Frances Hodgson Burnett was born in Cheetham Hill, Manchester on 24th November 1849. Burnett's father died when she was five, so her mother was left to raise her and her four siblings alone. The family moved to Knoxville, Tennessee in 1865 - two years later, her mother passed away, leaving Burnett to care for two younger siblings by herself.
Writing was the only way she could support them all, and she began in earnest, submitting stories to magazines and literary publications, and earning modest sums in return. Her first novel was published in 1877, That Lass O' Lowrie's. Her most famous novels are the children's books Little Lord Fauntleroy (1886), A Little Princess (1905), and The Secret Garden (1909).
She married twice: first when she was twenty-four, to Dr. Swan Burnett, and second, when she was fifty-one, to Stephen Townsend. She had two sons, Lionel and Vivian, the latter whose hairstyle was the inspiration for Little Lord Fauntleroy's long curls. Lionel died of consumption when he was just sixteen, and Burnett never truly recovered from his death, falling into a depression that was to plague her for the rest of her life.
Burnett died on October 29th, 1924, at the age of seventy-four, and is buried in Roslyn cemetery in New York.
Little Mary Lennox is brought up in India, a spoilt, sullen brat, whom her wealthy parents are more than happy to leave entirely in the care of their nanny. But when a cholera epidemic claims the lives of her mother and father, Mary is sent to live in her uncle’s mysterious old house on the rambling Yorkshire moors.