The Secret Garden

Think you've read all the classics? Think again. A story of family, rejuvenation and the wonders of nature. What are you waiting for?

Mary Lennox is happy living in India with a house full of staff at her beck and call, while her parents neglect her. But when a cholera outbreak takes away everyone around her, Mary's life is changed forever. 

She is taken in by her Uncle Archibald Craven, whom she has never met. She is surrounded by his staff but has never felt more alone. In a desperate attempt to escape solitude she befriends a robin and explores the manor grounds.

Her hatred for her new circumstances is only tamed when she finds joy tending to a garden hidden in the manor grounds. When Mary hears the howls of a young invalid boy who also lives in the manor, she is encouraged to unlock the secrets of the garden and the manor, in order to find happiness and friendship – things she has never experienced before.

About the author

Originally an American magazine serial in 1910, The Secret Garden is one of Burnett's most well-known novels, alongside Little Lord Fauntleroy (published in 1885–1886) and A Little Princess (1905).  Born in Manchester, Burnett enjoyed socialising. She incorporated travelling to and from the United States, into her lavish lifestyle. The loss of her son triggered a relapse in depression, which caused her to divorce, remarry and divorce once more, before settling down in New York where she passed away in 1924. 

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Why We Like It

  • An enchanting piece of literature, which explores positive and heartwarming themes such as rejuvenation and the regeneration of family.
  • Having recently celebrated its centenary, The Secret Garden's success is overwhelming and has ben translated into dozens of languages.
  • The Booktrust calls the novel "a satisfying and absorbing read, that demonstrates the resilience of children even when they are surrounded by uncaring and flawed adults."


Born in Manchester, Frances Hodgson Burnett was forced to emigrate to the Tennessee, after the death of her father, in 1852. Burnett began publishing stories in magazines to make money for her family, which changed dramatically when she married Swan Burnett and lost her mother in 1872. After moving to Paris, Frances and Swan gave birth to two sons, and two years later moved to Washington, where she wrote and published numerous novels, including Little Lord Fauntleroy and The Little PrincessShe also helped to produce stage productions of them both. However, it was in the 1890's, in England, where Burnett wrote The Secret Garden, and became the well-established children's author we know and love. Unfortunately, during the same decade, Burnett's eldest son died from tuburculosis, triggering a relapse in her depression and ultimately causing the divorce between Swan and herself. In 1900 she married Stephen Townsend but divorced him two years later. It was in Nassau Country, New York, where she lost her life at 74.

How it works

The book will be delivered in 10 instalments (or staves), one every day. The instalments are delivered to your Pigeonhole bookshelf on your IOS or Android app, plus you can read on our web reader. You will receive an email letting you know when each stave is available.

We believe that shared reading leads to new ideas and connections. That’s why we have a dynamic commenting system which allows in-text discussion between our readers. Post a comment and all your fellow readers will be able to respond. You can also choose to receive notifications (customise them here) when someone responds to your comment, or, additionally, whenever a comment is left in the book.

As you read you will see round purple icons at the edge of certain paragraphs – tap on these to reveal behind-the-scenes extra content!

Links will be included at the end of the final stave which will allow you to leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. The full book will be available on your Pigeonhole bookshelf for one month for you to read at your leisure. 

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