The Secret Garden author: obsessed with flowers and children

Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, which saves the appearance of the moody, infirm Colin until a good distance in, was one of my favorite childhood books because of the dark mood and suspenseful pacing.

Gretchen Gerzina’s new biography of Burnett is the first to appear in thirty years. Kate Kellaway is unimpressed, saying that the biographer’s “writing, although serviceable, is … spiritless and that her affection for her subject makes her draw back where critical opinion is wanted. She writes as if her subject’s ghost were reading over her shoulder.” If the few Burnett quotations reprinted in the review are any indication, Burnett was eager to be seen as a maddening Pollyanna type with a martyr complex.