Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Author Interview: The Secret Garden Devotional

The Secret Garden Devotional JustRead Blog Tour 

Welcome to the Blog Tour for The Secret Garden Devotional by Rachel Dodge, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


The Secret Garden Devotional Title: The Secret Garden Devotional 
Author: Rachel Dodge 
Publisher: Barbour 
Release Date: December 6, 2022 
Genre: Devotional

Devotional Inspiration from Mary Lennox's Beautifully Mysterious Secret Garden

The Secret Garden Devotional offers lovely inspiration that explores the themes of faith, family, contentment, wisdom, and joy in the classic Frances Hodgson Burnett novel, cherished by generations of readers. 

Each reading corresponds with a chapter from the book and invites you to embrace God’s guiding hand in your life as you are becoming His new creation. With themes of growth, spiritual nourishment, God's love and care, and His transforming power, this beautiful chapter-by-chapter devotional includes original artwork throughout. Each reading includes examples from the novel, scripture, life application, and prayers perfect for groups, book clubs, or personal reflection.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound


Rachel Dodge

Rachel Dodge is the bestselling author of the award-winning Anne of Green Gables Devotional, The Little Women Devotional, and Praying with Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen. Rachel's newest book is The Secret Garden Devotional! Rachel teaches college English classes, gives talks at libraries, teas, and book clubs, and is a writer for the popular Jane Austen's World blog. She is passionate about encouraging and equipping women to grow closer to Jesus through prayer and the study of God's Word. A true kindred spirit at heart, Rachel enjoys books, bonnets, and ball gowns.

Connect with Rachel by visiting to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.


1. Why did you choose to create a devotional based on The Secret Garden?

Rachel: It’s one of the books I read most growing up and I’ve always loved the idea of the beautiful, mysterious garden. I loved Dickon and his animals and the work Mary did in the garden to help bring it back to life. As a Christian author, I felt that this book was a perfect fit for a devotional book because of its themes of new life in Christ and the hope-filled promise that Spring is always on the way—even during a long drought or winter season.

The gardening themes in this book also fit perfectly with the symbolic way the Bible talks about our life of faith through gardening and farming terms. As we walk with God, He is the master gardener who plants, prunes, waters, and weeds. Each chapter of The Secret Garden has different themes that fit perfectly with many Biblical themes and stories.

I had so much fun coming up with creative garden-related titles, writing each devotional entry, and thinking about the wonderful personal application I found in each chapter of the novel. Mary Lennox arrives at Misselthwaite Manor, sour, sickly, and contrary. She’s lost both of her parents and is sent across the ocean to live with an uncle she’s never met. Misselthwaite ends up becoming the place where she can bloom and grow, make friends, and be a little girl again. Her entire family tree is redeemed and restored, all because of a mysterious hidden garden. It’s a beautiful book and I loved writing about it!

2. What do you hope readers take away from this devotional?

Rachel: I really want readers to know how much Jesus loves them and how tender and personal He is with each of us. He knows us intimately and loves us with an everlasting love. I don’t want anyone to go even one day without knowing the love of God personally. Jesus loves each of us so much that He willingly laid down His life that we might spend eternity with Him.

I also want readers to know that God has a purpose for the season they’re currently in. Some seasons are ridiculously hard. Some take our breath away and leave us wondering what just happened. Some are so full and fruitful and others feel like a severe pruning. God is doing a good work in each of us in every season—and he’s always doing something under the surface, even when we can’t see it.

For those in a pruning or wilderness season, remember that God often brings us closer to Him and deeper in our faith when we walk through the hard stuff. He will use it to grow you and to create opportunities for future ministry. Valleys don’t last forever. Night doesn’t go on indefinitely. Winter eventually comes to a close. Take heart and remember: Green pastures and quiet streams are ahead. Morning is on its way. Spring is coming!


3. Do you have a favorite quote from this book?

Rachel: There are so many wonderful quotes in the book, but this one really speaks to me: “[Mary] was stirring her slow blood and making herself stronger by fighting with the wind which swept down from the moor” (Ch. 5). It’s such a good reminder that when we have to fight hard and work hard in life, amazing things happen that we can’t see. Some of the hardest moments in life can actually make us stronger than a dozen dreamy vacations. Fighting the wind makes us courageous and strong, it builds character, and it fits us for future battles. Uphill battles build something in us that nothing else can. I remind myself and my kids of this truth regularly.


4. How long did it take you to write The Secret Garden Devotional?

Rachel: I wrote it in about 4 months. I often have a tight turn-around time, but I had worked on it a year before and had been praying for a long time about writing it, so the words really poured out when it was time to sit down and write each chapter fully.


5. Would you share something about yourself that most readers wouldn’t know?

Rachel: I had a very old-fashioned upbringing. I grew up in a small town in central California on five acres with cows, goats, chickens, geese, cats, dogs, orchards, and berry patches. We went “to town” twice a week—on Sundays for church and Wednesdays for piano lessons, groceries, and choir practice. We always had a huge garden and my mom is an OG homesteader (long before it was cool) who loves to farm and garden, live off the land, create a self-sustaining lifestyle, sew her own clothes, and cook and can and bake a lot of her own food. My dad was a school teacher and a romantic who dreamed in poems. I grew up on the land, bare-footed, often in a dress my mom had sewed or found at a rummage sale. When I was wasn’t working outside with my parents, my brother and I were climbing trees, reading books, or imagining ourselves inside one of our favorite stories. We didn’t watch much tv when I was little, but books and music were a huge part of our lives. We were always reading, singing, or working. My best friend growing up once said, “It’s like living in a musical!” And she was right! Our family wasn’t like most other families, but I am really thankful for the unique way I grew up. 


6. What are you reading now?

Rachel: I’ve been reading through Helene Hanff’s books and really enjoying them. She wrote 84, Charing Cross Road, which I’ve read many times. It’s the inspiration for many other books about bookshops and bookish pen pals, which I dearly love. It’s a slim volume filled with letters she wrote after WW2, while in New York, to a bookseller in London. The friendships she forms are exquisitely beautiful. I’ve read it many times, but I reread it again recently and followed it up with her book The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, which is her journal entries from when she later traveled to England after decades of planning. Now I’m reading her book Q’s Legacy: A Delightful Account of a Lifelong Love Affair with Books which is her biography, and it covers her life, her experience writing and publishing 84, her first trip to England, and the later production of 84 into a play, a television production, and a movie. Her writing is funny and fine-tipped. I find myself chuckling one moment and wiping my eyes the next.


7. How many bookcases are in your home?

Rachel: I’ve lost count! Maybe 10? My husband tries to enforce a “buy a book, give away a book” rule from time-to-time, but I rarely stick to it.


8. What do you wish you’d known when you were younger?

Rachel: I wish I’d known that so much of what I loved to do growing up (reading, writing, and pretending) would continue to give me great joy as an adult—and that God would use all of it in such a way that it would become more beautiful than I ever could have guessed. I would tell my younger self that the tangles of life are often the best parts of life, and that the most wonderful parts of my life have been things that I never could have made happen on my own. Every twist and turn has had a unique purpose, even when it didn’t make sense at the time.

I’d also tell my younger self to be kinder in terms of my outer appearance because every time I look back at photos from a few years before, I think, I looked really nice in that photo. Why was I so critical of myself back then? (Except for my college graduation photos. I would go back to the month before graduation and tell myself: “Do not get that pixie haircut!! It doesn’t work for your face. You’ll end up looking like a boy.”)


9. What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

Rachel: When I’m not writing, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading books, watching movies, going on walks and bike rides, and working in my yard.



(2) winners will receive a signed copy of The Secret Garden Devotional and a hardcover illustrated copy of The Secret Garden along with a bookmark and stickers.

The Secret Garden Devotional JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight November 30, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on December 7, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


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