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The Secret Garden (Diversion Classics)

The Secret Garden (Diversion Classics)

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The Secret Garden (Diversion Classics)

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314 página
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Sep 29, 2015


When troubled young Mary Lennox is orphaned, she is sent to live with her uncle in England. She hates his large estate and everyone in it. But after she discovers its secret garden and meets her cousin Colin, whose illness has left him unable to walk, her life begins to change. One of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s best-loved works, THE SECRET GARDEN is a story of family, persistence, and healing that readers of all ages will enjoy.
Sep 29, 2015

Sobre el autor

Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849–1924) was an English-American author and playwright. She is best known for her incredibly popular novels for children, including Little Lord Fauntleroy, A Little Princess, and The Secret Garden.

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The Secret Garden (Diversion Classics) - Frances Hodgson Burnett



Diversion Books

A Division of Diversion Publishing Corp.

443 Park Avenue South, Suite 1008

New York, NY 10016


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

For more information, email info@diversionbooks.com

First Diversion Books edition September 2015

ISBN: 978-1-68230-132-6


There Is No One Left

When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen. It was true, too. She had a little thin face and a little thin body, thin light hair and a sour expression. Her hair was yellow, and her face was yellow because she had been born in India and had always been ill in one way or another. Her father had held a position under the English Government and had always been busy and ill himself, and her mother had been a great beauty who cared only to go to parties and amuse herself with gay people. She had not wanted a little girl at all, and when Mary was born she handed her over to the care of an Ayah, who was made to understand that if she wished to please the Mem Sahib she must keep the child out of sight as much as possible. So when she was a sickly, fretful, ugly little baby she was kept out of the way, and when she became a sickly, fretful, toddling thing she was kept out of the way also. She never remembered seeing familiarly anything but the dark faces of her Ayah and the other native servants, and as they always obeyed her and gave her her own way in everything, because the Mem Sahib would be angry if she was disturbed by her crying, by the time she was six years old she was as tyrannical and selfish a little pig as ever lived. The young English governess who came to teach her to read and write disliked her so much that she gave up her place in three months, and when other governesses came to try to fill it they always went away in a shorter time than the first one. So if Mary had not chosen to really want to know how to read books she would never have learned her letters at all.

One frightfully hot morning, when she was about nine years old, she awakened feeling very cross, and she became crosser still when she saw that the servant who stood by her bedside was not her Ayah.

Why did you come? she said to the strange woman. I will not let you stay. Send my Ayah to me.

The woman looked frightened, but she only stammered that the Ayah could not come and when Mary threw herself into a passion and beat and kicked her, she looked only more frightened and repeated that it was not possible for the Ayah to come to Missie Sahib.

There was something mysterious in the air that morning. Nothing was done in its regular order and several of the native servants seemed missing, while those whom Mary saw slunk or hurried about with ashy and scared faces. But no one would tell her anything and her Ayah did not come. She was actually left alone as the morning went on, and at last she wandered out into the garden and began to play by herself under a tree near the veranda. She pretended that she was making a flower-bed, and she stuck big scarlet hibiscus blossoms into little heaps of earth, all the time growing more and more angry and muttering to herself the things she would say and the names she would call Saidie when she returned.

Pig! Pig! Daughter of Pigs! she said, because to call a native a pig is the worst insult of all.

She was grinding her teeth and saying this over and over again when she heard her mother come out on the veranda with some one. She was with a fair young man and they stood talking together in low strange voices. Mary knew the fair young man who looked like a boy. She had heard that he was a very young officer who had just come from England. The child stared at him, but she stared most at her mother. She always did this when she had a chance to see her, because the Mem Sahib—Mary used to call her that oftener than anything else—was such a tall, slim, pretty person and wore such lovely clothes. Her hair was like curly silk and she had a delicate little nose which seemed to be disdaining things, and she had large laughing eyes. All her clothes were thin and floating, and Mary said they were full of lace. They looked fuller of lace than ever this morning, but her eyes were not laughing at all. They were large and scared and lifted imploringly to the fair boy officer’s face.

Is it so very bad? Oh, is it? Mary heard her say.

Awfully, the young man answered in a trembling voice. Awfully, Mrs. Lennox. You ought to have gone to the hills two weeks ago.

The Mem Sahib wrung her hands.

Oh, I know I ought! she cried. I only stayed to go to that silly dinner party. What a fool I was!

At that very moment such a loud sound of wailing broke out from the servants’ quarters that she clutched the young man’s arm, and Mary stood shivering from head to foot. The wailing grew wilder and wilder. What is it? What is it? Mrs. Lennox gasped.

Some one has died, answered the boy officer. You did not say it had broken out among your servants.

I did not know! the Mem Sahib cried. Come with me! Come with me! and she turned and ran into the house.

After that, appalling things happened, and the mysteriousness of the morning was explained to Mary. The cholera had broken out in its most fatal form and people were dying like flies. The Ayah had been taken ill in the night, and it was because she had just died that the servants had wailed in the huts. Before the next day three other servants were dead and others had run away in terror. There was panic on every side, and dying people in all the bungalows.

During the confusion and bewilderment of the second day Mary hid herself in the nursery and was forgotten by everyone. Nobody thought of her, nobody wanted her, and strange things happened of which she knew nothing. Mary alternately cried and slept through the hours. She only knew that people were ill and that she heard mysterious and frightening sounds. Once she crept into the dining-room and found it empty, though a partly finished meal was on the table and chairs and plates looked as if they had been hastily pushed back when the diners rose suddenly for some reason. The child ate some fruit and biscuits, and being thirsty she drank a glass of wine which stood nearly filled. It was sweet, and she did not know how strong it was. Very soon it made her intensely drowsy, and she went back to her nursery and shut herself in again, frightened by cries she heard in the huts and by the hurrying sound of feet. The wine made her so sleepy that she could scarcely keep her eyes open and she lay down on her bed and knew nothing more for a long time.

Many things happened during the hours in which she slept so heavily, but she was not disturbed by the wails and the sound of things being carried in and out of the bungalow.

When she awakened she lay and stared at the wall. The house was perfectly still. She had never known it to be so silent before. She heard neither voices nor footsteps, and wondered if everybody had got well of the cholera and all the trouble was over. She wondered also who would take care of her now her Ayah was dead. There would be a new Ayah, and perhaps she would know some new stories. Mary had been rather tired of the old ones. She did not cry because her nurse had died. She was not an affectionate child and had never cared much for any one. The noise and hurrying about and wailing over the cholera had frightened her, and she had been angry because no one seemed to remember that she was alive. Everyone was too panic-stricken to think of a little girl no one was fond of. When people had the cholera it seemed that they remembered nothing but themselves. But if everyone had got well again, surely some one would remember and come to look for her.

But no one came, and as she lay waiting the house seemed to grow more and more silent. She heard something rustling on the matting and when she looked down she saw a little snake gliding along and watching her with eyes like jewels. She was not frightened, because he was a harmless little thing who would not hurt her and he seemed in a hurry to get out of the room. He slipped under the door as she watched him.

How queer and quiet it is, she said. It sounds as if there were no one in the bungalow but me and the snake.

Almost the next minute she heard footsteps in the compound, and then on the veranda. They were men’s footsteps, and the men entered the bungalow and talked in low voices. No one went to meet or speak to them and they seemed to open doors and look into rooms. What desolation! she heard one voice say. That pretty, pretty woman! I suppose the child, too. I heard there was a child, though no one ever saw her.

Mary was standing in the middle of the nursery when they opened the door a few minutes later. She looked an ugly, cross little thing and was frowning because she was beginning to be hungry and feel disgracefully neglected. The first man who came in was a large officer she had once seen talking to her father. He looked tired and troubled, but when he saw her he was so startled that he almost jumped back.

Barney! he cried out. There is a child here! A child alone! In a place like this! Mercy on us, who is she!

I am Mary Lennox, the little girl said, drawing herself up stiffly. She thought the man was very rude to call her father’s bungalow A place like this! I fell asleep when everyone had the cholera and I have only just wakened up. Why does nobody come?

It is the child no one ever saw! exclaimed the man, turning to his companions. She has actually been forgotten!

Why was I forgotten? Mary said, stamping her foot. Why does nobody come?

The young man whose name was Barney looked at her very sadly. Mary even thought she saw him wink his eyes as if to wink tears away.

Poor little kid! he said. There is nobody left to come.

It was in that strange and sudden way that Mary found out that she had neither father nor mother left; that they had died and been carried away in the night, and that the few native servants who had not died also had left the house as quickly as they could get out of it, none of them even remembering that there was a Missie Sahib. That was why the place was so quiet. It was true that there was no one in the bungalow but herself and the little rustling snake.


Mistress Mary Quite Contrary

Mary had liked to look at her mother from a distance and she had thought her very pretty, but as she knew very little of her she could scarcely have been expected to love her or to miss her very much when she was gone. She did not miss her at all, in fact, and as she was a self-absorbed child she gave her entire thought to herself, as she had always done. If she had been older she would no doubt have been very anxious at being left alone in the world, but she was very young, and as she had always been taken care of, she supposed she always would be. What she thought was that she would like to know if she was going to nice people, who would be polite to her and give her her own way as her Ayah and the other native servants had done.

She knew that she was not going to stay at the English clergyman’s house where she was taken at first. She did not want to stay. The English clergyman was poor and he had five children nearly all the same age and they wore shabby clothes and were always quarreling and snatching toys from each other. Mary hated their untidy bungalow and was so disagreeable to them that after the first day or two nobody would play with her. By the second day they had given her a nickname which made her furious.

It was Basil who thought of it first. Basil was a little boy with impudent blue eyes and a turned-up nose, and Mary hated him. She was playing by herself under a tree, just as she had been playing the day the cholera broke out. She was making heaps of earth and paths for a garden and Basil came and stood near to watch her. Presently he got rather interested and suddenly made a suggestion.

Why don’t you put a heap of stones there and pretend it is a rockery? he said. There in the middle, and he leaned over her to point.

Go away! cried Mary. I don’t want boys. Go away!

For a moment Basil looked angry, and then he began to tease. He was always teasing his sisters. He danced round and round her and made faces and sang and laughed.

"Mistress Mary, quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?

With silver bells, and cockle shells,

And marigolds all in a row."

He sang it until the other children heard and laughed, too; and the crosser Mary got, the more they sang Mistress Mary, quite contrary; and after that as long as she stayed with them they called her Mistress Mary Quite Contrary when they spoke of her to each other, and often when they spoke to her.

You are going to be sent home, Basil said to her, at the end of the week. And we’re glad of it.

I am glad of it, too, answered Mary. Where is home?

She doesn’t know where home is! said Basil, with seven-year-old scorn. It’s England, of course. Our grandmama lives there and our sister Mabel was sent to her last year. You are not going to your grandmama. You have none. You are going to your uncle. His name is Mr. Archibald Craven.

I don’t know anything about him, snapped Mary.

I know you don’t, Basil answered. You don’t know anything. Girls never do. I heard father and mother talking about him. He lives in a great, big, desolate old house in the country and no one goes near him. He’s so cross he won’t let them, and they wouldn’t come if he would let them. He’s a hunchback, and he’s horrid. I don’t believe you, said Mary; and she turned her back and stuck her fingers in her ears, because she would not listen any more.

But she thought over it a great deal afterward; and when Mrs. Crawford told her that night that she was going to sail away to England in a few days and go to her uncle, Mr. Archibald Craven, who lived at Misselthwaite Manor, she looked so stony and stubbornly uninterested that they did not know what to think about her. They tried to be kind to her, but she only turned her face away when Mrs. Crawford attempted to kiss her, and held herself stiffly when Mr. Crawford patted her shoulder.

She is such a plain child, Mrs. Crawford said pityingly, afterward. And her mother was such a pretty creature. She had a very pretty manner, too, and Mary has the most unattractive ways I ever saw in a child. The children call her ‘Mistress Mary Quite Contrary,’ and though it’s naughty of them, one can’t help understanding it.

Perhaps if her mother had carried her pretty face and her pretty manners oftener into the nursery Mary might have learned some pretty ways too. It is very sad, now the poor beautiful thing is gone, to remember that many people never even knew that she had a child at all.

I believe she scarcely ever looked at her, sighed Mrs. Crawford. When her Ayah was dead there was no one to give a thought to the little thing. Think of the servants running away and leaving her all alone in that deserted bungalow. Colonel McGrew said he nearly jumped out of his skin when he opened the door and found her standing by herself in the middle of the room.

Mary made the long voyage to England under the care of an officer’s wife, who was taking her children to leave them in a boarding-school. She was very much absorbed in her own little boy and girl, and was rather glad to hand the child over to the woman Mr. Archibald Craven sent to meet her, in London. The woman was his housekeeper at Misselthwaite Manor, and her name was Mrs. Medlock. She was a stout woman, with very red cheeks and sharp black eyes. She wore a very purple dress, a black silk mantle with jet fringe on it and a black bonnet with purple velvet flowers which stuck up and trembled when she moved her head. Mary did not like her at all, but as she very seldom liked people there was nothing remarkable in that; besides which it was very evident Mrs. Medlock did not think much of her.

My word! she’s a plain little piece of goods! she said. And we’d heard that her mother was a beauty. She hasn’t handed much of it down, has she, ma’am? Perhaps she will improve as she grows older, the officer’s wife said good-naturedly. If she were not so sallow and had a nicer expression, her features are rather good. Children alter so much.

She’ll have to alter a good deal, answered Mrs. Medlock. And, there’s nothing likely to improve children at Misselthwaite—if you ask me! They thought Mary was not listening because she was standing a little apart from them at the window of the private hotel they had gone to. She was watching the passing buses and cabs and people, but she heard quite well and was made very curious about her uncle and the place he lived in. What sort of a place was it, and what would he be like? What was a hunchback? She had never seen one. Perhaps there were none in India.

Since she had been living in other people’s houses and had had no Ayah, she had begun to feel lonely and to think queer thoughts which were new to her. She had begun to wonder why she had never seemed to belong to anyone even when her father and mother had been alive. Other children seemed to belong to their fathers and mothers, but she had never seemed to really be anyone’s little girl. She had had servants, and food and clothes, but no one had taken any notice of her. She did not know that this was because she was a disagreeable child; but then, of course, she did not know she was disagreeable. She often thought that other people were, but she did not know that she was so herself.

She thought Mrs. Medlock the most disagreeable person she had ever seen, with her common, highly colored face and her common fine bonnet. When the next day they set out on their journey to Yorkshire, she walked through the station to the railway carriage with her head up and trying to keep as far away from her as she could, because she did not want to seem to belong to her. It would have made her angry to think people imagined she was her little girl.

But Mrs. Medlock was not in the least disturbed by her and her thoughts. She was the kind of woman who would stand no nonsense from young ones. At least, that is what she would have said if she had been asked. She had not wanted to go to London just when her sister Maria’s daughter was going to be married, but she had a comfortable, well paid place as housekeeper at Misselthwaite Manor and the only way in which she could keep it was to do at once what Mr. Archibald Craven told her to do. She never dared even to ask a question.

Captain Lennox and his wife died of the cholera, Mr. Craven had said in his short, cold way. Captain Lennox was my wife’s brother and I am their daughter’s guardian. The child is to be brought here. You must go to London and bring her yourself.

So she packed her small trunk and made the journey.

Mary sat in her corner of the railway carriage and looked plain and fretful. She had nothing to read or to look at, and she had folded her thin little black-gloved hands in her lap. Her black dress made her look yellower than ever, and her limp light hair straggled from under her black crepe hat.

A more marred-looking young one I never saw in my life, Mrs. Medlock thought. (Marred is a Yorkshire word and means spoiled and pettish.) She had never seen a child who sat so still without doing anything; and at last she got tired of watching her and began to talk in a brisk, hard voice.

I suppose I may as well tell you something about where you are going to, she said. Do you know anything about your uncle?

No, said Mary.

Never heard your father and mother talk about him?

No, said Mary frowning. She frowned because she remembered that her father and mother had never talked to her about anything in particular. Certainly they had never told her things.

Humph, muttered Mrs. Medlock, staring at her queer, unresponsive little face. She did not say any more for a few moments and then she began again.

I suppose you might as well be told something—to prepare you. You are going to a queer place.

Mary said nothing at all, and Mrs. Medlock looked rather discomfited by her apparent indifference, but, after taking a breath, she went on.

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 and took another breath. But there’s nothing else, she ended suddenly.

Mary had begun to listen in spite of herself. It all sounded so unlike India, and anything new rather attracted her. But she did not intend to look as if she were interested. That was one of her unhappy, disagreeable ways. So she sat still.

Well, said Mrs. Medlock. What do you think of it?

Nothing, she answered. I know nothing about such places.

That made Mrs. Medlock laugh a short sort of laugh.

Eh! she said, but you are like an old woman. Don’t you care?

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  • (4/5)
    Having just re-read "Black Beauty" and being disappointed, i was nervous about revisiting this book but, thankfully, my fears were unfounded. "The Secret Garden" was as delightful as the first time I read it many, many years ago.
  • (3/5)
    There is a lot to like about this children's classic: the set-up (Mary's family is all killed off during an outbreak of cholera in India - ouch! You don't have cold-hearted openings like that so often these days, and certainly not in this genre), the characterisations, the way that Hodgson Burnett attaches her story to the landscape of the Moors, the way that good life lessons are carefully disseminated without every becoming too cloying... and yet, because the ending was so well sign-posted by the halfway stage of the book, some sections did tend towards the tedious. Add to that the generally poor treatment meted out to the underclass (the poor, the gardeners, the household staff) and you end up with a book that it's easy to like and easy to be put off by. I'm glad I read it, and I would have no difficulty in recommending it to others, but there is a part of me that thinks that this book's time has been and gone.
  • (4/5)
    The Secret Garden tells the story of Mary, a young girl of privilege growing up in India who, after her parents' death of cholera, is swept away to live in her estranged uncle's Yorkshire manor house in England. Spoiled and disagreeable, with no history of any true friendships, she must adapt to a new environment and learn to entertain herself.I'm one of probably a very few who have not previously read or seen the movie adaptation of The Secret Garden. I've had a copy of the book on my shelf for quite a while, but it wasn't until just recently that I decided to delve into an audio copy available on Hoopla, which I devoured pretty quickly while doing various work & household activities. This book is definitely a product of its era (published in 1911), but that's part of its charm. The most enjoyable aspect for me was reading about the true pleasure of the discovery of a garden and the effects that discovery can have on a child's imagination and outlook on life. Sometimes it's the simple things which can bring us such pleasure, and it's nice to be able to look at that through a child's eye.
  • (5/5)
    Why did I wait so long to read this classic? The plot of this book centers around Mary Lennox, who came to England to live with a brooding uncle who she has never met as her parents both died of Cholera. She was a most disagreeable child. While there, she discovers her most disagreeable cousin who has been told he is an invalid from birth. She also meets Dicken, a Yorkshire lad who introduces the moor to Mary and her cousin. Just delightful!
  • (5/5)
    Mary, a spoiled girl, is sent to live with her uncle after the death of her parents in India. Encouraged to get outside, Mary discovers a secret garden, waiting to be brought back to life. With the help of her new friend Dickon, she transforms the garden and the garden transforms everyone who enters. This is another one of my favorite books. This book describes the garden in such detail that it can help students imagine what the garden looks like. The students could write about what they would do if they found a secret garden of their own. They could also compare and contrast this book with the movie version as well.
  • (4/5)
    Fun audiobook with Fiona Hughes reading it.
  • (5/5)
    One of my favorite childhood books, about a young girl named Mary who is sent to live with her recluse Uncle in England after her parents die in India. She befriends her spoiled cousin and a local common boy, and together they discover an abandoned garden.
  • (4/5)
    I loved this as a child and reading it as an adult was a treat. A must read.
  • (5/5)
    This story is very old and well-known, but it took me a while to read. It was a very interesting story and I was very interested in what happened, but the language in which it was written was so unfamiliar to me that sometimes it took me a while to get through the writing. However, I think it was beneficial for me to read a story like this because it shows how language and society has changed over time. It's good to compare life today to life back in the early 1900s.
  • (3/5)
    I'd probably give this a 3.5 star rating if that was an option. I enjoyed the book. I did. But it didn't really resonate with me the way it might have had I read it when I was younger.
  • (3/5)
    The story overall was a good one and I really enjoyed Mary as a character however I did feel as though there were something missing. There was no real climax in the story which made it a bit boring and slow at times. Also feel like some key characters were underdeveloped when they should have been further explored.
  • (4/5)
    As Mary, Dickon, and Colin would say: This book is Magic!
    A very sweet story with cute and unique characters. I only wish I had read it as a child.
  • (5/5)
    This is a wonderful book about Mary's growth. At the beginning of the story she was a much spoiled child and selfish. However after she moved to England, she changed into a very kind girl thanks to the fresh air, grass filled with flowers and a secret gerden.I was moved to read this book because she was actually very pure and changed dramatically. I like this story the best of all English books that I have read before.
  • (4/5)
    This is a sweet story of an orphan settling into her uncle's huge house and making a life for herself on the grounds as well as the house. Although told to stay away from one of the gardens, she can't resist. With encouragement from a new friend, she finds a way into the off limits space and brings the garden back to life and in doing so,healing her uncle's and her own hearts.
  • (5/5)
    Read this when I was in gradeschool so it was great to read it again. Loved the mystery surrounding the crippled cousin and the birth/growth of the secret garden/uncle. Great story. Surprisingly not just for girls-the title can mislead.
  • (4/5)
    As a child I loved watching The Secret Garden movie, it was one of my all time favourites. I had not realised it was a book at the time and wish I had of had the opportunity to read it as a child. The story was written so beautifully and I found the imagery to be so vivid in my mind. The illustrations by Robert Ingpen really added to the story and a spent quite a bit of time looking over them. This story was thoroughly enjoyable and heart warming.
  • (5/5)
    When bad-tempered Mary Lennox is orphaned, she is taken from India to the moors of Yorkshire to live at her uncle Archibald Craven's lonely manor house. The estate holds more than one mystery for Mary to solve, but all of the mysteries hinge on the mysterious walled garden, locked up by Mr. Craven ten years ago. Can Mary find a way to get in? What will she discover there, if she does?I think the thing that keeps me coming back to this book is that it can be read on so many different levels. It has a great plot that is perennially attractive to children -- what child doesn't long to solve a mystery and discover a secret place that is theirs alone? And if you go a little deeper, there's a lot of fascinating character development as Mary goes from someone completely unlikeable to a true heroine. There are interesting themes, like the healing power of nature, the danger of living up to negative expectations, and the importance of human connections. I'm always drawn to this book in the springtime, and I think I always will be, no matter how old I am. Readers of all ages will connect with this lovely story.
  • (4/5)
    lovely story about the power of nature and nurture to restore and teach young and old
  • (3/5)
    This is another classic I wanted to read because I liked the movie. And another one I put into my Classic TBR pile.

    Although I didn't enjoy it as much as the other classics I've read, it was still a cute little story. And I loved seeing her grow into a sweet, respectful little lady from that not so nice child she was all because she had something and someone to look forward to each and everyday.

    This story can be a lesson to many that if you give your children something to look forward to everyday that they enjoy doing, how will their behavior change for the better? If the children are in a more positive environment and have people around them that love them..How much better will their lives be? The change may take time but its possible for it to happen...That's what I get out of it anyway..

    And even though the adults didn't really want much to do with her or the other children in the beginning, she eventually got their views to change about her and the little boy she became friends with..

    I love the messaged more than anything in this story...That's part of the reason it didn't get less than a 3..And plus, how could I give a classic less than a 3?!?! :-)
  • (4/5)
    A uplifting story of a sullen child who becomes a better person through finding and cultivating the garden of the title. The story is also about the redemption of at least two other characters. I wasn't clear why everyone was so afraid of Colin, initially a weak and helpless ten year old. Quite good to read as a counterbalance to some of the serious stuff I have been reading.
  • (3/5)
    A really good read, and a classic, but not really my thing.
  • (5/5)
    Read the year I was eleven, shortly after Burnett's A Little Princess, The Secret Garden has been one of my "comfort novels" ever since, usually making an annual reappearance sometime in the dark and dreary winter, when the idea of a garden holds particular charm. The story of two cousins - spoiled orphan Mary Lennox, sent to stay at her uncle's estate in Yorkshire, and her invalid cousin Colin - both of whom find healing and love through the "magic" of the Secret Garden, this sentimental children's novel is a moving parable of the restorative power of nature...Stories of this type, in which children learn to "be good," abound in Victorian children's literature, but happily, The Secret Garden is not characterized by the almost obligatory sanctimony of the genre. Perhaps this is because Burnett is an author who understands child psychology, and the reader is able to identify with her characters, even when they are behaving poorly. This gives the book a modern sensibility that may account - in part - for its continued popularity.However that may be, this is such a satisfying novel, which never seems impossible or unrealistic. I have sometimes felt a little wistful when rereading it as an adult, recalling those days when I lived in a house with gardens. But that is another issue...Addendum: as is always the case for me, this reread - undertaken for the Children's Fiction Club to which I belong, was entirely satisfactory! I did notice some things, this time around, that eluded me before, like Mary's unfortunate comments about 'blacks' (by which she meant Indians in general, and her own servants specifically) not really being people. I think that Burnett clearly intends to show that this is not acceptable, by pointing out how rude, spoiled and unpleasant Mary is, although the narrator's own comments about the differences between the salt-of-the-earth Yorkshire characters, and the endlessly-salaaming Indian servants, still felt patronizing to me. Not enough to mar the story, but definitely of their time, and something adults might want to address, in discussing this story with children.
  • (4/5)
    As a child I had always adored the Warner Brothers live action adaptions of Frances Hodgson Burnett's most beloved duo (Secret Garden and Little Princess). I never read the books as a child (my time was devoted to Goosebumps and sci-fi/fantasy classics such as Journey to the Center of the Earth). When I read Little Princess as an adult I was very dismayed to find out how much was different and as I loved the movie so much, I could not forgive the book it's vast differences. I am exceptionally pleased to announce that the Secret Garden is almost exactly the same as the movie!!! Huzzah!!!It's as phenomenal as the movie I've adored for decades.
  • (4/5)
    SUMMARY - The Secret Garden is a wonderfull tale that will grab your attention and will not let it go until you finish the whole book. The Secret Garden is a story of a young girl living in British India during the Englosh control, who has been waited on hand and foot and must now go far away from India and live a completely different life. Mary Lennox leaves her home in India after the death of her father and mother who never really gave her any attention, and instead sent her away with all she desired, and plenty of native servant. Mistress Mary, quite contrary must now learn to dress herself and play in the open air. But mary's home isnt just an ordinary one, it is filled with secret rooms, secret deaths, secret people, and especially, a secret garden. Mary finds the key to a long shut down garden, and with not only unlocks the secrets of the Garden, but she also unlocks the secres of the Craven family. Mary spends her time there daily with a boy named Dickon, and the son of the much hated Archibald craven. Mary helps the Craven land, and it helps her. it seems this spoiled, lonely, pale girl from India, and this much forgotten old mansion are a perfect match!REVIEW - This classic by Frances Hodgson Burnett is one that never gets old. you really feel as if as you read it, you are unlocking the secrets of Mary's life. This is a story that can be enjoyed by all. I really enjoyed this book many times throughout my life. This is a must read. I feel that this story deserves at least four stars, and should be passed on. My highest recommendations for this story
  • (5/5)
    This book is about a little girl, Mary Lennox, who is orphaned after both her parents die of Cholera in India. She is sent to live with her uncle, Mr. Craven, in England but feels that she’s just as unwanted there as she was with her own parents. Being left to her own devices she learns that Mr. Craven’s wife died in a tragic accident but spent all of her time in a favorite garden that is now locked and hidden. By exploring the manor and the land she soon discovers the secret garden as well as her own cousin, Colin (the son of Mr. and Mrs. Craven) hidden away in a room due to his presumed spinal condition. Mary sneaks Colin out and with the help of their new friend Dickon, they begin to bring the garden back to life as well as restore Colin’s health and ability to walk. Mr. Craven, who spends most of his time brooding and traveling, comes home to discover the children in the garden and is shocked to find that his son can walk. The family is reunited and strengthened.I loved this book. There are so many interesting themes throughout the book as well as many mysteries. My favorite part of the book was when Mr. Craven finds Colin walking and running and realizes that, in his attempt to rid himself of his beloved wife’s tragedy, he has neglected his only son. I would be lying if I didn’t tear up at the thought of the family united by my Mary’s impertinence, curiosity, and determination. The characters seem very real and believable and I think that there is something in this book in which any child can relate.Classroom Extension Ideas:1.The children can choose a spot on school property (or they can use various pots) to plant their own secret garden. They can research and choose the different kinds of plants they will plant and take turns caring for the class’s secret garden.2.It might be interesting for older children to do different research activities about various things in this book. They could research the disease Cholera since it is pretty extinct these days. They could also do country studies on England and India. They could offer these studies in the form of a research paper, photo collage, or classroom presentation.
  • (4/5)
    This is a story about a young girl who goes to live in a mansion with her uncle. She discovers a secret garden, and the garden leads her to discover other hidden things within the mansion. It's a classic story about friendship and family.
  • (5/5)
    I love the word 'secret'. The way it rolls off the tongue, the way it means something that is hidden, something to keep all to yourself; then share with others… Who would not be intrigued by a secret? Anais Nin bought a house in Paris and was intrigued by a secret window - a fake window which was added to the front of the house for symmetry's sake but which could not be seen from the inside of the house. On holiday as a child the large old farmhouse we stayed in was all on one level, but there was a secret door, kept locked, that would have led to the upstairs… A secret sets the imagination rolling. Countless times I have read the book The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson-Burnett... I watched the film again over the weekend. It is a fantastically well-drawn narrative, clever enough to pull together an inner and an outer journey into one simple story. The story begins in India during the early 1900s, when Mary Lennox is orphaned and sent to England to live in Misselthwaite Manor, the gloomy estate of her brooding and melancholy uncle, Lord Craven. Because the uncle is almost always away on travels, struggling to forget the death of his beloved wife, Mary is left mostly alone to explore the estate. She finds a door that leads to a secret garden left neglected since the death of her aunt… she befriends the young brother of a staff maid called Dickon and Lord Craven's apparently crippled son, her cousin Colin, who has been needlessly bed-ridden for years. Together the three children restore the neglected garden on the estate grounds. As the garden grows, the characters grow.  The metaphor used in this book is uncomplicated and yet so powerful. There is something universal about the use of nature is writing or poetry. We understand it because we are part of it. Life, death, light, dark and the changing of the seasons all reflected in our own lives. The closeness to nature and the importance of environment is one of the things I love about this story. I am also interested in the initial setting of the book in India, the India of the British Empire. My family on my Dad's side lived in this India. My Grandfather grew up in the Punjab. And I recognise this India in The Secret Garden… The main character Mary Lennox is all at once a child and a young woman, a little girl and a force - a catalyst. She is weak and strong, innocence and experience. In the film version, the character is exquisitely played by Kate Maberly. When Mary arrives at Misselthwaite Manor she is defiant and haughty in her speech and attitude and yet the body language she uses is that of a little girl afraid and unsure. This is excellent acting and portrays the layers of this character that are also evident in the book. Isn't this just how we all feel day to day? We like people to think we know what we are doing, to think we are sure and capable adults… but inside we are still children. I have an excellent childhood memory. I can remember my emotions and responses to situations and experiences from as early as age 2. I can still recognise that 2 year old in myself today. I am the same person inside and I will be that person when I am 80. In some ways The Secret Garden is also about learning to be that person, whatever age we are.
  • (5/5)
    There are some books that every child must read, and this is one of them. And it is a great pleasure to continue to read this book again as an adult. The process of working in the soil and watching things grow, as children or adults, is the story celebrated in The Secret Garden. It reminds the reader why schools have playgrounds outdoors and what inspires so many people to explore this country's national parks. Is it no wonder that the man who discovered the Mariposa Grove in Yosemite Park, though diagnosed with a fatal illness before moving there, was able to live into his late 90's after living in a cabin among the Giant Sequoias? Frances Hodgson Burnett reminds each of us to reconnect with the living earth, thereby revitalizing ourselves and nurturing our souls.
  • (3/5)
    this book is a classic ... no matter how old you are .... or how trhis book is its amazing
    the breathtaking description of the way the garden grows is so beautiful!!!

    This book will continue to be read for many more years!!!
  • (4/5)
    what small displaced child doesn't want "a bit of earth" to call her own?