The Secret Garden is set primarily in Yorkshire, England shortly after the turn of the 20th century. Mary Lennox, a spoiled and selfish girl, is orphaned at age 10 after a cholera epidemic in India. She is then sent to England to live with her uncle, Archibald Craven, whom she has never met. Upon her arrival at the Craven's one hundred room manor, she expects staff to wait on her much like in India. However, Mary is confined to two rooms and told to amuse herself. She is befriended by lowly good-natured maid Martha, who tells her about the late Mrs. Craven and the gardens.
Eventually, Mary's childlike curiosity gets the best of her and she wanders outside. In Archibald Craven's grief ten years prior, after his young wife died suddenly, he abandoned her garden, to which no one was allowed to enter. Mary has heard tell of Mrs. Craven's special rose garden, but it is walled off and no one seems to remember where to find the entrance.
Then one day, Mary finds the buried key and a robin leads her to the door, which is in an overgrown tangle. She secretly begins to breathe life back into the garden with the help of Martha's brother Dickon. Along the way, Mary also discovers the source of the crying sounds in the night, but I must not give away the rest of the story, as it's a book that should be read by everyone young and old.