Return to the Secret Garden
By Holly Webb
Published by Scholastic
ISBN 978 1 407144 85 6
What exactly is the point of a sequel? If a sequence of novels is planned from the start as a series because the story is too big to be told in one book, like Harry Potter, Twilight or The Hunger Games, it makes sense. But if a second part is tagged onto a successful standalone work, especially many years after the original, it all seems a bit suspicious and money-grabbing. when that book has been a success, things get a bit suspicious and dangerous.
Given the title of the book, it’s hardly a spoiler to say that Emmie, Webb’s heroine, discovers the secret garden while exploring the manor grounds, just like Mary Lennox did in the original.
While exploring the manor grounds, Emmie finds the door to the garden, and She also finds Mary’s diaries, meets most of the cast of the original, who have aged, and in various shapes and forms. She copes very well when Webb drops a (fairly predictable) bombshell into the plot.
Readers don’t need to have read The Secret Garden to follow andget drawn into this new offering, but it would certainly help and mean more if they had. On the other hand, Return to the Secret Garden will enchant readers who don’t know the original, and if they do then pick up Hodgson Burnett’s truly magical story, they’ll be even more amazed by the classic.
And if Webb’s book encourages modern readers to seek out the 1911 novel, that’s a job well done.
John Millen can be contacted on MillenBookshelf@aol.com