BOOK REVIEW TOUR: Return to the Secret Garden by Holly Webb


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Thank you to Faye and Scholastic Books for kindly sending me a copy of Return to the Secret Garden. As always, in no way has this affected my opinion of the novel - nor the content of this review.
Return to the Secret Garden by Holly Webb.
Published by Scholasic Books on October, 1st, 2015.
Genres Middle Grade, Fiction, Historical Fiction.
Pages 240.
Format ARC.
Source Publisher.

Novel Synopsis:
It's 1939 and a group of children have been evacuated to Misselthwaite Hall. Emmie is far from happy to have been separated from her cat when she is sent to a huge old mansion. But soon she starts discovering the secrets of the house - a boy crying at night, a diary written by a girl named Mary, and a garden. A very secret garden...


As a huge fan of Francis Hodsen Burnett's The Secret Garden, I jumped straight at the chance to review the sequel - Return to the Secret Garden - because Burnett's novel is one of my all time favourite stories to read. I was swept away with the characters in this enticing tale, the book was brilliant to read and after I had finished Return to the Secret Garden I knew that I would be re-reading it very soon. 

I've always been a fan of Holly Webb, I have loved the majority of her books (especially the Rose series) - so when I had heard that she has written the sequel to the classic, I was more than overjoyed. 

Return of the Secret Garden is told from the perspective of a ten-year-old girl named Emmie, who has been an orphan for her entire life. Emmie's fiesty personality made me love her from the moment I met her, and during the course of Webb's novel, I simply adored her. The entire story is set in 1939, which is the beginning of the Second World War, and Emmie (with the rest of her orphanage) is evacuated to Misselthwaite Hall. During the course of the first chapter, it is clear that Emmie is quite sad that she is leaving London because she has to leave the one thing that she cares the most about in her world - Lucy, Emmie's cat.

When Emmie arrives at Misselthwaite, she discovers several diaries from 1910, which was when Francis Hodsen Burnett's timeless classic was set. It was lovely to read the different diary entries because it reminded me so much of the first novel. I loved seeing the wonderful touches of the original characters, as I haven't read the original story in about two years. Emmie was perfectly written, as she discovered the garden and went through many different things in Return to the Secret Garden - I felt as if I was actually with her all the way through the course of Webb's novel.

I liked the small references to The Secret Garden, and I did get a little tearful at some parts of the story because Return to the Secret Garden just reminded me of how much I love Burnett's novel. But when Emmie found Mary Lennox's (the protagonist from The Secret Garden) and she read the diary, it was phenomenal to see how Mary herself discovered the garden - and it was the perfect insight to someone who has never read the original novel. 

I enjoyed going back to Misselthwaite, and getting the same warm and homely feel as I did when I first went to the place where the original novel was set. I also adored going back to the garden, and Webb has described it perfectly - I could clearly imagine what the garden was like. I really enjoyed meeting characters like Jack, Mrs Craven's son, and some of the as he seemed so much like Colin - who was in the previous book. 

Return to the Secret Garden was really historically accurate, and it was nice to see how some children felt while the war was going on - and at times, I didDisplaying Review Tour Banner V1.jpg feel butterflies in my stomach! It was a very different side to historical fiction to what I have read before! 

Holly Webb's sequel is a fantastic novel, and if you have never read The Secret Garden then you can go straight to this one because the author clearly tells you what happens in the original novel. This was a perfect novel to read, and I am so happy that I was given the opportunity to read it. I recommend that you buy the book, and I can promise you that you won't be disappointed. (Also, I have to say the cover is STUNNING - I love it so much!) 

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