My copy of *The Secret Garden* has lost its cover; all the pages are curled from being turned so many times; the text has faded to brown, and there's a big mark where I must have spilled something on it in my desire to keep reading through a meal.
Mary Lennox, spoiled beyond belief, sallow and plain, comes from India to Misselthwaite Manor in order to live with her uncle. The manor, however, is full of mystery, and the goal of everyone seems to be to keep Mistress Mary out of the way and, preferably, out of the house. In the course of time, she discovers that the mystery of the house is her cousin, Colin, a child almost as badly spoiled as she is, and whom everyone has written off as likely to die. Together, with a new friend Dickon, Mary and Colin begin to take an interest in life. They begin to revive a secret walled up garden.
And, over time, gardening makes them well in mind and spirit (one might note this down). The seasons change; the flowers bloom; the robin builds a nest. The children are growing up as the garden is transformed. Colin becomes almost sturdy; Mary is neither sallow nor plain. The spoiled, peremptory rude little monsters are gone.
I almost miss their dreadful ways at the end. There's a wonderful scene early on in which Colin throws a tantrum, and Mary threatens to throw an even worse one unless he stops. She claims to be able to scream louder than he can, and I believe her.
Don't miss this book. It takes its own time to unfold, but some things are best savored slowly.