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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

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    1,757
  • 4 Stars
    422
  • 3 Stars
    110
  • 2 Stars
    29
  • 1 Stars
    25

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    1,578
  • 4 Stars
    323
  • 3 Stars
    85
  • 2 Stars
    13
  • 1 Stars
    20

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,533
  • 4 Stars
    354
  • 3 Stars
    88
  • 2 Stars
    22
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    26
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

31 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

23 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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!

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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!

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A childhood favorite

I enjoyed this book so much as a child, so it was lovely to re-visit the story as an adult. Hearing it filtered through a "mature" perspective revealed things I hadn't remembered, most particularly the rather heavy dose in the later chapters when " the magic" took over the narrative. It was a bit heavy-handed, rather like a lesson on positive thinking. Not a bad message for children, but it wasn't very subtle. Still, a charming story and delightfully narrated.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Audio Quality Poor

The quality of the audio recording on this book is poor, and the editing of the individual audio files was far from seamless, but the story was lovely, and the narrator did a wonderful job.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jimmie
  • Hancock, Maine
  • 03-08-16

Wonderful Story and Characters

I thoroughly enjoyed this story of two children both of whom had lost their parents in different ways. They discovered each other and developed a deep friendship which brought healing to them emotionally and physically without being sappy and corny.

It caught my attention from the first page because of the odd little girl and her strange behavior. I listened to this book and highly recommend the narrated version because it greatly enhanced the stoty because of the of the accents of the characters. The narrator did an excellent job of bringing the characters to life.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Awesome

Outstanding performance
Story was magical
Narrative was very well done
Would recommend to others
Awesome great and wonderful story thanks

2 of 2 people found this review helpful