A Little Princess
by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Burnett wrote many books, but the two that are best known to us are The Secret Garden
and A Little Princess
. Both are magical books that begin with a little rich girl moving from India, where she was born, to England.
In the case of A Little Princess, little Sara Crewe is brought to London by her India officer father, a happy, boyish, innocent widower who loves her like crazy. Sara is a very rich and pampered girl, but unlike Mary Lennox of The Secret Garden, she is also very kind and patient and has a powerful imagination, and is soon everyone's favorite at Miss Minchin's seminary for young ladies. Everyone, that is, except Miss Minchin.
When Captain Crewe dies of brain fever in India, after having lost every penny of his fortune in diamond-mine speculation when his disappointed best-friend and business partner ran away, Sara instantly becomes poor as dirt with no family in the world, and the evil Miss Minchin keeps her on basically as a slave, working her to the bone, insulting and abusing her, and all but starving her to death.
Somehow Sara holds on to her belief in Magic (there it is again). Things begin to change when an English gentleman from India moves in next door, recuperating from a terrible illness and searching desperately for the daughter of his late business partner, who (if he can only find her) is filthy rich from those diamond mines after all. With the help of a Hindu servant named Ram Dass, the "Indian gentleman" turns Sara's nightmare life into a real-life fairy tale.
Recommended Age: 10+
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