"I see dead people". So said the little boy in the Hollywood Blockbuster ‘The Sixth Sense’, starring Bruce Willis. The little girl in Frances Burnett’s ‘The White People’ doesn’t put it quite like that, but she does have the same special gift. She too sees ghosts, and she refers to them as the white people, because that’s what they are to her.
This classic ghost story is set in the Scottish Highlands, a place full of legends and mystery. This wouldn’t be a Frances Burnett novel without a castle or two, and sure enough, the little girl lives in one. Her parents where high born, and so is she, but now she’s an orphan, with only servants – and ghosts – to keep her company.
Frances Hodgson Burnett was an English American playwright and author. Born in the UK in Manchester to a family of ironmongers, she later migrated to the United States where she would go on to write some of her most famous plays and novels.
During the span of her career, Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote and published more than 53 novels, most of them for adults. However, she is perhaps best known for her work in children’s literature, including famous titles such as ‘The Little Princess’ (1905), ‘The Secret Garden’ (1911), and ‘Little Lord Fauntleroy’ (1886).
Frances Hodgson Burnett is also known for her historical fiction, including acclaimed titles such as 'The Head of the House of Coombe' (1922) and its sequel, 'Robin' (1922).
Burnett’s work has been adapted for film many times. The latest movie adaptation of ‘The Secret Garden’ was released in 2020, starring Colin Firth and Julie Walters.