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The Magic Garden

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A wealthy young girl spends her youth preparing for the return of a young man she has loved since childhood.


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A wealthy young girl spends her youth preparing for the return of a young man she has loved since childhood.

30 review for The Magic Garden

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jessaka

    I loved Gene Stratton-Porter books when I was a teenager, but I had never read this one, so a few years ago when I was buying old Porter books, I found this book, $50. I decided to read it, and I decided to finish it only because I had paid so much for it. It was Corny. And when I say Corny, I mean Corney. A five year old girl runs away from home because her mother and father do not love her; she was only right about the mother. She meets a teenage boy at his home in the woods. They fall in love. I loved Gene Stratton-Porter books when I was a teenager, but I had never read this one, so a few years ago when I was buying old Porter books, I found this book, $50. I decided to read it, and I decided to finish it only because I had paid so much for it. It was Corny. And when I say Corny, I mean Corney. A five year old girl runs away from home because her mother and father do not love her; she was only right about the mother. She meets a teenage boy at his home in the woods. They fall in love. Go Figure. Can kids that young fall in love and even though they never see each other until Amaryllis is 18, stay in love. How do you fall in love with a five year old girl. This was rather creepy, although I knew it wasn’t meant to me. Maybe times have changed, and that is why I find it creepy. Strange is another word I should use. What was so creepy. The teenage boy and the little girl kiss each other over and over; in fact, this entire book is filled with kisses, kisses that Amaryllis gets from parents, the boy’s father, everyone. And she is considered just so sweet. IN fact, the entire book is filled with such sweetness, thick syrupy sweetness. Who wouldn’t fall in love with this sweet five year old? I was glad that it was a short story, but I wish I had my $50 back. Thinking that it was a book on gardening, a nature book, I gave it to a friend and had purchased the audio, which only made it more sickening sweet. Gene Stratton-Porter books always had romance in them, but mostly I considered them nature books. I used to tell people that if there was any sex, it was just kisses, and maybe only at the end of the book. Well, this was just a kissing book, and that is all I have to say about it. Well, I have one more word, haven’t they ever heard of kissing disease?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Belinda Collinge

    I discovered this book quite by accident as a young girl. I was searching through the books on a shelf as a child and found this very old book, missing it's cover. I read it out of boredom since it didn't look very appealing to a 10 yr. old...it became the book that really started my love for reading. I still own that crumbling book and will always cherish it. I discovered this book quite by accident as a young girl. I was searching through the books on a shelf as a child and found this very old book, missing it's cover. I read it out of boredom since it didn't look very appealing to a 10 yr. old...it became the book that really started my love for reading. I still own that crumbling book and will always cherish it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cindi

    This is my first Gene Stratton-Porter, and not my last. I have a list of highly recommended books by this author. I'd really like to call this book a modern day fairy tale and as such, I think it is a really sweet, charming story. It's also a quick read. I like what this book has to say about love and what it has to say about boys and girls saving themselves and developing their virtues for the man/woman that they will marry. One part that was a little hard for me to follow was the amount of kisses This is my first Gene Stratton-Porter, and not my last. I have a list of highly recommended books by this author. I'd really like to call this book a modern day fairy tale and as such, I think it is a really sweet, charming story. It's also a quick read. I like what this book has to say about love and what it has to say about boys and girls saving themselves and developing their virtues for the man/woman that they will marry. One part that was a little hard for me to follow was the amount of kisses and hugs. I grew up in a non-demonstrative family (maybe a little love-starved like Amaryllis) plus with the way times have changed it sounded a little strange. I wish I knew what my view of it would be if I had grown up differently and lived in a different time.... Anyway, this book is a little hard to find, but if you can get your hands on it, give it a read!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Luisa Knight

    This is one of Gene Stratton-Porter's shorter novels but one that shouldn't be overlooked. It's a beautiful story of redemption, a parent's love and remaining true, and pure, for that special someone. "When she went to John Guido and said, 'I have come back to you,' as she had promised, she must go with lips that no other boy's kisses had touched. She must go with ears that had not been sullied with vulgarity. She must go as God intended that every woman should go to the man she loves. She must This is one of Gene Stratton-Porter's shorter novels but one that shouldn't be overlooked. It's a beautiful story of redemption, a parent's love and remaining true, and pure, for that special someone. "When she went to John Guido and said, 'I have come back to you,' as she had promised, she must go with lips that no other boy's kisses had touched. She must go with ears that had not been sullied with vulgarity. She must go as God intended that every woman should go to the man she loves. She must go untouched by other men, unsullied, absolutely clean." While I'm not sure that this story was necessarily intended to promote purity before marriage, it portrays it beautifully and as something most desirable and worthy. Cleanliness: Profanity Mild Obscenities & Substitutions - 5 Incidents: d*mned, d*mnation, d*mn Religious Profanities - 17 Incidents: Heaven knew, for goodness sakes, goodness knows, God, God knows, for the love of God, God up in heaven doesn't know, for God's sake Romance: This is a love story. A boy and young girl kiss a few times as children. A young man proposes and he kisses his wife-to-be. The word "breast" is used to mean chest. Conversation Topics: A husband and wife divorce. A young girl has no respect for God (this is to show her lack of parental influence) - this is later corrected. A depressed boy wishes he was dead. Pipes and tobacco are mentioned. When a woman dies, it is explained that God needed her to teach the angels how to sing. **Like my reviews? Then you should follow me! Because I have hundreds more just like this one. With each review, I provide a Cleanliness Report, mentioning any objectionable content I come across so that parents and/or conscientious readers (like me) can determine beforehand whether they want to read a book or not. Content surprises are super annoying, especially when you’re 100+ pages in, so here’s my attempt to help you avoid that! So Follow or Friend me here on GoodReads! You’ll see my updates as I’m reading and know which books I’m liking and what I’m not finishing and why. You’ll also be able to utilize my library for looking up titles to see whether the book you’re thinking about reading next has any objectionable content or not. From swear words, to romance, to bad attitudes (in children’s books), I cover it all!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    ""The Magic Garden" (1927) was read to me by my mother. I later read it myself and to my children when they were young. For myself it was absolutely a "magical" experience. Gene Stratton-Porter takes you to places that are incredibly beautiful. "The Magic Garden" is an enchanted place that one does not want to leave. I can safely say that it is my favorite book of all time. I have always remembered the main character, Amaryllys, she was my favorite. This book was also my mother's favorite when s ""The Magic Garden" (1927) was read to me by my mother. I later read it myself and to my children when they were young. For myself it was absolutely a "magical" experience. Gene Stratton-Porter takes you to places that are incredibly beautiful. "The Magic Garden" is an enchanted place that one does not want to leave. I can safely say that it is my favorite book of all time. I have always remembered the main character, Amaryllys, she was my favorite. This book was also my mother's favorite when she was a little girl. I have her copy from when she was young. It is timeless!!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bookista

    Apparently I had a higher tolerance for sentimental goo when I last read this book 20 years ago. Imagine eating approximately 12 Krispy Kreme doughnuts, washing them down with a vat of hot chocolate, and then finishing up with a pan of brownies and you will be approaching the experience of reading this book. There is entirely too much kissing of "dimpled knees" in this book and way too many descriptions of begging for kisses like "hungry little birds beg for worms." There's only one scene where Apparently I had a higher tolerance for sentimental goo when I last read this book 20 years ago. Imagine eating approximately 12 Krispy Kreme doughnuts, washing them down with a vat of hot chocolate, and then finishing up with a pan of brownies and you will be approaching the experience of reading this book. There is entirely too much kissing of "dimpled knees" in this book and way too many descriptions of begging for kisses like "hungry little birds beg for worms." There's only one scene where someone tenderly kisses every petal of a flower because it reminds him of his lost love but that is one scene too many, even for 1926. But I'll be $%^ if that manipulative ending didn't make me tear up a little, at least until the nauseating final kiss and final line, "John Guido, I am hungry again!" Now that I'm done with this book, I can go collect my eyeballs from where they have been continually rolling to all four corners of the room.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    ***Please don’t judge Gene Stratton-Porter’s most famous books by this one.*** The concept of this story sounded interesting. However, the way it was developed was extremely saccharine and preachy, not to mention, creepy. Even by 1920s standards, a five-year-old girl who has run away from home being repeatedly kissed (including on the lips) by a 12 or 13 year old boy is just weird. When she is returned to her father after a couple days, both her and the boy spend the next 13 years in love and wai ***Please don’t judge Gene Stratton-Porter’s most famous books by this one.*** The concept of this story sounded interesting. However, the way it was developed was extremely saccharine and preachy, not to mention, creepy. Even by 1920s standards, a five-year-old girl who has run away from home being repeatedly kissed (including on the lips) by a 12 or 13 year old boy is just weird. When she is returned to her father after a couple days, both her and the boy spend the next 13 years in love and waiting to be reunited?! She’s only five! There are plenty of other things that made me super uncomfortable with the story, even though I’m sure that wasn’t what the author was going for.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rod Innis

    It was a cute love story. It did not have much of a plot. I have found that some of the books by Gene Statton Porter have wonderful well-developed stories and others are really quite simple. This is one of the simple ones.

  9. 4 out of 5

    K.

    Contains spoilers Ah Gene, my dear, what was shaping up to be a lovey little story that kept me interested and entertained and happy with your writing and fortunately lacking in some of your more preachy/talky stories...why'd you have to ruin it at the end? Had to be fair and give it 3 stars because I really did like most of it, it was really quite charming. But truly, the end was appalling and made me really unhappy. Contains spoilers Ah Gene, my dear, what was shaping up to be a lovey little story that kept me interested and entertained and happy with your writing and fortunately lacking in some of your more preachy/talky stories...why'd you have to ruin it at the end? Had to be fair and give it 3 stars because I really did like most of it, it was really quite charming. But truly, the end was appalling and made me really unhappy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    This is one of my favorite books of all time. I have read it over and over through the years. The story of such pure, innocent and selfless love is something that is missing in a lot of current books. Though I enjoy a wide variety of current books, romantic and otherwise, it is nice to go back and read The Magic Garden now and then.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Heather Jones

    They don’t write books like this any more. By which I mean, the years have brought this book from a starting point of ‘sweet and sentimental’ to a contemporary reader’s ‘those were surprisingly odd plot twists.’ I understand why it’s out of print, and I’m glad I read it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cait Barton

    Just the sweetest.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sesika

    I stumbled upon this book at the library at BYU-Hawaii. I fell in love with it, then I couldn't find it anywhere. Finally, two years ago I searched for it again and found it on Amazon. I love this story. It is sweet and I just really liked it. I own a copy if anyone is interested in reading it. Brief plot: Sad, rich little girl runs away and is rescued by poor, young man. She falls for him. She hopes to meet with him again when she is grown. She secretly helps him financially and waits for the d I stumbled upon this book at the library at BYU-Hawaii. I fell in love with it, then I couldn't find it anywhere. Finally, two years ago I searched for it again and found it on Amazon. I love this story. It is sweet and I just really liked it. I own a copy if anyone is interested in reading it. Brief plot: Sad, rich little girl runs away and is rescued by poor, young man. She falls for him. She hopes to meet with him again when she is grown. She secretly helps him financially and waits for the day to see him again.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Graceann

    A poor little rich girl runs away from home and meets a poor boy who nonetheless has what she lacks. When her father finds her, he turns his priorities around and devotes himself to his family. She is reunited with the poor boy later on, in an ending that may seem syrupy to many, but if you can suspend your cynicism long enough, it's lovely. A poor little rich girl runs away from home and meets a poor boy who nonetheless has what she lacks. When her father finds her, he turns his priorities around and devotes himself to his family. She is reunited with the poor boy later on, in an ending that may seem syrupy to many, but if you can suspend your cynicism long enough, it's lovely.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This book is a lot darker than the title might suggest, but that's about par for the course with Stratton-Porter. More interestingly is the way she uses themes that are still very much a part of books, specifically YA, today - much more hopeful, while still maintaining the basic cruelty of parts of the story. This book is a lot darker than the title might suggest, but that's about par for the course with Stratton-Porter. More interestingly is the way she uses themes that are still very much a part of books, specifically YA, today - much more hopeful, while still maintaining the basic cruelty of parts of the story.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nina

    This is classified as a youth book, but I found it a charming and sweet story. The innocence of the children, and the sweet tender love a child has for another. Gene Stratton-Porter wrote this book with Lee Thayer. Sometimes the books of today of an edge that forgets the innocence of a child.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Kinda weird! This book had some redeeming qualities like the ability to paint an exquisite mental picture that you wanted to jump into, and illustrated the power of love. The ending? Let me know how you like it. It didn't seem to fit in with the book. Kinda weird! This book had some redeeming qualities like the ability to paint an exquisite mental picture that you wanted to jump into, and illustrated the power of love. The ending? Let me know how you like it. It didn't seem to fit in with the book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Liza Verdon

    Gene Stratton Porter never fails to make me laugh and cry. This book was really, really sweet.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mellie

    Such a lovely story! Enjoyed it a lot!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    The Magic Garden is a beautiful story, but quite strange in places...especially with all the kissing.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tom Helmick

    This is now thought to be Gene Statton-Porter's last book and it is lovely, almost a child's allegory. This is now thought to be Gene Statton-Porter's last book and it is lovely, almost a child's allegory.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Misses Crump

    This Storyland captured my emotions by storm! I was wrenchingly gripped from the beginning. My heart literally bled grief and sadness for a spell having read the tragic situation of Amaryllis and Peter. For those who didn’t *feel* the depths of emotional turmoil due to the abandonment of children or can’t feel, truly I am sorry for you.... literally I feel sorrow for you. Gene Stratton-Porter allowed me to feel every abysmal emotion the characters endured with her expressively engrossing detail. This Storyland captured my emotions by storm! I was wrenchingly gripped from the beginning. My heart literally bled grief and sadness for a spell having read the tragic situation of Amaryllis and Peter. For those who didn’t *feel* the depths of emotional turmoil due to the abandonment of children or can’t feel, truly I am sorry for you.... literally I feel sorrow for you. Gene Stratton-Porter allowed me to feel every abysmal emotion the characters endured with her expressively engrossing detail.... that lump in your throat she describes when one feels abandoned and overcome by grief... I could feel it too along with their deserted depression and thankfully later the unfurl of elation and goodness. All could be felt in such a whirl of empathetic depth! Amaryllis is positively precious and I would have scooped her up in a flash to have taken the place of her worthless mother and little Peter too! I would have shown them all the wonders and magic childhood should beckon. This is how I felt towards the expressively deep, lonesome characters. As I read on I grew with exponential delight given the upwards sweep of events. The magic garden segment was ephemeral however it’s no surprise since book titles very often neglect the actual titles they are given. Even so, the leaves describing the children’s magic garden will linger in my heart of hearts forever. John Guido is an archangel of a young lad with many talents bestowing enchantment upon the land, upon the characters, upon practically everything he might encounter I imagine. He is simply a character of dreams. I soaked him in, as well as little Amaryllis and John’s father. I finished reading in only two days since for me this was a page turner. I adore the essence of the elegant bygone era shining through Porter’s literature as well. This antiquarian book will have a nestled home in my bookcase evermore as I keep dreaming of lakeside cottages, John Guidos, Amaryllises, dancing flowers and the warmth of deep loves from hearths and homes.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lora

    A sentimental book but with a syrupiness I could swallow. Its main theme is love. Not romance, per se, but love in all its ways and forms. I sometimes thought I was reading a children's book and other times thought it better for older kids. Whatever it is, here's my theory about the oddness of this book: it was actually written by Porter to tell the story two children made up as they spent the day playing in a garden, over the nearby countryside, and amongs the nearby woods. This story- love, dr A sentimental book but with a syrupiness I could swallow. Its main theme is love. Not romance, per se, but love in all its ways and forms. I sometimes thought I was reading a children's book and other times thought it better for older kids. Whatever it is, here's my theory about the oddness of this book: it was actually written by Porter to tell the story two children made up as they spent the day playing in a garden, over the nearby countryside, and amongs the nearby woods. This story- love, drama, innocence, and injured animal- all represents a pretty close approximation to stories children used to play at when they got together on a long summer afternoon. It feels as if it is by children for children. Porter tapped into something powerful, there. Many paragraphs I read aloud to my 18 yr. old daughter and she loved it. There is a certain amount of loss here, in potential love and lost connections with others. It could be a difficult read if the reader had a bad time relating to family. I noticed the potential for that, and thought it worth mentioning. I offset that observation with one about the overpowering love and healing that accompanies this sweet story. There is also humor, snark, and wisdom on the part of the author. Truths stand tall in this book, do not apologize for existing, and they truly expect something of not only the characters in the book, but from the character of those who read the book. I read the Limberlost book and didn't get this many layers out of it. I think I liked this one better. I wasn't expecting that! Beautiful passages, little actual plot, sentimental, full of truisms that melt into deeper wisdoms, and a fun read-aloud, at least in parts. I'm very glad I read this book. A few milder swear words and EVERYBODY is kissing EVERYBODY. I thought I was in Hawaii.

  24. 4 out of 5

    CynthyB

    Gene Stratton-Porter is one of my all-time favorite authors. I have vintage copies of virtually all of her books, and, only recently, found THE MAGIC GARDEN, adding it to my collection. However, I had mixed feelings about this story of a young, neglected girl who is hungry for love. As with most of Stratten-Porter's books, it is really important to read them in context of the time in which they were written (turn of the 20th Century). If you try to judge her books strictly by today's standards, Gene Stratton-Porter is one of my all-time favorite authors. I have vintage copies of virtually all of her books, and, only recently, found THE MAGIC GARDEN, adding it to my collection. However, I had mixed feelings about this story of a young, neglected girl who is hungry for love. As with most of Stratten-Porter's books, it is really important to read them in context of the time in which they were written (turn of the 20th Century). If you try to judge her books strictly by today's standards, you may likely miss their richness and the wholesome messages always present. This is true of THE MAGIC GARDEN, which was written in the 1920s, and which showcases the innocence of children's love. This little story highlights worthy qualities such as faithfulness, purity, virtue, and the importance of a solid, loving family, and keeping oneself chaste before marriage--all qualities of high moral integrity. The quickly-formed, but enduring, relationship between a love-starved child of about five years of age and a lonely boy five years her senior seems a bit far-fetched. By today's standards, the affection they demonstrate might be judged as inappropriate, but their child-like innocence and purity are clearly delineated by the author.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chevy

    I hope that having been written in the 1920s that this book is depicting a storybook (fantasy) love that is virtuous and true from beginning to end between young lovers, father, and their children. Read now a century later it is “off”. The kisses described do not seem appropriate. Sweet kisses between a 5 year old girl and 10 year old boy. A father’s hard kissed that can be felt a half hour later. The idea of a little girl so removed from affection that she goes out seeking love is a concept of i I hope that having been written in the 1920s that this book is depicting a storybook (fantasy) love that is virtuous and true from beginning to end between young lovers, father, and their children. Read now a century later it is “off”. The kisses described do not seem appropriate. Sweet kisses between a 5 year old girl and 10 year old boy. A father’s hard kissed that can be felt a half hour later. The idea of a little girl so removed from affection that she goes out seeking love is a concept of its own that is unsettling and in modern day would result in an outcome much worse and nothing like what happens in the book. As innocent as this book is made out to be the ending is just atrocious and totally bursts the fairy tale bubble.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Heather Ummel

    I consider Gene Stratton-Porter one of my favorite authors, so I almost feel like a traitor giving one of her books such a low rating. But this book is truly terrible. And, I hate to say this, but creepy. Please do yourself a favor and skip this mostly-forgotten and seldom-mentioned (for good reason!) book of GSP’s and stick to Keeper of the Bees and Laddie!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ariel Greenwood

    A leafy love story -just leafy! For forest girls with hungry hearts, this emotional rollercoaster through the green gardens of idealistic romance is worth a read for fans of Stratton Porter's 'Girl of the Limberlost' A leafy love story -just leafy! For forest girls with hungry hearts, this emotional rollercoaster through the green gardens of idealistic romance is worth a read for fans of Stratton Porter's 'Girl of the Limberlost'

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marsha Carr

    Another lovely story Stratton-Porter writes about poor, rich, whole, maimed, musical, scientists, artists, business people, self-educated from a sense of actually knowing and understanding them. What an incredible talent.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jean Bonilla

    I have been sobbing my heart out over this beautiful book for over fifty years. It’s a lovely weekend read of a heart-warming family love story. You’ll love it, too!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Giara Curran

    I am not readingthis

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