The book tells of Mary Lenox, an orphan, who is sent to live in her uncle's house in Yorkshire. Left to herself by her uncle, who is haunted by the death of his wife, she discovers many things about her new home and herself, and brings new life to the house and its gloomy occupants.
It is one of Frances Hodgson Burnett's most popular novels, and has been adapted many times for stage and screen. One notable adaptation is a musical with music by Lucy Simon and book and lyrics by Marsha Norman, which opened on Broadway in 1991. The production was nominated for seven Tony Awards, winning Best Book of a Musical and Best Actress in a Featured Role (Daisy Eagan as Mary, at eleven years old the youngest person ever to win a Tony).