First published as a US serial in The American Magazine beginning in 1910, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett [below] was first published as a book in 1911. The American edition by Stokes [below] featured illustrations by Maria Louise Kirk, while illustrations in the British edition published by Heinemann were by Charles Heath Robinson. Burnett was born in Manchester, England in 1849 but after the death of her father, she emigrated with her family to the Knoxville, Tennessee, USA in 1865. Read more about the Stokes first edition at Bauman Rare Books.
Mary Lennox, born at the turn of the twentieth century to wealthy British parents in India who do not want her, is cared for by servants. After the death of her parents she is sent to England to Yorkshire, to live with her Uncle Archibald at Misselthwaite Manor. There she is bad-tempered and dislikes everything about her new home until Martha, a maid, tells her the story of Mrs Craven who loved her private walled garden of roses. When his wife died, Mr Craven locked the garden and buried the key. As Mary wonders about the secret garden, her humour and behaviour improves and she makes friends with the gardener. When she finds the key, Mary’s brother Dickon helps Mary to learn about gardening, plants and wildlife. Then one night, exploring a cry in the night, she discovers a boy living in a hidden bedroom. This is Colin, her cousin, who has a damaged spine. She tells Colin of the secret garden and when they visit it together, Colin finds his weak legs can stand after all.
The 1993 film The Secret Garden starred Kate Maberly, Heydon Prowse, Andrew Knott, John Lynch and Maggie Smith. Exterior shots of Misselthwaite Manor were shot at Allerton Castle in Yorkshire, internal scenes at Fountains Hall near Ripon. Watch the film trailer.
Read here why The Secret Garden is the ‘Porridge & Cream’ comfort read of novelist Laura Wilkinson.
‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett [UK: Virago] Buy now
If you like old books, check out these:-
‘An Ice Cream War’ by William Boyd
‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ by John Fowles
‘Watership Down’ by Richard Adams
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
First Edition: THE SECRET GARDEN by Frances Hodgson Burnett #oldbooks http://wp.me/p5gEM4-2TQ via @SandraDanby