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Editorial Reviews

This beautifully produced children's classic is narrated by the talented Josephine Bailey, whose voice is musical and elegant. This story of two lonely children finding happiness through their mutual delight in tending a neglected garden includes much dialogue, and Bailey transitions seamlessly from one character's voice to another. She easily distinguishes petulant Mary from fretful cousin Colin and captures the nuances of their wide-ranging, passionate emotions. Bailey's rendition of Colin's tantrum and the cousins' reconciliation is breathtaking. Her good-hearted Dicken, with his broad Yorkshire accent, and gruff Ben Weatherstaff are equally excellent. There are numerous productions of this story, but Bailey's is surely one of the best. Her sensitive narration makes every minute fly.

Publisher's Summary

When Mary Lennox's parents die from cholera in India, the spoiled orphan is transplanted to her uncle's 600-year-old gloomy and secretive estate in England. She is certain that she is destined for misery at Misselthwaite Manor. When Mary meets the old groundskeeper, he is the first to tell her what he thinks of her: "We was wove out of th' same cloth. We're neither of us good lookin' an' we're both of us as sour as we look. We've got the same nasty tempers, both of us, I'll warrant."

However, she soon discovers an arched doorway into an overgrown garden, locked shut since the death of her aunt 10 years earlier. Fate grants Mary access to the secret garden and she begins transforming it into a thing of beauty, unaware that she too is changing.

©2003 Tantor Media, Inc. Originally published 1911.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    1,432
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    354
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    89
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    25
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Performance

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
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    1,292
  • 4 Stars
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  • 3 Stars
    65
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    8
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Story

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
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    290
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  • 2 Stars
    18
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  • Overall

Wow, what a great story!

I don't know how I missed reading this when I was young, but I sure am glad I finally did. This story, about 3 young children, is positively a must read. It is a wonderful example of the benefits of goodness. If you haven't already read it, please give it a try. If it's been a while since you read it, it's worth another read!
The reader did a wonderful job.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • L.W.
  • orlando FL
  • 10-14-15

really loved the yorkshire! perfect!

the narration was phenomenal and the yorkshire accent was wonderful! my daughter and I loved listening!

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A magical getaway

It is undoubted that the book is a wonderful one. Burnett has an uncanny way of taking you into the mind of the characters so as to give you a full understanding of them. I also like that use of language isn't dull but isn't so extravagant that you stop believing that the story could be about a little girl. He uses just the right use of language when writing from behind each character's eyes.

As for the narrator, I love her. Her crisp accent and gentle affliction in her voice makes you feel as if you could be a small child listening to a parent or teacher read to you as you lie on the rug in front of her. Her accent also adds to the ambiance of the story, with wonderful use of dialects and those learning dialects.

I would recommend this book to anyone, young or old, looking for a magical getaway.

27 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

The audio adds so much!

What made the experience of listening to The Secret Garden the most enjoyable?

I am an old fan of the book, but listening to it was even better - the Yorkshire accents were a delight, and the confrontations between Mary and Colin made me laugh out loud! My kids (8 and 10) enjoyed it very much as well, and kept asking to turn it back on.

What does Josephine Bailey bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Loved Josephine Bailey as a narrator. In particular, listening to the Yorkshire accent is much more pleasant than reading the "dialect" form in the book. I thought she did an excellent job, particularly with the children's voices.

21 of 23 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

The Secret Garden

I was looking for a simple story to listen to before bed. Remembering my mother reading this to me 50 years ago I chose it. I guess I had forgotten most of the story or as a child I could not appreciate the spiritual aspects of this novel because it seemed like more than a story about a garden reclaimed. It truly is magical. The reader fascinated me with her Yorkshire dialect. Also I learn a thing or two about gardening. It failed to help me fall asleep. Highly recommend this magical book.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Enjoyed it even more as an adult

This was one of my favorite stories growing up and I found a new level of enjoyment listening to it as an adult with my children. It's a beautiful story and sure to enthrall any child with its unusual characters and emphasis on nature. The reader is superb and we loved her Yorkshire accent. I found the book to be funnier than I remembered as a child - in part because it's read so well. When the book ended there was silence and misty-eyes all around.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Couldn't love it more

SO much better than the movies. lotened to it every day while I worked in mY garden. Delightful.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

delightful listen

I read this book when I was a child, how lovely to revisit it in this format. Lush descriptions of simple joy and reminders that we all create the type of life we want, you have the power to change your perception merely by changing your thoughts.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Excellent recording, beautiful story

This is one of my favorite books from childhood which has also become a favorite of my daughter's. We loved this recording to which we have listened several times as the narrator is terrific, reads at a perfect speed with excellent expression and really captures the beauty of the story and the characters. For anyone trying to interest a child in reading there are few authors who have remained as enchanting through so many generations as Frances Hodgson Burnett!

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Kelly
  • Colorado Springs
  • 07-10-16

Beautiful & Magical Story - Not Only for Children

Somehow I made it to the age of 53 without ever reading this lovely story. I am so glad that I finally made the time!

Yes, the book is a bit too predictable and perfect. The snippy and sassy little girl softens; the sickly and angry young boy grows healthy, strong and forgiving; the lonely man learns to love again. Normally I do not like characters who are too good, storylines that are too predictable, or resolutions that are too pretty. And yet, I unreservedly give this book 5 stars. Why?

The writing is delicious. It is easy to picture the dusty old mansion and the once lovely garden. It is easy to make friends with with characters, and it is easy to transport back into the wonders of childhood. This is all true because of the lovely words written my Ms. Hodgson Burnett. Flawless. And so, though the elements should add up to disappointment for this reader, they instead led to a joyful experience.

I loved Josephine Bailey's treatment. For me her accent seemed perfect -- though I must admit I know next to nothing about what is an appropriate Yorkshire accent. I loved the various voices she used for the main characters. And I felt she basically disappeared into the story when reading as the narrator. Listening to her read this book was sublime.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful