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The Secret Garden (Unabridged)

The Secret Garden (Unabridged)

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The Secret Garden (Unabridged)

4.5/5 (202 valoraciones)
288 página
5 horas
Mar 21, 2018


This eBook edition of "The Secret Garden" has been formatted to the highest digital standards and adjusted for readability on all devices.
Mary Lennox, a sickly and spoiled little girl, is orphaned to dim prospects in a gloomy English manor. Her only friend is a bed-ridden boy named Colin whose prospects may be dimmer than hers. But when Mary finds the key to a Secret Garden, the magical powers of transformation fall within her reach. The Secret Garden is an inspirational tale of transformation and empowerment.
Mar 21, 2018

Sobre el autor

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.

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The Secret Garden (Unabridged) - Frances Hodgson Burnett


Chapter 1

There is No One Left

Table of Contents

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 every one. 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. Every one 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 every one 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 was 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 every one 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.

Chapter 2

Mistress Mary Quite Contrary

Table of Contents

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 any one 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 any one’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 very 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 crêpe 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?

It doesn’t matter, said Mary, whether I care or not.

You are right enough there, said Mrs. Medlock. "It doesn’t. What you’re to be kept at Misselthwaite Manor for I don’t know, unless because it’s the easiest way. He’s not going to trouble himself about you, that’s sure and certain. He never troubles himself about no one."

She stopped herself as if she had just remembered something in time.

He’s got a crooked back, she said. That set him wrong. He was a sour young man and got no good of all his money and big place till he was married.

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Lo que piensa la gente sobre The Secret Garden (Unabridged)

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  • (4/5)
    Loved this when it was read to me in grade school; loved it almost as much now. It does seem to be a bit sappy at the end when all's well that ends well. Still, great read.(Read during coronavirus)
  • (3/5)
    I expected a little more from this classic.
  • (4/5)
    Audio book performed by Vanessa Maroney

    Mary Lennox is a spoiled, disagreeable orphaned ten year old when she is sent to live on her uncle’s estate in Yorkshire. Used to living in a household of servants in India she has always been sickly and pampered. Left largely to her own devices she begins to explore the manor. Before long she uncovers some secrets, makes friends, and changes her outlook on life.

    This is a classic of children’s literature, first published in 1911. At heart it is about the restorative powers of friendship, love, and nature, and the power of positive thinking. Set in the several months from the end of winter to the beginnings of summer, the garden’s rebirth mirrors the transformation in the children. It’s a rather simple story but I can easily see why it has remained popular with children for over 100 years.

    Vanessa Maroney does a fine job narrating the audiobook. She has a gift for the various accents that helps to easily distinguish which character is speaking. The Yorkshire speech of the servant girl, Martha, is sometimes difficult to understand, but that didn’t really detract from the story.
  • (5/5)
    Two very spoiled and ill-mannered children are brought out of isolation by the healing power of a garden. A timeless and well told tale.
  • (4/5)
    As a young man, many times I felt very much alone, and Burnett's garden came to symbolize a way out of my isolation. In my own life reading became the garden that allowed me to escape and recreate myself - so for me this book resonates on many levels.
  • (4/5)
    Spoilt Mary arrives at Misselthwaite Manor and is befriended by the cheerful maid Martha, but otherwise almost ignored. The book is about her growing health, both physically and emotionally, about another sick child, and about a garden. I ilke the way that the main characters of this book are not very nice people at all, yet I can still empathise and care about them. Some snobbery of course, as was inevitable at the time, but enjoyable for all ages. Suitable for around age 8 or older.
  • (3/5)
    Many years ago my third grade teacher read this book to our class and I remembered loving it. I just recently listend to it on audio and thoroughly enjoyed it again. Burnet's love of nature is evident and she uses it to transform Mary Lenox and her cousin, Colin, from sour, ill-tempered children, to confident, bright-eyed, healthy children. A wonderful fairy tale for all ages.
  • (5/5)
    Freaking loved this!! I had grown up watching the Hallmark version of this on repeat with my best friend and I must say... it followed the book pretty faithfully (minus the ending where the three kids meet up 10 years later). This is the perfect book to read in the spring and it made me really want to get outside and start working on my garden. There were a couple dated references (Indians being referred to as black and sub-human) that weren't cool but... it was a product of its time. For those unfamiliar with the premises, it basically follows a ten year old girl who was raised in India who is orphaned when cholera kills both her British parents. She is sent to live with a distant uncle in England who she has never met. She is a spoiled girl, used to getting her way, but she befriends a local boy who is so good humored and into nature that she starts to turn into a good little girl. Before long there is another spoiled boy who comes into the mix. Will he change his ways too? Wonderful, great for kids and adults alike. It definitely holds up!
  • (3/5)
    I felt betrayed, as I chose this book from a possible 3 (Bridge to Teribithia, From the Mixed-Up Files). I thought that this was going to be adventure and/or mystery, as it had the word "secret" in the title. I was terribly disappointed at how realistic and uneventful the story was. I kept thinking how much I would have preferred either of the other two.
  • (4/5)
    Unlike some novels such as Robinson Crusoe, Treasure Island or even Pollyanna, which were written for adult readership, but are now mainly read as children's literature, The secret garden was conceived as a children's story that could also be read by more mature readers. What it has in common with the former, is that it is unmistakenly a classic. The story is both interesting and engaging, and very well written.The story is fairly straight-forward. Two children, one neglected and the other spoilt find the way out of their deplorable mental condition by discovering the regenerative power of nature. The novel poises the inability of over-civilisation against the healing power of nature and the natural way of life.Frances Hodgson Burnet has written several novels featuring neglected or very spoilt children. The little girl in the story was an unwanted child, whose selfish parents had no time or interest to raise. As a orphan she is raised in the care of her uncle. However, the uncle is buried in sorrow over his deceased wife, spending more time away from his estate to mourn, wandering aimlessly across the European continent.The story makes use of various forms of symbolic imagery. The story developes from winter into spring, from darkness and harshness into light and warmth, both in nature and human relations. The girl discovers the walled garden, believed to be desolate and ruined, but in fact an earthly paradise, and a quiet harbour, where time has stood still. Belief in the magic of the place, the garden enables Mary to reconnect with others, first with a robin, and later in friendship with Dickon. In turn, Mary's refound ties with life and nature, enables her to restore her cousin Colin to health.Frances Hodgson Burnet is an American author but her British roots can be clearly felt in this novel, which is written in the same tradition as Wuthering Heights or the novels of Thomas Hardy.
  • (5/5)
    I finally read The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I want to start with the film review for this one because it's truly in my top 5 favorite films of all time. The movie came out in 1993 and is the reason why I have wanted to ramble across the Yorkshire moors (which I finally did this summer!). The script includes lines which are directly lifted from the novel and is almost entirely faithful to the storyline. It is absolutely fantastic and I highly recommend it. Now for the book! It features a little girl named Mary Lennox who is orphaned and sent to live with an uncle who she has never met named Archibald Craven. Mary's childhood up until this point has been rather lonesome, grim, and without affection. As a result, she is a morose and not at all agreeable child. The house is large, foreboding, and empty apart from the servants as Mr. Craven frequently travels. They're situated out on the Yorkshire moors which to the little girl appears barren and desolate. At first, you think that Mary's life has not improved one iota...and then she starts exploring the gardens. She learns that there is a garden that is hidden and which no one has been inside for 10 years since Mrs. Craven died. Through seemingly magical circumstances, she locates the key and finds her way inside only to discover that the garden is not entirely dead. She enlists the help of a boy that lives on the moors named Dickon who tames animals and over time helps to tame her as well. They decide they are going to bring the garden back to life. This isn't the only mystery of the novel either...and I'm not going to tell you anymore because you need to read it and then watch the film. GO, GO, GO!
  • (5/5)
    What a fantastic novel! The reason they don’t do children’s books like this anymore is because it’s frankly too good for kids. Cleverer than the average adults’ book.The picture drawn of Mary is superb. There’s a bit in chapter 3 where she says to Martha “...blacks! They are not people – they’re servants who must salaam to you”. In other words, Mary is so twisted that she can no longer even recognise other members of her own species. There’s also the image of her putting flowers into sterile sand. A wonderful metaphor for herself. Originally a beautiful thing, plucked, and set rootless in conditions that will only wither her. This of course ties in to the motif (is that the word? Are children’s books allowed to have motifs?) of the garden later in the novel.I’ve been reading a bit about Burnett herself and apparently she was a theosophist. Now I don’t want to get into my opinion on her spiritualist beliefs, but at the risk of you thinking me a complete lune, I have to say that I don’t believe in germ theory. Consider this: for hundreds of centuries religious people have been saying that illness is caused by evil spirits. “You can’t see them, but don’t worry, we have special eyes and we know how to combat them.” Then along come scientists, saying that illness is caused by germs. “You can see them, but don’t worry, we have special eyes and we know how to combat them.”So I have a certain sympathy for her beliefs. Anyway, as the novel progresses and Burnett’s confidence grows this affirmative thought theme grows in strength. If you know her beliefs then you can see them being held by the characters themselves. Mrs Medlock and the Doctor are obviously believers as one of their conversations makes clear.Burnett never rams it down your throat though. It’s Magic!
  • (5/5)
    I have seen plays of the Secret Garden but never gotten around to reading the actual book. I was excited to finally, finally get around to reading this. It was a sweet and well written book that is engaging and leaves the reader feeling happy and hopeful. Mary Lennox is a spoiled and sickly child whose family died from sickness in India. Mary is suddenly transported to the cold and grey mansion of Misselthwaite Manor, to live with an Uncle she never sees and never hears anything about. Mary is mostly on her own and decides to hunt down the rumored garden that has been hidden for years. In her adventures, both inside and out, Mary hears the cries of a child and begins to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding Misselthwaite Manor. Along the way Mary gains both her health and a much less sour personality.This was a well done and engaging historical fiction classic. This book was easy to read with some light humor and many heartfelt scenes. It's one of those classics that really stands the test of time (I know cliche' but true). It was surprisingly easy to read and very engaging.The whole premise is about the transformation of two sour and sickly children into healthy happy kids; the secret garden that they find and work in is the main cause of their transformation. There are a ton of wonderful and quirky characters in here. There is some mystery as well. This is a very feel good book. You can’t help but smile as these kids learn the pleasures of making something on their own and learning how to live and have friends. This is one of the books that just makes you smile and feel good.Overall a very well done historical fiction that leaves the reader feeling happy and hopeful. The book is an easy and engaging read that really stands the test of time. I ended up enjoying it a lot and am glad to have read it. It’s a great book about growing up and friendship that I would recommend everyone read it at least once.
  • (5/5)
    When i was reading this, I found it very good, but it caught me quite unawares, when there was slow build up, towards the end, which left me with a lump in my throat. Very powerful. Brilliant story.
  • (4/5)
    Wish I hadn't waited most of my life to read this delightful book. I would invite each and every character to tea. How can a book be bad when it is based on the recuperative value of magic.
  • (4/5)
    There is nothing I could say that could convey how much this book (and film) belongs to my childhood. Dickon (of The History Boys fame no less!) is mesmerising, whereas May is everything little girls are but should not be. Also one of the few films to be true to the book in almost all aspects (how you portray death by cholera is anyone's guess, however.)
  • (2/5)
    I could not quite get past the persistent India-bashing in the book. The idea of a sickly child being healed with love, attention, and wholesome recreational activities is certainly appealing and may find strong application in today's problems with the rising generation of neglected, over-weight, video-game-obsessed couch potatoes.
  • (2/5)
    I never read The Secret Garden as a child, though I do remember seeing two different film versions of it. I'm not sure if I would have liked this as a kid - I want to say no because even then I was too cynical to put up with this kind of treacly crap, but I did love Little Women and Anne of Green Gables and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn so who knows. But wow, at the tender age of 37, this one doesn't do much for me. It's kind of charming in the beginning but then gets very preachy. I had been enjoying Mary's development from a bratty sour puss into an energetic little girl but then the book becomes all about Colin who is really annoying. There is a bunch of weird, quasi-Christian Science stuff going on, and I can't understand why the awesome Sowerby family would be at all interested in these obnoxious rich people. And I can't understand why I thought this was going to get three stars from me. Definitely more like two. And the ending was weird. So. Very. Abrupt.
  • (4/5)
    This book would be good for talking about the late 1800s early 1900s time period. I think students would like this book because of how the main character finds ways in entertain herself.
  • (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)
    I loved this story as a child.... the secrets, the adventures of roaming free out of the sight of controlling adults and the wonderful woodland creatures that befriend Dicken captivated my childhood mind. So, you are probably wondering how the story stands up to an adult read? Pretty good. Yes, some of the dialogue and plot is a bit sugar-coated but the idea of a huge, 100-room mansion to rattle around in and seemingly endless grounds for fresh air adventures continues to catch my fancy, as did all of the secrets, and not the garden secret. One aspect of the story that appealed to my adult mind that I probably glossed over as a child is the wonderful manner in which Burnett portrays nature's bounty and the overall joys of spring and rebirth. A delightful story that I continue to love today, albeit for slightly different reasons that the joy it provided me with in my youth.
  • (4/5)
    Now many may be surprised to learn that I never read this book as a child. I have heard of it but wan never one to read books just because everyone said they were good or that I should read them. I could be very defiant when it came to reading.I am glad that I did finally read this book. I have seen parts of the movie but never from the beginning. This is a very nice story of a girl, two boys and a secret garden. The names of the children are Mary, Dickon and Colon.Mary is quite contrary is what children from India called her when she lived there with her parents. When her parents and everyone she knew had died she was sent to live with her uncle. At first she was not happy to be in England. She is very thin and looks ill but once she starts venturing outside and getting exercise and fresh air everyone notices how she grows and changes.She meets Dickon and those two start taking care of the Secret Garden. One night Mary hears some one crying and is determined to find out who it is. She finds a boy in his room crying. This is her cousin Colon that she did not know existed. The bonds that are formed between all three children is quite remarkable and believable.
  • (5/5)
    This has always been one of my favorite books. I love the vivid images of a sallow, angry girl brought from India and dumped into a bleak English manor where no one cares that she thinks she should be fawned over like a lap dog. I always admired the caring of the people who take on her upbringing when they didn't have to and who help her figure out that she can be a strong, joyful, interesting person with just a little effort. The whole twisted element of her unexpected cousin makes it even more intriguing.
  • (3/5)
    I maybe one of the few adults who have never read this story as a child. I really liked the beginning of the book and overall the message of positive thinking and exercise that can make you feel good and give you a sense of accomplishment. I found the part about chanting and magic a little weird but perhaps I would not think this if I was a child reading it. Overall I think this is 3.5 stars.
  • (3/5)
    The Secret Garden is a classic novel written by Frances Hodgson Burnett.It tells the story of three kids, and a man, whose lives were transformed by a secret garden.The main characters in the story are Mary, the little girl who lost her parents to an outbreak of cholera in India; Colin, the son of the master of the mansion; Dickson, the younger brother of one of the female servants in the household; and Archibald Craven, Colin's father.The minor characters are Ben Weatherstaff, the old gardener; Martha, one of the female servants and who becomes Mary's friend; Mrs. Medlock, the head servant; and Susan Sowerby, Dickon's and Martha's mother.Mary lost her parents in India. Having no one else to take care of her, she was sent to England to her uncle who owns a huge manor in the middle of a moor. She is an ill-tempered and ill-mannered child for she has never received any of her mother's love and attention.Colin is almost as old as Mary. He is a very sickly child. He is bed-ridden out of choice, and he is prone to bouts of anger and hysteria. He is a miserable child who believes that he looks horrible and that he is dying. He, too, is a neglected child. His father doesn't want to look at him because he reminds him very much of his mother who died when he was a baby. So his father is almost always out of the house, wandering from place to place.Archibald Craven is a severely depressed and troubled man. His wife died ten years ago due to a freak accident. They have a very beautiful garden filled with roses. The garden is sort of their secret hideaway. When she died, he almost went mad with grief. He locked the garden, buried the key, and forgot all about it. He also abandoned his son, because he reminded him so much of his wife. He provided for his every need -- food, shelter, clothing -- except love and attention.Dickson is a country lad. He is a few years older than Mary and Colin. He loves the outdoors, has foxes and birds for his friends, and enjoys making plants grow.Mary, Colin, and Dickon quickly become friends. Mary discovers the secret garden with the help of a robin, and she shares her discovery with them.The garden, with all its beauty, serenity and secrecy, as well as their friendship, transformed them. There is a parallel change between the garden and their characters. At first, the garden looked dead and gray. But with care, the children were able to transform it into a haven of beautiful blooming flowers. At first, Mary and Colin looked sullen, morbid, ill-tempered and mean. But with the passing of time, and with the nourishing power of their friendship, and the beautiful effect the garden had on them (Colin called it "Magic"), the children became more healthy and bursting with life.Archibald Craven dreamt of his wife calling out to him to go back to the garden. He went back and was utterly amazed when he saw the secret garden come alive again. But he was more moved by the sight of his son, no longer sickly, but strong and bright. Colin carried in the light of his eyes the same eyes of his mother, Archibald's wife. He somehow finds his peace.I liked the story, but somehow I didn't find it very enjoyable. Maybe it's because I didn't really try hard enough to imagine the setting of the story. I'm not very familiar with the different kinds of flowers and plants it describes (nor am I fond of flowers and gardens, for that matter). I also don't know what a Yorkshire accent sounds like, so I found it a bit difficult to make sense of what the characters were saying.I like the theme of the novel, though. Mary, Colin, and Archibald are wounded characters. Mary and Colin suffered from parental neglect. Archibald was haunted by the death of his wife. He loved her so much, and she was so beautiful inside and out that, when he lost her, he couldn't live sanely anymore. He had to run away from the boy who reminded him of her, and he had to seek out elsewhere the beauty that he once beheld in his wife and their secret garden. But all three of them eventually found peace. Friendship, love, and beauty -- these were the things that healed them in the end.
  • (4/5)
    I really enjoyed this book at the beginning, the talk about magic was a little repetitive to me at times. I would recommend this book however as a good read.
  • (5/5)
    In my opinion, this is a great story with so many facets. First, this story touches on tough issues such as death, loneliness, and life's uncertainties. For example, Mary's mother and father, whom she did not have a good relationship with, die suddenly from disease in India. Once Mary is sent to live with her uncle in a completely new environment, she begins to find herself with the help of a few new friends. This pushes readers to compare hard life experiences with Mary's, as well as learning about the importance of friendship and perseverance. Secondly, the characters within this story are well-developed and believable. Mary, at the start of the book is spoiled, and resistant to change. After Mary is introduced to Martha, the maid, and her son, Dickon, Marys outlook on her surrounds begin to change. Dickon is rather unusual, but in a magical sense. He is the direct opposite character of Mary, however, their stark difference grow to compliment each other. Readers will find so many relateable moments in this coming of age tale, from life lessons learned to coping with difficult moments, to finding the beauty in things, and creating friendships.
  • (3/5)
    I read this for a groupread, and many in my group agreed that this book should really only be read by 3rd-4th graders, who would really love this book. Reading it as adults, the book just seems slow and predictable. It picks up about halfway through when Mary meets Colin-I really began to enjoy the book then-but I can never call this a favorite. I wish I had read it as a child so it could have held more meaning for me.
  • (5/5)
    A classic story of transformation, for two flawed children, and finally for a grieving adult, set against a delicious backdrop of the moors. Deservedly famous!
  • (5/5)
    A very enjoyable story about a young girl with a nasty personality. Mary grows up like a little princess in India, where you treat your nannies like hired help. She is thrown into a difficult situation when her mother and all of the household die from typhoid or something like that. Mary is shipped off to her next of kin, a weird old uncle who lives in a huge mansion in England. Mary continues to act the only way she knows how, but she soon starts to become a different person after exploring the gardens and the moor. She discovers a secret garden, locked up and not talked about because it belonged to the uncle’s dead wife. She comes alive as the garden does, completely changing herself and her personality. She then discovers another secret: her cousin Colin, kept hidden away from the rest of the world because of his frail health. The two recognize a bit of themselves in the other and get along well. Colin too learns about the secret garden and helps Mary and Dickon (one of the servant’s younger brothers) to make the garden come alive again. Well-written, a classic story, has some lovely passages and great imagery. Even though it was old-fashioned, it still is a great story.