Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote The Secret Garden, a much-beloved classic that can be found on the bookshelves of those who love well-written, meaningful, refined literature. The story is timeless and never loses its appeal, almost one hundred years after it was first published.
The story begins with Mary Lennox arriving from India to live with her reclusive uncle in the lonely Yorkshire Moors. The scene is set with great intrigue and so begins a complex and fascinating story.
Mary is spoilt, willful and self-centred. Recently orphaned, alone and unloved, she shuns any care that comes her way from the servants working for her uncle. Colin Craven, her uncle’s only crippled son, also lives in the same house, shut away from the world. He is as difficult and as selfish as Mary and in time they come to know each other, finding in the other a reflection of themselves.
The two children seem doomed to miserable, lonely lives until one day Mary finds a key to a secret garden. Once loved and cared for, the garden is now neglected and overgrown but Mary makes it her project and slowly restores it to life with the help of the free-spirited Dickon, brother of one of the housemaids.
The garden begins to work its magic on Mary and on Colin who is also let into the secret. As she tends to the garden, Mary discovers parts of herself that were as wild and neglected and slowly she starts to change. By the book’s conclusion, she is a normal child who cares for others. The final scene is very moving and completes a fascinating journey into the inner lives of the characters, all of whom have grown.
The Secret Garden is a masterpiece of story telling. The story is beautifully crafted and easily holds its audience captive. It is as relevant to people today as it was when it was first written, a fact born out by the place it holds in popular, classic literature. It has also been the subject of several movies ranging from the 1950’s up until recent times.