Newly orphaned, little Mary Lennox is sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with an uncle. Sickly, spoiled, and selfish, Mary is ignored by her uncle, just as she was ignored by her busy parents. Her gloomy new home, full of locked doors and mysterious cries, holds few charms for Mary until one day she discovers an arched doorway that leads to an overgrown garden. As Mary, with the help of a kindly local boy, Dickon, tends the neglected garden, it begins to come alive — and so, too, does she. The discovery of the secret garden leads to another discovery: that of her invalid cousin Colin, shut away in one of the manor’s locked wings. Colin is every bit as nasty and self-centered as Mary was. Can the garden help Colin thrive as well? Beautifully written, this powerful, moving tale of friendship, renewal, and the healing power of nature remains a perennial favorite of both children and adults.
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)