Return to the Secret Garden

Susan Moody, Author Signet Book $5.99 (464p) ISBN 978-0-451-19228-8
Frances Hodgson Burnett, the author of The Secret Garden, surely never expected her beloved Mary, Colin and Dickon's innocent childhood friendship to end up as a made-for-TV love triangle. Taking great poetic license, Moody (author of the Cassie Swan mystery series) brings Burnett's three young soulmates into and through adulthood, marriage, separation, birth, death and two world wars, as they lust after one another, ""trapped on some terrible treadmill, endlessly circling around each other, longing to be together and forever driven apart."" The story, though evocatively written (""Aggressive scarlet lips here, voracious dimples there, the straining buttons of a waistcoat...""), seems contrived and too reliant on its borrowed premise until late in the book, when Moody introduces a second generation of characters. At that point, the magical bond between the figures takes on meaning that is both in sync with--and a logical extension of--Burnett's original vision, and the theme of karma across generations finally gives the story a raison d'etre. Not exactly Wuthering Heights, but a good bubble-bath read nonetheless. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/02/1998
Release date: 02/01/1998
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