Spectacular Settings

This is my contribution to the WEP challenge for August called Spectacular Settings. The first part is to include a paragraph from a favorite setting. I chose the book The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett and here is the setting.

Mrs. Medlock, the housekeeper, describes the setting ( Misselthwaite Manor) to the main character Mary: “Not but that it’s a grand big place in a gloomy way, and Mr. Craven’s proud of it in his way—and that’s gloomy enough, too. The house is six hundred years old and it’s on the edge of the moor, and there’s near a hundred rooms in it, though most of them’s shut up and locked. And there’s pictures and fine old furniture and things that’s been there for ages, and there’s a big park round it and gardens and trees with branches trailing to the ground—some of them.” She paused suddenly and took another breath. “But there’s nothing else,” she ended suddenly.

The second part: Why I like this setting.

I love mysteries and this setting is very mysterious. A six hundred year old mansion on the edge of the moor with a hundred rooms, and most of the rooms closed off. A secret garden, a sad reclusive uncle, and a child heard crying at night. I love when Mary starts to explore the gardens and then one day, when it rains and she can’t go outside, she decides to explore the house. What will she find down all those dark corridors and behind those closed doors?

The third part: Part of a story I started to write.

The Journal is discovered

I was exploring an ancient oak grove near my new home. I had been hiking for quite a while and the weather was quite warm. I decided to take a break and sat down under the shade of a gigantic old oak tree. I put my jacket down, as a blanket, and lowered myself to the ground. I leaned back against the large trunk feeling a comfortable protected feeling in its presence. I was settling into a peaceful place when I felt something poking me. Just when I was getting comfortable too, I thought, I would have to sit on a rock. I rose up on my knees and moved my jacket out of the way determined to remove the offending object. I saw what appeared to be a piece of leather. I found a stick nearby and dug around it until I was able to see the whole thing. It was a book of some kind. I carefully lifted it out of its burial place. As I opened it I swear I saw some tiny lights twinkling like stars. I saw there was writing and it was very old. I did not recognize the language but as my eyes traced over the letters I found I was able to read the words.

“My name is Aine. I have set down my story here so that whoever may find this journal will know the story of my time on earth. I am a Druid priestess. I practice the old ways. This is my story.”

I felt very drowsy and decided to put the book in my backpack and save it for later. I sat back down under the old oak tree. I will just close my eyes for a few minutes…. “I am flying high above the oak grove and can see for a great distance. I love to fly and feel so much strength in my wings. It has been five years since I shape-shifted. I am Aine.”


3670739521_471029e1fb_z Peregrine Falcon


Critique/comment preference: MPA

Word count 333; MPA and Comments appreciated 🙂





35 thoughts on “Spectacular Settings

  1. Yolanda Renee

    I do love the artwork you’ve chosen at the introduction for your discussion about The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson. (Although you always have something unique at the beginning of your blogs.) However, the setting of The Secret Garden was magical, as much for the reader as the children in the book.

    Your contribution The Journal is Discovered beautifully introduced your setting and set up an intriguing time travel / shape shifting fantasy that I want to know more about. Aine’s short introduction is all it took to get me to want more – “I am a Druid priestess.” Excellent!

    Thank you for your amazing contribution to the WEP Spectacular Settings Challenge. Well done. I can’t wait to read more of The Journal.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. patgarcia

    Your choice of The Secret Garden as a spectacular setting makes me want to read something from Francis Hodgson Burnett. I think I might like her work.
    Getting to your own setting, very nicely done. I see you’re writing it in the first person, which can make it hard to variate your sentences but look at styling some of your sentences differently.
    I love your story. I wanted to know more about Aine.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Elephant's Child

    The Secret Garden holds a place in so many hearts doesn’t it? Beautiful, evocative, mysterious.
    And I do love the snippet of your story that you shared.
    A shape-shifting druid priestess has me wanting more. Much more.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Denise Covey

    Hello Deborah.
    What a lovely entry! I just reread Secret Garden recently and was amazed all over again at how wondrous is the setting and the story. And you continued this mystical atmosphere in your own story which I’m sure you’ll going to keep on writing. I certainly hope so as I’m sure we’ll all want to know about Aine’s adventures. ‘I am a Druid priestess.’ Great twist at the end.

    Thank you so much for posting your entry for WEP.

    Denise 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Li @ Flash Fiction

    This took me back to my childhood. I was always hoping to discover something secret – a book such as you describe, a coin, a forgotten button. Unfortunately my only find of note was a railroad spike where no railroad had ever been.
    A great opening passage!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. rxena77

    Your story breathed magic. I want to read more. You did a fine job of luring me in. I hope you finish the tale. 🙂 Thanks for visiting my own contribution, Tomorrow I will post another just for fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Olga Godim

    Great little story, Deborah, a teaser of the first class. Of course I want to know what happens next. And I love Marie Spartali Stillman’s painting at the start of your post. It reflects both The Secret Garden and your piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Tom

    Great work on the choice of setting Deborah. It’s already creepy and we haven’t begun to check out the rooms yet!
    I like your excerpt, not only for the simple narrative that draws in the reader, but for the twist, which is a trademark of mine in my short stories. I enjoy a twist if it’s played in such a way that although not obvious – the reader knew something was afoot. Nicely done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      Thank You Tom. Well I am not working from a prescribed format for writers. I do like twists when I read books but was not consciously adding one. This probably is a result of all the reading I have done and I am learning from osmosis. The simple narrative is me all right. I think I write like I am speaking to the reader many times. But I am happy my creative side is showing through here. 🙂


  9. Guilie Castillo

    I just reread The Secret Garden last month after… well, decades. What a gorgeous book. Yes, she does mystery well, especially for young readers, but it’s what’s underneath that I find the most appealing. The power of will. The power of innocence. And of forgiveness. Beautiful story — and you chose a perfect image to go with it.

    Loved your own piece, too. A shapeshifting druid priestess… I can only imagine what adventures will ensue 🙂 Best of luck with it!
    Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

    Liked by 1 person



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