THE SECRET GARDEN [Deluxe Edition] The Complete & Original Classic With Illustrations Plus BONUS Entire Audio Narration
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The Secret Garden is a novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It was initially published in serial format starting in the autumn of 1910, and was first published in its entirety in 1911. It is now one of Burnett's most popular novels, and is considered to be a classic of English children's literature.
Mary Lennox, a 10-year-old girl, is born in India to rich United Kingdom parents. She is unwanted by her mother and taken care of primarily by servants, who pacify her as much as possible to keep her out of the way. Spoiled with a temper, she is unaffectionate, angry, rude and obstinate. A cholera breakout in the manor kills her parents and many servants. She is discovered alone but alive after the house is abandoned. She is sent to England to live with her uncle, Archibald Craven.
At first, Mary is her usual self, sour, disliking the large house, the people within it, and most of all the vast stretch of moor, which seems scrubby and gray after the winter. She is told that she must stay to her two rooms and that nobody will bother much with her and she must amuse herself. Martha Sowerby, her good-natured maidservant, tells Mary a story of the late Mrs. Craven, and how she would spend hours in a private garden growing roses; an untimely accident kills her, and Mr. Craven has the garden locked and the key buried. Mary is roused by this story and starts to soften her ill manner despite herself. Soon she begins to lose her disposition and gradually comes to enjoy the company of Martha, Ben Weatherstaff the gardener, and also that of a friendly robin redbreast to whom she attaches human qualities. Her appetite increases and she finds herself getting stronger as she plays by herself on the moor. Martha's mother buys Mary a skipping rope in order to expedite this, and she takes to it immediately. Mary's time is occupied by wondering about the secret garden and a strange crying that can sometimes be heard around the house which the servants ignore or deny.
While exploring the gardens, Mary comes across a badger hole and finds a key belonging to a garden nobody has tended to for over ten years. She chances to ask the housekeeper (Martha) for garden tools, which Martha has delivered by Dickon, her twelve-year-old brother. Mary and Dickon take a liking to each other, as Dickon has a soft way with animals and a good nature. Eager to absorb his gardening knowledge, she reluctantly lets him into the secret of the garden, which he agrees to keep.
That night, Mary hears the crying again. She follows the noise and to her surprise finds a small boy her age, living in a hidden bedroom. They discover they are cousins: he is the son of her uncle; his mother died in childbirth, and he suffers from an unspecified problem with his spine. Mary visits every day that week, distracting him from his troubles with stories of the moor, of Dickon and his animals and of the garden. It is decided he needs fresh air and the secret garden, which Mary finally admits she has access to. Colin is put into his wheelchair and brought outside into the garden, the first time he's been outdoors in years.
While in the garden, the children are surprised to see Ben Weatherstaff looking over the wall on a ladder. Startled and angry to find the children there in his late mistress' (Colin's mother's) garden he admits he believed Colin to be a cripple. Colin stands out of his chair to prove him wrong and finds that his legs are fine, though weak from disuse.
Colin spends every day in the garden, becoming stronger. The children conspire to keep Colin's health a secret so he can surprise his father, who traveling and mourning over his late wife. As Colin's health improves, his father's mood does as well, and he has a dream of his wife calling him into the garden that makes him immediately pack his bags and head home. He walks the outer wall in memory but hears voices inside, finds the door unlocked and is shocked to not only see the garden in full bloom with children in it, but his son running. The servants watch as Mr. Craven walks back to the manor, and all are stunned that Colin runs beside him.
Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett (24 November 1849 – 29 October 1924) was an English playwright and author. She is best known for her children's stories, in particular The Secret Garden (winner of the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1959), A Little Princess, and Little Lord Fauntleroy.
Born Frances Eliza Hodgson, she lived in Cheetham Hill, Manchester. When her father died, the family was forced to sell their home and move to Salford. When she was sixteen, the family emigrated to Knoxville, Tennessee. There she began writing to help earn money for the family, publishing stories in magazines at the age of nineteen. In 1872 she married Swan Burnett. They lived in Paris for two years, where their two sons were born, before returning to the United States to live in Washington D.C. There she began to write novels, the first of which That Lass o' Lowries, was published to good reviews. The publication of Little Lord Fauntleroy in 1886 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.
Burnett enjoyed socializing and lived a lavish lifestyle. Beginning in the 1880s, she began to travel to England frequently and bought a home there in the 1890s. Her oldest son, Lionel, died of tuberculosis in 1892, which caused a relapse of the depression she struggled with for much of her life. She divorced Swan Burnett in 1898 and remarried in 1900, although her second marriage only lasted for a year. At the end of her life she settled in Long Island, where she died in 1924.