The Wonderful Garden

Read by Ruth Golding

(4.7 stars; 223 reviews)

Do you believe in magic? Caroline, Charles and Charlotte do, and nothing that happens during their summer holiday at their great uncle's house does anything to diminish that belief. There the Three C.'s find a wonderful garden and some very old books, resulting in escapades which do not necessarily please the grown-ups.

E. Nesbit, as usual, transports us back to the hazy summer days of a well-to-do Edwardian childhood, liberally spiced with magic, humour and lessons learned.

Published exactly 100 years ago, this is one of her least-known children's books, out of print for many years, and with no text available online at the time of recording. Yes, it's dated. Yes, it's politically incorrect. But it is delightful nonetheless. As Gore Vidal once wrote: "...though a reading of E. Nesbit is hardly going to change the pattern of a nation, there is some evidence that the child who reads her will never be quite the same again, and that is probably a good thing." (Introduction by Ruth Golding)

No online text is currently available. The reader read from her own copy of the 1911 1st edition. (8 hr 39 min)


01 - The Beginning 16:32 Read by Ruth Golding
02 - The Manor House 23:36 Read by Ruth Golding
03 - The Wonderful Garden 20:21 Read by Ruth Golding
04 - In Thessalonians 19:56 Read by Ruth Golding
05 - The Midnight Adventure 21:04 Read by Ruth Golding
06 - Hunted 18:23 Read by Ruth Golding
07 - Being Detectives 28:00 Read by Ruth Golding
08 - The Heroine 15:33 Read by Ruth Golding
09 - The Morning After 25:08 Read by Ruth Golding
10 - Brewing the Spell 28:44 Read by Ruth Golding
11 - The Rosicurians 19:11 Read by Ruth Golding
12 - The Other Book 23:07 Read by Ruth Golding
13 - The Rosy Cure 18:20 Read by Ruth Golding
14 - The Mineral Woman 26:27 Read by Ruth Golding
15 - Justice 21:28 Read by Ruth Golding
16 - The Appeal to Caesar 28:35 Read by Ruth Golding
17 - The Le-o-pard 22:47 Read by Ruth Golding
18 - The Leopard's-Bane 26:24 Read by Ruth Golding
19 - F. of H.D. 29:05 Read by Ruth Golding
20 - The Waxen Man 18:56 Read by Ruth Golding
21 - The Atonement of Rupert 19:22 Read by Ruth Golding
22 - The Portrait 21:43 Read by Ruth Golding
23 - The End 27:05 Read by Ruth Golding


(5 stars)

Only the pure faith of a child could make magic things really happen. Ruth Golding brings out the sincerety of the Three C's and the subtle humor of the book.


(5 stars)

What a compelling, passionate, and simply perfect reading! What a gorgeous story. Thank you so much!

Wonderful book, wonderful reading

(5 stars)

Edith Nesbit is a favorite author and Ruth Golding reads it beautifully!

Beautifully written, expertly read

(5 stars)

Amazing how a children’s book set long ago in England can cover so many topics relevant to today. There were themes such as socialization, boys being socialized to be more masculine, depression, the power of thought to manifest things, the power of flour medicine, discipline vs. child abuse, class, gentrification, and more.I’ll definitely be reading more of a Nesbit’s books. The narrator was an absolute dream. She did all the different voices and accents and it really made the characters feel alive.


(5 stars)

I *loved* this book. :) Lots of magic (or is it?), compelling characters and an interesting plot. Ruth Golding's reading is absolutely stunning - I second everything TheBookworm said about it. She really brings the story and characters to life. Thanks so much, Ruth. :)

(4 stars)

Great reading, had some interesting special effects. Wish she wouldn't try to change her voice so much for each character because it just ends up grating on the ears. Otherwise a great performance.

Wonderful Garden, wonderful story

(5 stars)

Wonderful in the sense of being full of wonder... E. Nesbit could summon up the wonder and mystery of the world of children like few others. JK Rowling would, I'm sure, be the first to acknowledge her debt. Nesbit's best books are sweet and sentimental but not mawkish, and (like this one) tinged with the anxieties of childhood. The innocence of the characters will be more appealing to adults than to kids, who may find their attitudes and manners rather alien. The reader, Ruth Golding, is fabulous. The consistency of her character voices is great, and her soft well modulated voice compliments the book's dreamy atmosphere. Ruth, the author would very happy indeed with your work. TheBookworm (Manchester, UK)

A Wonderful Tale

(4.5 stars)

The Story: A perfect example of Nesbit's style. Simple prose that reminds us of a much simpler time when kids could be left alone for hours and hours and the biggest worry was that they would come home dirty. The story is fun and magical with a very nice conclusion. The narration: The narrator's voice can be a bit . . . scratchy, but she really is very good. She does a great job at giving each character a different voice so that it is clear who is speaking.