Thursday, November 3, 2022

Review | The Doll in the Garden by Mary Downing Hahn

Source: personal purchase. This is a review of my reading experience.

The Doll in the Garden is a middle grade horror book by Mary Downing Hahn.

The Doll in the Garden by Mary Downing Hahn

From ghost story master Mary Downing Hahn, the haunting tale of a mysterious doll discovered in a young girl's garden, and its owner, a girl from seventy years in the past, who wants it back.

A suspenseful story of unexpected connections between present and past. Ashley and her mother need their new apartment to work out, but everything Ashley does seems to upset the irritable and unforgiving landlady. When Ashley makes friends with the girl next door, Kristi, they uncover a wooden box containing a well-loved turn-of-the-century doll. Ashley wants to keep the doll for herself, but Kristi has other ideas. So does the doll's original owner, a girl who died decades ago, but whom Ashley meets when she follows a mysterious white cat through a hedge. Can Ashley bring peace to the girl and resolve her own present-day challenges?

My journey through Mary Downing Hahn's books continues with The Doll in the Garden.

I adored The Doll in the Garden. It was emotional and wonderful and a ghost story I would have really loved as a kid. It's a ghost story I really loved as an adult.

One thing I am noticing about Mary Downing Hahn's books is the parents are present in her stories. I mentioned in my review of Wait Till Helen Comes that all of Hahn's characters are generally annoying – including the adults. But I loved the main character's mom in The Doll in the Garden. She was wonderful, and her relationship with the main character Ashley was wonderful.

Ashley's dad passed away from cancer, and she and her mom moved from Baltimore to Monkton Mills to rent the top floor of a grumpy old lady's house. After Ashley and her new friend Kristi discover a doll buried in the garden, a white cat takes Ashley on a journey to discover the original owner. I absolutely loved the magic that was used with the ghost elements. It was creepy and imaginative, and I can't get enough of that.

The Doll in the Garden packs a lot about death and grief and regret into this one little book. There are so many parallels between the ghost and Ashley's father. The Doll in the Garden really got me in the feels. It also has me excited to read more from Mary Downing Hahn.

I never see or hear anybody talking about The Doll in the Garden. If you or someone you know is a fan of Mary Downing Hahn, this is a great book to put on your radar. Honestly, the cover isn't that great, but the story is wonderful. Just be sure you prepare your heart for this one.
4/5 stars


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  1. Wow this sounds great. And totally new to me.

  2. I hadn't read this but it does sound good.

  3. I'm not familiar with this but it sounds really good, especially since there are emotional moments.


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