"The Secret Garden" is the story of Mary Lennox, a sick young girl living in India with her parents. Mary rarely sees her parents though, as her sick and unsightly condition is too much for them to bother with. She is placed in the constant care of Indian servants until an outbreak of cholera kills everyone in the Lennox household except for Mary. Mary returns to Yorkshire to live with her uncle, Archibald Craven. It is here that Mary learns of a secret garden that belonged to the late wife of her uncle. Mary is instantly intrigued and sets out to find this secret garden and what is contained within.
Mistress Mary is quite contrary until she helps her garden grow. Along the way, she manages to cure her sickly cousin Colin, who is every bit as imperious as she. These two are sullen little peas in a pod, closed up in a gloomy old manor on the Yorkshire moors of England, until a locked-up garden captures their imaginations and puts the blush of a wild rose in their cheeks; "It was the sweetest, most mysterious-looking place any one could imagine. The high walls which shut it in were covered with the leafless stems of roses which were so thick, that they matted together.... 'No wonder it is still,' Mary whispered. 'I am the first person who has spoken here for ten years.'" As new life sprouts from the earth, Mary and Colin's sour natures begin to sweeten. For anyone who has ever felt afraid to live and love, The Secret Garden's portrayal of reawakening spirits will thrill and rejuvenate. Frances Hodgson Burnett creates characters so strong and distinct, young readers continue to identify with them even 85 years after they were conceived. (Ages 9 to 12)