Many of us have stumbled, during childhood, upon books such as “The Secret Garden,” “A Little Princess” or “Little Lord Fauntleroy.” These were books full of charm and wit. They showed the lives and sometimes adventures of children whose lives were turned upside down. Moreover, these books ended with joy and hope. As those who have read the books know, their author is Frances Hodgson Burnett. She was a British-American playwright and author who is now most famous for her children’s books such as those mentioned above. Her full name was Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett.
The author was born in 1849, in Cheetham, near Manchester. Her family decided to move to America after her father died in 1852. They settled in Knoxville, Tennessee. At that time the finances of the family were on the low side. Therefore, in order to help them, Frances Hodgson Burnett started publishing stories in magazines. In 1872, the authors married Swan Burnett. After living in Paris for only two years, they returned to the United States and settled in Washington D.C. It was during that period that Frances Hodgson Burnett published her first novels. Her first book, “That Lass o’ Lowries”, received good reviews. However, it was “Little Lord Fanuntleroy”, published in 1886 that made her famous in children’s literature.
During the 1890s she published several romantic novels that were also appreciated by the general public. Nowadays they are not as popular as her children’s novels. After her eldest son’s dead from tuberculosis in 1890, the author returned to England and settled in London. In 1898 she divorced her husband and moved to Great Maytham Hall. It was that place that sparked her love for flowers and her inspiration for “The Secret Garden.”
Frances Hodgson Burnett returned permanently to the United States in 1907. She died, seventeen years later, at age 74. She was buried in Roslyn Cemetery next to her youngest son Vivian. Nowadays, her books are still read from people worldwide. Numerous adaptations have been made for her novels. Have you seen any of these movies or TV shows?
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