Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 183
Tom's Midnight Garden is an appealing story on many levels. Tom, a young boy, is sent away to spend the summer at the rented flat, or apartment, of his aunt and uncle. He is lonely and homesick but late one night discovers a mysterious, enclosed garden that although invisible during the day, appears after midnight. His excursions into this garden take him into a magical world where the past and present intersect, and he finds that he can visit with a girl from the past, who becomes his friend. For Tom the summer passes in days, but it seems to pass in years for the little girl, who gradually grows up and matures with each visit. Both Tom and Hatty, the Victorian girl, are sympathetically developed.
Beautifully written, the novel offers a variety of moods, with moments of poignancy, flashes of humor, instances of danger, and touches of joy and disappointment. The narrative is suspenseful, the characters are lifelike, and the themes are thought provoking. The novel captures at once the sense of fixed childhood memories and of the inevitable transformations of growth.