X is for — Mary LennoX from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden
I am totally cheating here, choosing a character whose name ends in X rather than beginning with X.
The Secret Garden is one of my favorite books. Written in the early 1900s, it tells the story of young Mary Lennox, a spoiled brat who is ignored by her wealthy parents and is brought up by servants instructed to keep Mary out of her parents’ way. She lives in India until a cholera epidemic kills everyone in her household, except her.
She goes to live with her Uncle Craven at Misselthwaite Manor in England, where she discovers a sickly boy named Colin and a half-dead, hidden garden. As the neglected children bring the garden back to life, they, themselves, are transformed and blossom with new health and happiness.
The Secret Garden is a wonderfully uplifting and heartwarming tale of love, positive thinking, and the magic of growing things. I love how Mary rises above her horrible upbringing to not only create happiness for herself, but for Colin, too.
I’ve seen two movies made from the book, one by Hallmark Hall of Fame (1987) with Derek Jacobi and Gennie James and the other, a 1993 version with John Lynch, Maggie Smith, and Kate Maberly. Both altered the story somewhat, but I enjoyed them. The Hallmark movie was filmed at Highclere Castle in England, which was also the setting for the British TV series Jeeves and Wooster, with Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry, and is the current filming location for Downton Abbey.
© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2015. All rights reserved.