A Secret Princess Book Review is


A surprising and romantic YA retelling-mashup of A Little Princess and The Secret Garden by bestselling authors Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz.

Best friends Mary Lennox, Sara Crewe, and Cedric Erroll have each other, and they are the only reason boarding school isn’t completely insufferable.

Tragically, Mary’s father passes away after he’s stripped of his fortune, leaving her orphaned and with just one possession: a ticket to a ship that will bring her to the home of her last living relative, in America. But Cedric can’t bear to say goodbye, and reveals that he’s the son of an earl with endless riches . . . and a huge estate that the three of them can run away to, leaving the boarding school–and thoughts of America–behind.

That’s when Sara and Cedric discover that there’s more to them than friendship, and Mary begins spending time with a handsome local boy–a relationship that quickly blossoms into romance.

It turns out that Maythem Estate is more than just a getaway–it’s a secret garden of budding romance.

Filled with charm, romance, and swoon, and inspired by some of classic literature’s most beloved characters, The Secret Princess is the perfect blend of A Little Princess and The Secret Garden— and the perfect companion to Jo & Laurie.


I went into this book with such high expectations because I love everything I’ve read so far by Melissa de la Cruz. Maybe co-writing is not the best strategy for her because I heard Jo & Laurie fell flat as well.

Let me start with the things I liked. I loved the mashup of two classics. I read The Secret Garden for the first time last year then I immediately read A Little Princess after finishing A Secret Princess. I liked the modern updates to the story, like the addition of more diverse characters and the difficult themes of racism addressed in the story. The original stories have some cringe moments and those were rectified in the retelling. I think A Secret Princess paid great homage to both original classics.

Unfortunately, This retelling did not live up to the magic and whimsy of the original two stories. I was mostly just bored the whole time I was reading it. It could be shortened 50-100 pages. The characters didn’t even make it to the mansion with the secret garden until almost 60% into the story. I finished this book almost a month ago, so it’s hard for me to remember the little details, but I do remember a scene with Sara in a retention home for criminal and homeless girls. I’m not sure what the point of this scene was? This is not a Dickens novel- there’s not a lot of need for this much detail and misery. I just wanted the story to move along to the secret garden. The synopsis also makes it sound like a romance novel, but that fell flat. I’m glad the ending avoiding Sara being saved by a man, but where was the romance?

Even though this book did not live up to my expectations, I would still purchase this book for family or friends who are fans of The Secret Garden or A Little Princess.

*Thank you Penguin Teen for an E-arc in exchange for my honest review.


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