Frances Hodgson Burnett

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Chatto & Windus, 2004 - Authors, American - 359 pages
Based on letters and journals and youthful ledger books never before made available, and on interviews with descendants, this is a full and lively life of the prolific Victorian writer and playwright, who was hugely famous in her own time (1849-1924) for her adult novels and plays and a handful of children's novels (including Little Lord Fauntleroy, based on one of her sons), but who has stood the test of time as the much-loved author of every girl's favourite classics, The Secret Garden and A Little Princess. She came of modest beginnings in Manchester in the mid 19th century and moved to post Civil War Tennessee as a teenager when her mother was left widowed and impoverished with several children and emigrated to join her brothers in the Deep South. A woman of contrasts and paradoxes, Frances was as much American as she was British. This quintessentially British-seeming writer was equally at home in the US, and claimed as American (she has a memorial in Central Park ), and it's this that makes her and her work so fascinating. She made and spent masses of money and constantly worried about it, was profligate and generous, dressed expensively and ostentatiously (for her diminutive

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