A Magical Garden

The Girl and the Witch’s Garden by Erin Bowman

Publication Date: June 23, 2020

Summary from NetGalley:

The Secret Garden meets Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children in this rich, charming middle grade adventure about a girl determined to infiltrate her grandmother’s enchanted garden with the help of some magically gifted friends.

Mallory Estate is the last place twelve-year-old Piper Peavey wants to spend her summer vacation. The grounds are always cold, the garden out back is dead, a mysterious group of children call the property home, and there’s a rumor that Melena M. Mallory—the owner of the estate and Piper’s wealthy grandmother—is a witch.

But when Piper’s father falls ill, Mallory Estate is exactly where she finds herself.

The grand house and its garden hold many secrets—some of which may even save her father—and Piper will need to believe in herself, her new friends, and magic if she wants to unlock them before it’s too late.

ARC provided by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Children via NetGalley for an honest review.

What a wonderful story about love, family and friendship with a magical mystery thrown in. It was a thoroughly delightful read with an amazing main character that is strong and resilient in the face of true heartbreak.

Piper is a young girl that many children will be able to relate to. She has been raised by her dad, her mom left when she was quite young, and they have a beautiful and loving relationship. But with her dad dying she is sent off to spend the summer with her mom and grandmother. Although she saw her grandmother yearly, she never saw her mother as she was growing up, and now she has to face seeing her everyday. To make matters worse she discovers that her mother and grandmother are fostering children in their home. How could her mother not want her? The complex emotions around this are very well done, and will be easily understood by the readers.

I loved the mixed and diverse group of children that Piper finds herself begrudgingly befriending. They are a wonderful group of kids who just want to find a permanent home and all of them have had tragedy in their pasts as well. Their magical abilities are also very interesting and have caused them issues in the past as well. They also end up working well together to solve the mystery behind the garden.

I really enjoyed the plot and the mystery around the garden. The puzzles that Piper and her friends have to solve are very interesting and also hard, especially the one where they have to face their fears. The story is well paced with lots of action, but also some down time to let you catch your breath. The ending will certainly tug at the heart strings of many.

There is no indication that this will be a series, but I really hope that it will be. The plot and characters certainly could be continued in many more books as there are magical secrets hidden around the world for the children to find. But this was also a satisfying stand alone as well.

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