The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden

1911

The novel centres on Mary Lennox, who is living in India with her wealthy British family. She is a selfish and disagreeable 10-year-old girl who has been spoiled by her servants and neglected by her unloving parents. When a cholera epidemic kills her...

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Children's literatureFiction

192 Pages
4.6

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The novel centres on Mary Lennox, who is living in India with her wealthy British family. She is a selfish and disagreeable 10-year-old girl who has been spoiled by her servants and neglected by her unloving parents. When a cholera epidemic kills her parents and the servants, Mary is orphaned.

The Secret Garden is a novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett first published in book form in 1911, after serialization in The American Magazine (November 1910 – August 1911). Set in England, it is one of Burnett's most popular novels and seen as a classic of English children's literature. Several stage and film adaptations have been made. The American edition was published by the Frederick A. Stokes Company with illustrations by Maria Louise Kirk (signed as M. L. Kirk), and the British edition by Heinemann with illustrations by Charles Heath Robinson.

The novel centres on Mary Lennox, who is living in India with her wealthy British family. She is a selfish and disagreeable 10-year-old girl who has been spoiled by her servants and neglected by her unloving parents. When a cholera epidemic kills her parents and the servants, Mary is orphaned.

Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett (24 November 1849 – 29 October 1924) was a British-born American novelist and playwright. She is best known for the three children's novels Little Lord Fauntleroy (published in 1885–1886), A Little Princess (1905), and The Secret Garden (1911).

 

Frances Eliza Hodgson was born in Cheetham, Manchester, England. After her father died

in 1852, the family fell on straitened circumstances and in 1865 emigrated to the United States

, settling in New Market, Tennessee. There, Frances began writing to help earn money for the family, publishing stories in magazines from the age of 19. In 1870, her mother died, and in

 1872 she married Swan Burnett, who became a medical doctor. The Burnetts lived for two years in Paris, where their two sons were born, before returning to the United States to live in Washington, D.C. Burnett then began to write novels, the first of which (That Lass o' Lowrie's), was published to good reviews. Little Lord Fauntleroy was published in 1886 and made her a popular writer of children's fiction, although her romantic adult novels written in the 1890s were also popular. She wrote and helped to produce stage versions of Little Lord Fauntleroy and A Little Princess.

 

Beginning in the 1880s, Burnett began to travel to England frequently and in the 1890s bought a home there, where she wrote The Secret Garden. Her oldest son, Lionel, died of tuberculosis in 1890, which caused a relapse of the depression she had struggled with for much of her life. She divorced Swan Burnett in 1898, married Stephen Townsend in 1900

, and divorced him in 1902. A few years later she settled in Nassau County, New York, where she died in 1924 and is buried in Roslyn Cemetery.

 

In 1936 a memorial sculpture by Bessie Potter Vonnoh was erected in her honour in Central Park's Conservatory Garden. The statue depicts her two famous Secret Garden characters, Mary and Dickon.

Review:

theguardian.com

This book can be read by anyone over 9, advanced readers at around 7 or 8.

 

The Secret Garden is about a particularly arrogant and unpleasant girl called Mary Lennox. At the start of the book, she lives in India, but is forced to leave for her uncle's mansion in England in order to escape a devastating outbreak of cholera. The book is about how the discovery of a secret garden transforms the character of Mary and another character in the book.

I really liked the book, as it was fascinating to see Mary change from a horrible, spoiled brat to a sweet-hearted girl. The best scene was probably when Mary first finds the garden that was hidden for a decade, as the description left such a clear image in my mind.

This book is a classic that your parents have probably read, but don't let that put you off! It is an intriguing read, despite the few slow bits in the book. I would probably give it 8.5 out of ten. It is not a fancy book for girls, despite the title. This is definitely a book for either gender! I would not recommend this book for people who do not care for nature, as there is a lot of description about flowers and trees and so on. On the other hand, it could change your mind about it! This is a must-read for people who are interested about nature, but other readers would enjoy it too.

For Ages 8 and Up.

 

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