultures, which goes against the subtle racism.
It is a very timely book to read at the moment as it makes reference to an epidemic and Mary comes to England from India. Overall, it was an enjoyable book, but I won’t be rushing to re-read it again.