Secrets, Magic, and Mystery

I’m way behind on my reading posts again, but my husband has given me the day off, so I finally have time to write them. Here goes!

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Grade: A

Though The Secret Garden is as much a favorite as A Little Princess, I felt at times on this reading as though certain ideas were sticks with which the author was beating me over the head. I wanted to holler, “OK! I got it! Fresh air and digging in a garden are good for you! Enough already!” But overall, it’s a beautiful story about an English girl living in India who loses both of her parents but who is too disagreeable to care. She goes to live with her uncle in Yorkshire and there is nothing for her to do there but wander the grounds. During her wanderings she finds a secret garden, and in watching and helping the garden spring back to life, she herself begins to bloom. A classic, and rightfully so.

The Frog Princess by E.D. Baker
Grade: B-

A juvenile but enjoyable tale about a princess who kisses an enchanted frog to turn him back into a prince. The magic goes wrong, however, and she turns into a frog instead. Together they go on a quest to find a witch who can make them human again.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Grade: A+

And Then There Were None is not part of the Marplethon. It’s just a book I had always meant to read. According to Wikipedia, it is the 7th most popular book of all time. Wow!

That factoid reminds me of something from my youth. Way back when my family used to vacation at my grandparents’ cottage on a lake, we were playing a game of Trivial Pursuit and the question was, “Who is the most translated author of all time?” (or something to that effect). I immediately said, “Agatha Christie.” I had never read one of her books, because I was too young. Hers was just a name I had heard so many times that it seemed like a good guess. And it was a good guess, because it was the right answer. Since that time I’ve been interested in her work. You don’t get that famous without good reason, after all. You get famous for writing books like And Then There Were None!

The title is a spoiler, but don’t worry. The characters, all mysteriously invited to an isolated island, are going to die, each and every one, but you won’t know when or how or why until you get to the end. It’s a great mystery, perhaps the best I have ever read. Highly recommended.

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