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Perhaps kind thoughts reach people somehow, even through windows and doors and walls. Perhaps you feel a little warm and comforted, and don’t know why, when I am standing here in the cold and hoping you will get well and happy again.

Frances Hodgeson Burnette, A Little Princess

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Lately it’s been quite hard to convince myself that I am not obligated to be beautiful and that I am not worth less for not being so. Combine that with me quietly constantly questioning the purpose of my existence/human existence in general, and you get an extremely weird mental state. 

Anyways, I’ve been trying to internalize the mentality that even if I have absolutely no purpose in life and feel horrible about my appearance, I can still take a shower with the lights dimmed down low and my favourite bar of soap. And maybe as long as I just focus on the next shower or cup of tea or 1950s’ print edition of The Secret Garden then I can be happy, albeit purposelessly happy…

…which brings us to these pictures lol. I already had a copy of The Secret Garden when I bought this last year, but I couldn’t resist the gorgeous ink illustrations printed in this one. It also has an inscription from Christmas 1956, where someone gifted it to their niece Barbara; when I bought it in August 2019 I added my own inscription right below with my name and the date using the fountain pen in the picture.

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It’s been five years since we released our first episode of The Misselthwaite Archives! We’re so thankful to all of our fans for supporting the show while it aired and afterward—your kind words, passionate discussions, and beautiful fan art really encouraged us in 2015 and continue to inspire our creative endeavors. If you haven’t seen the series in a while, give it a re-watch to prepare for the coming of spring!

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Amy Cotler’s The Secret Garden Cookbook is a charming themed cookbook filled with easy and yummy recipes. The book’s lovely layout is great and I love the well-written historical and cultural information about the Victorian era. I like the full-colour pictures but I wish there were more and that they were more relevant to the theme. 

What a fun cookbook! The book is divided into seven chapters: Yorkshire Breakfasts, A Manor Lunch, An English Tea, From the Kitchen Garden, Dickon’s Cottage Food, A Taste of India, and Garden Picnics. I love the variety of dishes! There are recipes for dinner, breakfast, drinks, snacks, condiments, lunch, and teatime. Cotler shows us how to make currant buns and fruit lassi as well as a proper pot of tea. I cannot wait to try making brandy snap lace cookies, bacon and cilantro pancakes, and Yorkshire pudding! The recipes are clearly written and feature familiar and accessible ingredients. I especially like that the dishes seem easy and that they do not feature an extensive ingredient list. 

The cute page designs are fun and colourful. But, I really wish they had featured throughout. I like the beautiful and bright full-colour pictures but they are a little generic. They are also very modern and seem as if they could belong to any contemporary cookbook. I wish the pictures were more interesting and more relevant to the theme. Furthermore, a few more pictures of the dishes would really enhance this book. 

I love the little snippets from The Secret Garden book that are included throughout. I loved reading about the culture and food of Victorian England. It is especially fascinating to learn about the eating habits and daily activities of the rich and poor people of that era. Cotler’s writing is presented in a brief, easy-to-read, and interesting format. Her style is so simple and approachable that I learned a lot of information very quickly and without feeling overwhelmed. 

The Secret Garden Cookbook is a wonderful recipe collection. This is a perfect gift for fans of The Secret Garden, those who love literary cookbooks, or simply anyone who loves food! I love literary cookbooks and I cannot wait to get my own copy of this lovely collection!  

Thank you to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group – Harvard Common Press for this book in exchange for an honest review.

💮💮💮💮 ½ flowers out of 5!

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Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
‘At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done–then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.’
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Reasons Why A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett is my Favorite Book Ever:

  • It’s essentially a Cinderella story that you don’t realize is a Cinderella story
  • Sara Crewe is the single most relatable character I’ve ever seen: “She did not care much for other little girls, but if she had plenty of books she could console herself. She liked books more than anything else, and was, in fact, always inventing stories of beautiful things and telling them to herself.”
  • Captain Crewe is a loving single dad that adores his little princess, and encourages her love of books and active imagination
  • The style is pleasant and timeless, with the charming simplicity of a children’s story
  • Sara still believes in magic by then end, and the book doesn’t treat this like the silly whim of a child
  • Sara doesn’t think being a princess means looking pretty and wearing a crown, she thinks being a princess means being kind, patient, generous, and helpful even when it’s hard
  • Literally every sentence in enjoyable to read: “The truth is that when one is still a child—or even if one is grown up—and has been well fed, and has slept long and softly and warm; when one has gone to sleep in the midst of of a fairy story, and awakened to find it real, one cannot be unhappy or even look as if one were; and one could not, if one tried, keep a glow of joy out of one’s eyes.”
  • “I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics. Even if they dress in rags, even if they aren’t pretty, or smart, or young. They’re still princesses.”
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“Whatever comes,“ she said, "cannot alter one thing. If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside. It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it.”

1905 – written by Frances Hodgson Burnett
1995 – directed by Alfonso Cuarón

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