Books + Hot Chocolate

Books + Hot Chocolate

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

The Secret Garden

Title                : The Secret Garden
Author             : Frances Hodgson Burnett
Genre              : Fiction/ Fantasy 

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is one of the greatest children’s books in the market. For those who love to indulge themselves into fantasy, this is certainly a great choice of book to read. 

Frances Hodgson Burnett Biography

Frances Eliza Hodgson was born in Cheetham, near Manchester, England. After her father died in 1852, the family eventually fell on straitened circumstances. As a result, Frances began writing to help earn money for the family, publishing stories in magazines from the age of 19. In 1870 her mother died and in 1872 she married Swan Burnett and they lived in Paris for two years. There she began to write novels, the first of which (That Lass o' Lowries), 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.

Burnett enjoyed socializing and lived a lavish lifestyle. Beginning in the 1880s, she began to travel to England frequently and bought a home there in the 1890s where she wrote The Secret Garden. Her oldest son, Lionel, died of tuberculosis in 1892, which caused a relapse of the depression she struggled with for much of her life. Towards the end of her life she settled in Long Island, where she died in 1924.

In 1936 a memorial sculpture by Bessie Potter Vonnoh was erected in her honour in Central Park's Conservatory Garden. The statue depicts her two famous Secret Garden characters, Mary and Dickon.

[Source: Wikipedia

Why this book is interesting? 

In The Secret Garden, Hodgson Burnett incorporated her own life experiences into the story. The main protagonist, Mary Lennox, has a pretty similar life as the author. This is because the events of Mary Lennox's early childhood mirror those of Burnett's own. For example, both of them had loss their parents when they were still very young. Another similarity that we can see is that both Mary and Burnett had to migrate to a foreign country so that they can start a new life after their parents’ death. Both of their uncles had promised to take care of them once they reached the destination (which is the uncle’s house). However, there is one difference about them. Mary, the protagonist did manage to live a great life with her uncle while Burnett is not that lucky. That help never materialized for Burnett, however, and her family was forced to take shelter in an abandoned log cabin. Perhaps, the happy ending in The Secret Garden is a dream that Burnett will never have in her life. Besides, Burnett herself claimed that a robin had shown her the key to a real walled garden, so she used this as an inspiration to allow her protagonist to discover the secret garden in the story, also with the help from a red-breast robin.

[Source: Sparknotes]

In my opinion, I think that the way the author included her own life experiences in the story is very interesting. Indirectly, we can understand the author through the point of view of the protagonist, Mary Lennox. It is like Burnett has used this book to tell her own story to the world. Furthermore, I think that by relating your own experiences in the story can help to make the story more alive and believable. The way she describes the greatness of NATURE in this story is also very captivating. Her descriptions of the moor are very detail so the readers can easily visualize the image. Another plus point about this book is that it uses simple English language and the story plot is actually quite straightforward, so it will be no problem for everyone to understand it. In short, The Secret Garden is one of those books that remain in your memory even after so many years because the storyline is simply amazing.

The Storyline    
The protagonist, Mary Lennox is an orphaned girl who was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle. When her parents were still alive, she was being raised ONLY by the Indian servants because her parents don’t want to have anything to do with her. So, she grows up to be a disagreeable child and everyone hated her. But as soon as she lives at her uncle’s house, she begins to make friends and her attitudes started to change. After one of the servants told her about the garden that no one has ever seen, she decided to find it by herself. The discovery of the secret garden and Mary’s friendship are the elements that make this story fascinating. So, if you are interested to know more about this story, do buy a copy and discovers the mystery by yourself. 

If you are interested in this story but you feel a bit reluctant to read, you can also watch this on movie. So, here’s the link. But I have to warn you that some of the contents are altered, so there are some differences between the movie and the book. But no matter which media you want to use, do enjoy this story and I will introduce more good books in the next posts. See ya!

You can also listen to the full audio of the story on Youtube.  So, this is the Full Audiobook. 


  1. love that you posted the movies too~

  2. Hai... thankyou for the comment. But I would suggest you to read the book first because the movie is a bit different from the real storyline. Nevertheless, both are very interesting.