The Secret Garden – an interview with Pearl Hewitt

5th December 2016
The Secret Garden

Maxine Lennon had a chat with our wonderful narrator, Pearl Hewitt about her beautiful audio edition of the classic children’s story, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

“It was one of my all-time favourite stories when I was a child.” says Hewitt, when asked about narrating The Secret Garden, “so as soon as Catherine (O’Brien, creator of Essential Audiobooks) suggested I read it, it was immediately ‘OK, I’m in!’”

The story centres around Mary, a rude and sickly, but very lonely young girl who is sent to live in an isolated manor house in Yorkshire with her estranged uncle. As the book progresses, Mary’s temper begins to soften, she befriends the house staff and good things begin to happen. “There are instances throughout the story where the power of positivity and kindness transforms the characters’ lives for the better.” says Hewitt, “The children in the book learn that if they’re nice to others, good thinks will happen. It’s a valuable message for children (and adults!), but it’s done in a subtle and charming way.”

“It’s my favourite story that I’ve narrated to-date.”

For generations, Hodgson Burnett’s tale has been a family favourite, what is it that makes The Secret Garden so timeless?

The Secret Garden is a real calming feel-good story.” Hewitt asserts, “It’s all about positive thinking and I’m an advocate of positive thinking and being grateful for the small things, and considering that it was written at the turn of the 20th century, that’s pretty amazing!”

Despite it being written over 115 years ago, Hewitt found that she was able to relate to the tale on an even more personal level. “A lovely piece of the story is when Mary is so delighted by green spikes of grass poking up through the soil. About the same time as I was narrating The Secret Garden, my daughter Charlie, who’s at college and has this little patch of a back yard outside her apartment where she’s planted some grass seeds, was experiencing that same thing. She sent me a photo every day with a message: ‘Look! I’ve got a little bit more green coming through!’, she was so excited!”

Pearl Hewitt

Pearl Hewitt

Hewitt has narrated more than 75 audiobooks, across a whole range of genres, but admits that The Secret Garden has a special place in her heart: “It’s my favourite story that I’ve narrated to-date. I enjoyed it so much that it’s the only book I’ve recorded that I’ve listened to for pleasure. I loved the story and forgot it was me reading it! I ‘disappeared’ into my own story, and I’m very proud of that!”

Hewitt’s voice, which has been described as ‘sweet, clear, expressive’ and ‘emotive’, and her natural flair for storytelling, makes her the ultimate children’s audiobook narrator. Lose yourself, as she brings the magic of The Secret Garden to life in brilliant HD audio as either a high quality download or a collectors’ edition CD.

Complete with an enchanting soundtrack, written and performed by composer, Alistair Robertson, and breath-taking cover illustrations by artist, Winnie O’Brien, the Essential Audiobooks edition of The Secret Garden is the perfect gift for children and adults alike. Available to order from our website now.

Written by Bryony Robertson

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