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The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The Secret Garden is a children's novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett first published as a book in 1911, after a version was published as an American magazine serial beginning in 1910.
- Set in England, it is one of Burnett's most popular novels and is considered a classic of English children's literature. Several stage and film adaptations have been made. At the turn of the 20th century, Mary Lennox is a sickly and unloved 10-year-old girl, born in India to wealthy British parents who never wanted her. She is cared for by servants, who allow her to become a spoiled, aggressive, and selfish child. After a cholera epidemic kills her parents and the servants, Mary is discovered alive but alone in the empty house.
- She briefly lives with an English clergyman and his family before she is sent to Yorkshire, in England, to live with Archibald Craven, an uncle whom she has never met, at his isolated house, Misselthwaite Manor. At first, Mary is as rude and sour as ever. She dislikes her new home, the people living in it, and most of all, the bleak moor on which it sits. However, a good-natured maid named Martha Sowerby tells Mary about the late Mrs Craven, who would spend hours in a private walled garden growing roses.
- Mrs Craven died after an accident in the garden, and the devastated Mr. Craven locked the garden and buried the key.
She slept a long time, and when she awakened Mrs. Medlock had bought a lunchbasket at one of the stations and they had some chicken and cold beef and bread and butter and some hot tea. The rain seemed to be streaming down more heavily than ever and everybody in the station wore wet and glistening waterproofs. The guard lighted the lamps in the carriage, and Mrs. Medlock cheered up very much over her tea and chicken and beef. She ate a great deal and afterward fell asleep herself, and Mary sat and stared at her and watched her fine bonnet slip on one side until she herself fell asleep once more in the corner of the carriage, lulled by the splashing of the rain against the windows. It was quite dark when she awakened again. The train had stopped at a station and Mrs. Medlock was shaking her. "You have had a sleep "
About the Author
- Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924) grew up in England, but she began writing what was to become The Secret Garden in 1909, when she was creating a garden for a new home in Long Island, New York. Frances was a born storyteller. Even as a young child, her greatest pleasure was making up stories and acting them out, using her dolls as characters. She wrote over forty books in her lifetime.