The Secret Garden

The classic children’s book, this is a favourite of my oldest child. She has worn out her original copy so much it’s taped together, lovingly, because it was a gift from my mother.

The Secret Garden tells the story of a young girl, named Mary Lennox, who is neither loved nor wanted by her wealthy parents. During her early years, Mary is lovingly cared for by servants. They allow her to be spoiled and to break the rules because they feel sorry for the young girl. One day, a cholera outbreak claims the lives of Mary’s parents and several of the servants that Mary has come to love. Those that remain, abandon Mary in the house, to escape the plague of cholera racing through the countryside.

Discovered alone, she is sent to live with her reclusive Uncle who her father’s sister has wed. They live in a large estate known as Misslethwaite Manor. Upon arrival, Mary is horrified to discover that her Aunt has passed away.

At first Mary is angry, sullen, and withdrawn. She doesn’t like her new home, nor the people in it. But worst of all is the moor in which the house sits. It’s lonely, and craggy, and wet. However, she begins to find some joy in her life and starts to form a relationship with her maid. Martha Sowerby is the lady who looks after Mary and tells her wonderful stories of her Aunt and how she would spend hours in a garden on the estate’s lands. It was is a private, walled in garden, which housed hundreds of roses. A terrible accident befalls Mary’s Aunt and her devastated husband locks the garden and throws away the key.

Mary becomes obsessed with finding this garden and reinvigorating it. She locates the key thanks to an astute and clever Robin who leads her to a disturbed patch of moss. She locates both the key and the door the the garden and sets about her task.

Meanwhile she befriends Dickon who is her maid’s 12 year old brother. Dickon learns about the garden from Mary and he sets about helping her to bring it back to it’s former glory.

Meanwhile, Mary continues to hear crying in the evening. One night, she discovers Colin, who lives in a hidden bedroom. She is astonished to discover that Colin is her cousin. She is also similarly shocked to discover that he suffers from several ailments. She visits him in his bedroom everyday and one day she takes him into the garden she has been restoring.

A testament to the human spirit and how each person can teach others kindness and acceptance, this will always be a favourite.

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