Author: Julia Green
Release Date: October 2nd, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Pages: 208 (Hardcover)
Genre: Children | Fantasy | Middle Grade
Read: from November 22 to 27, 2012
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
Tilly just moved into a drafty old mansion, away from all her friends. She spends her afternoons wandering around her new backyard in order to escape the cold, dusty rooms of the house. But one night, Tilly follows a fox she has seen from her bedroom window and he leads her deep into a hidden garden that is nothing short of mesmerizing in the moonlight. This mysterious garden and the special friend she meets there help her rediscover the magic in her own life.
This is the story of an unforgettable time in one girl’s life and how a new home, a secret garden, and a little fox can change someone in the most unexpected ways.
Disclaimer: I received this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I was really excited to read this book since I saw the cover. Even though this is for children, you never know whether a book like this might be the best lesson in your life – because that’s normally what kids’ books try to be.
Tilly and her parents moved into a big, old house in the countryside. Her mother is going through a difficult pregnancy and her father is a writer who spends half of his days in his studio working. As every child, Tilly feels sad for leaving her old house and friends and struggles to find her way around the new house. One night she sees a fox through her window and follows it, entering on a “magical” garden just beyond the fence.
So far, so good; I could relate myself with Tilly going through the same experience as is moving home. But I couldn’t fully understand the intend of her seeing the fox and then Helen, the mysterious young girl who supposedly lived next door.
When I started reading the book, I thought Tilly was indeed in a magical garden where Helen was some sort of fairy – perhaps I read too much fantasy – and that they were a way for her to open up and impede her sorrow to grow. As her mother was always in bed due to her pregnancy, Tilly didn’t had anyone to turn to so she “created” this garden where everything was magical and this friend who happened to be the image of the previous owner of the house. For me, all this“imaginary” was a way for Tilly to be free and herself, to forget her problems and sadness and just be a child. However, the way everything ended was a bit rushed – Tilly finds makes a friend, her mother has the baby and is well and the garden was sold and is being organized. It was just too fast without any sort of explanations which a kid might find hard to understand.
If the story was a bit longer with some sort of way to explain Helen, the fox and all the “magical” things in Tilly’s mind, perhaps I would have given this 3,5/4 cups. Since there wasn’t any sort of explanation and it ended abruptly – felt like that to me – I’m giving it 3 cups just because it was beautifully written and the pictures were lovely. It’s a lovely story for children with a dark twist waving in its lines.