“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”
~ Frances Hodgson Burnett (24 November 1849 – 29 October 1924), "The Secret Garden" (1911)
Mary Lennox is a sour-faced, sassy, 10-year-old girl, who is born in India to selfish wealthy British parents who had not wanted her and were too wrapped up in their own lives. She was taken care of primarily by servants, who pacify her as much as possible to keep her out of the way.
Spoiled and with a temper, she is angry, rude and obstinate. Later, there is a cholera epidemic which hits India and kills her mother, father and all the servants. She is discovered alone but alive after the house is empty. She is sent to Yorkshire, England to live with her uncle, Archibald Craven at his home called Misselthwaite Manor.
At first, Mary is her usual self, sour and rude, disliking her uncle's large house, the people within it, and most of all the vast stretch of moor, which seems scrubby and gray after the winter. She is told that she must stay confined to her two rooms and that nobody will bother much with her and she must amuse herself.
Martha Sowerby, her good-natured maidservant, tells Mary a story of the late Mrs. Craven, and how she would spend hours in a private garden growing roses. Later, Mrs. Craven was killed by an unfortunate accident, and Mr. Craven had the garden locked and the key buried. Mary is roused by this story and starts to soften her ill manner despite herself.