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My favourite childhood book is The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett- it may even be my favourite adult book, too. I still read it when I am feeling ill or generally in need of a fillip. As a child I used to hate reading about nature – or the weather – and always skipped those boring bits. And yet… I could never get enough of Dickon, his love of the dales, nor – of course – of the magical reawakening of Mary, Colin and Dickon’s secret garden… It remains, I think, the most uplifting book I have ever read.

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