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The audiobook of the Secret Garden narrated by Pearl Hewitt is an outstanding and much needed update to the children’s classic. Written by Frances Hodgson Burnett in 1911, it tells the tale of Mary who is orphaned after her parents are both killed by cholera in India. She travels to Yorkshire to live at her much absent uncle's estate. Always thought of as a troublesome and sickly girl, Mary thrives in the Yorkshire Moors and surrounding gardens, with the help of a grouchy gardener, a robin, and one of the servant’s younger brothers.
Listening to this again after reading it about 30 years ago, I’m reminded how gothic it feels in parts. For example, Mary frequently hears the sound of crying down one of the long corridors. Is this a ghost, her uncle, or just the sound of the wind rolling through the Moors? [I couldn’t help but remember the mysterious sounds that Jane Eyre hears in Thornfield]. About half-way through the book, we discover the sound is from Mary’s invalid cousin, Collin. Obviously spoiled like a prince with frequent temper-tantrums, Collin orders everyone about and staff walk on pins and needles around him. Mary takes none of it and puts him in his place. She challenges him to go outside with her and let the magic of the gardens and nature heal his soul (and body). The ending is one of the best written ever!
Pearl Hewitt did an absolutely outstanding job narrating this book. She provided distinct and consistent voices for all characters, young and old. She has a spunk and sassiness in her readings that make listening very enjoyable. Brava!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
The Secret Garden is the story of Mary Lennox, a disagreeable child orphaned when her parents die of cholera. She's sent to Yorkshire to live with her uncle in a house with a hundred locked rooms and a mysterious locked garden.
This timeless classic really needs no introduction, it's a wonderful story that has been enjoyed by generations. It has something for everyone, a bit of gothic mystery, a coming of age journey, descriptive passages for a poet's soul, and the charming characters that make it such a classic children's tale. It even spells out the power of positive thinking like any best-selling self help book.
I think what I love best about this book is watching the two neglected little children, starved for love and attention, find happiness in their garden. One of my favorite scenes is when Martha buys Mary the skipping rope. The fact that someone thought of her, remembered her, and bought her something is just so foreign to Mary. It's a subtle scene that really shows how unloved she's been all her life, and how much such tiny things matter to a child.
I don't remember the first time I read The Secret Garden, but I do remember receiving my first hardback copy. I refused to open my other Christmas presents and just sat there looking at the beautiful illustrated pages. Listening to this version brought back that feeling. There's just something special about audiobooks, the narration, if well done, can bring the book to life. Pearl Hewitt manages to do just that. She has the perfect accent for the book, and her regular speaking voice is so pleasant. She performs the Yorkshire accents well and gives each speaker a distinct voice. In the beginning, Mary is unpleasant, and her speaking voice reflects that, but it becomes more warm as Mary herself changes. It was really skillfully done. I received a copy of the audiobook and I'm voluntarily leaving a review. I will definitely be listening to this one again.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
The story is of course beautiful! Our family children aged, 4,6&8 thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book.
We enjoyed the narrator, her Yorkshire accent was a lovely bonus. We would have given it five stars if it wasn't for the music accompanying each chapter. We found the music both annoying and unnecessary.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I first heard it at school but now I’m going to listen to it again and again.