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Mary’s parents fall ill and die, forcing her to be transplanted from India to the English countryside. She arrives at a strange and foreign country manor, where she discovers a long-neglected garden and hears strange sobbing noises at night.
Thus begins The Secret Garden, a children’s book with an unusually dense collection of themes, symbols, and motifs. Mary’s personal development mirrors her unraveling the secret of the hidden garden, and a subtle backdrop of magical realism adds a mysterious air to the proceedings.
Contemporary reception left The Secret Garden largely unnoticed, eclipsed by Hodgson’s other work, Little Lord Fauntleroy. Since then, however, the book’s reputation has steadily grown, with modern critics considering it one of the finest children’s books of the 20th century.
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About Frances Hodgson Burnett
Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett (24 November 1849 – 29 October 1924) was a British novelist and playwright. She is best known for the three children's novels Little Lord Fauntleroy (published in 1885–1886), A Little Princess (1905), and The Secret Garden (1911).
Frances Eliza Hodgson was born in Cheetham, Manchester, England. After her father died in 1853, when Frances was 3 years old, the family fell on straitened circumstances and in 1865 emigrated to the United States, settling in New Market, Tennessee. Frances began her remunerative writing career there at age 19 to help earn money for the family, publishing stories in magazines. In 1870, her mother died. In Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1873 she married Swan Burnett, who became a medical doctor. Their first son Lionel was born a year later. The Burnetts lived for two years in Paris, where their second son Vivian was born, before returning to the United States to live in Washington, D.C. Burnett then began to write novels, the first of which (That Lass o' Lowrie's), was published to good reviews. Little Lord Fauntleroy was published in 1886 and made her a popular writer of children's fiction, although her romantic adult novels written in the 1890s were also popular. She wrote and helped to produce stage versions of Little Lord Fauntleroy and A Little Princess.
Other books by Frances Hodgson Burnett
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