Tilly’s Moonlight Garden by Julia Green
Published by Sourcebooks/ Jabberwocky October 2012
Source: ARC provided by the publisher
Tilly's parents inherit an old, furnished mansion. One night, awoken by a strange noise, Tilly looks out of her bedroom window and sees a wild fox watching her from the lawn. Tilly follows it through a hidden gate and is amazed to discover a secret, moonlit garden. She returns the following night but this time a young girl called Helen is already there waiting for her. Tilly and Helen become fast friends, but Helen remains elusive about where she lives and why Tilly only encounters her in this seemingly magical woods. Over the Christmas season and into the spring, Tilly and her parents welcome a new arrival to their family, and Tilly befriends a recent arrival at her school. But when Helen bids her farewell, Tilly wonders; was Helen real or only a figment of her imagination?
A truly charming story about a young girl dealing with major changes in her life. New home, new school and her mother has fallen ill while expecting. Tilly’s father is a preoccupied writer and it seems that Tilly is often left to her own devices. That is where the garden comes in. It becomes a place to escape to, and Helen becomes a friend Tilly can count on when it feels like she is all alone. Reminiscent of books like The Secret Garden, Tilly discovers a world of mystery as magic and reality seem to collide in the garden. There she learns about her own resilience, friendship, and that being in a family can mean being forgiving as well. I loved the character of Tilly, and felt her interactions with her Dad were very realistic. A story that already feels like a classic and would make a good read-aloud in a classroom or home setting. Recommended for ages 7+.