First sentence: On the outskirts of a pretty country village called St. Martin's Green, there stand a large, white house called St. Martin's orphanage.
Premise/plot: Mandy, the heroine, is a ten year old orphan. Soon after the novel opens, Mandy climbs over the wall near the orphanage and discovers a hidden-away-in-the-woods cottage. She decides the place is hers--and goes about creating a special place inside-and-out where she belongs. She cleans. She gardens. She collects. But most of all: she guards and protects her secret. Mostly.
My thoughts: I love, love, love Mandy. This book is one of my favorites from childhood. Years before I discovered The Secret Garden, I was best friends with Mandy. I think I loved Mandy because she may have been the first heroine who dealt with some of the darker (but natural) emotions like sadness, loneliness, and disappointment.
She was a dreamer. Most of the time she lived in a make-believe world of her own. She loved to read. She exchanged books at the local library at least once a week. The wonders of Robinson Crusoe and Alice in Wonderland and Gulliver's Travels were very real to her and offered far more excitement than the reality of her life could ever provide. (6)
She occasionally experienced sad, disturbing feelings. Sometimes she felt an ache inside that would not go away. It seemed then as though her life were very empty. She would cry for no reason at all, seemingly, and it frightened her when she did. She tried to be brave and put away her feelings.
"I'm having one of my attacks again," she would think, trying hard not to let people see her tears.
Her attempts to keep busy were mostly an effort to fill her life so that she had no time to feel disconsolate. But the nagging sadness was persistent, and it would envelop her when she least expected it.
As Mandy grew, her longings grew stronger and sometimes she felt as though she must surely break apart with so much going on inside her. It was as though she were searching for something though what or where it was she could not say. (7-8)
© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews