Thank you, everyone, for another fantastic Elizabeth Goudge Day! Here is what I have gathered from those who participated — please let me know if I missed your post. And congratulations to Jorie of Jorie Loves a Story, who won the giveaway of Towers in the Mist!
“The Dean’s Watch is a gentle and inspiring story of finding one’s joy through the transforming power of sacrifice and courage. It is a beautiful, spiritual story that expounds the idea that “if you turn for your joy to the intractable and explosive stuff of human nature it’s in for a penny, in for a pound.” How often we let our own insecurities hold us back from helping or showing a real interest in others. The characters in this story teach us that when we do so, unexpected and remarkable things beyond our imaginings can happen. I didn’t find a weak element to Goudge’s writing. Her strongest was the sense of place. She managed to evoke an enchanting town with a fairytale quality, imbued with a sense of history and thoughtful detail. This book has secured a place in my top ten and in my heart.”
Helen of A Gallimaufry wrote about Goudge’s autobiography, The Joy of the Snow:
“This memoir shines with Elizabeth’s sensitivity to place, her great kindness and sympathy, her feeling for the magic of life and her joy in detail, both in nature and in people.”
Helen of She Reads Novels loved Towers in the Mist:
“I loved getting to know Faithful and the Leighs (and Nicolas, who ended up being one of my favourite characters after undergoing a bit of a transformation which I hadn’t expected at the beginning) but there are also several real historical figures from the Elizabethan age who play a part in the story… Goudge admits in her note at the beginning that not everything in the book will be entirely accurate historically, but I think she is very successful at capturing the overall feel of the Elizabethan period even if it may not be correct in every detail.”
I had a similar reaction to Towers:
“Goudge herself makes no claim to have achieved historical accuracy, only to having made an attempt at reconstruction that no doubt fails in many points. Yet she does somehow manage to convey the lively, vivacious spirit of the early Elizabethan period, of a people who have endured much trouble and suffering without losing their zest for life. It makes sense that this period produced a great flowering of English poetry, examples of which are given at the beginning of each chapter. Love of learning, of words and of the Word, are in abundant evidence in Goudge’s Oxford, and in that she seems to have gotten to the heart of things.”
I was delighted that Jean of Howling Frog Books managed to track down a copy of the hard-to-find children’s book The Valley of Song:
“It’s an unusual story, that’s for sure, combining a fantasy tour of all creation, a love of one particular English village, and a deep belief in the possibility of redemption for everyone, no matter how lost they feel.”
Ruthiella of Booked for Life found universal relevance in her first Goudge, The Rosemary Tree:
“What I think I liked most about it was that it showed how our actions can positively touch others and just how interconnected we are despite our best efforts to think we can live in isolation. And while the book does have clear religious overtones, I think I can be read by anyone. Its message of connection and forgiveness can be appreciated by a reader of any creed or belief system.”
Jane of Beyond Eden Rock appreciated the children’s classic, The Little White Horse:
“Elizabeth tells her story beautifully; she really was a mistress of the art of story-telling. Every sentence is beautifully wrought; every character is clearly and distinctively drawn; every place, every meal, every setting is perfectly explained; and there is a wealth of lovely detail. I think that this is a book that would work best read in childhood – and I do wish I had discovered it as a child – but it still has a great deal to offer to the grown-up reader who is still in touch with her inner child who loved books.”
And so did Jenna of Falling Letters:
“I read The Little White Horse when my mind was all abuzz with concerns of practical adult life. Although I found it difficult at times to focus, this lovely little tale kept me grounded by being just what I needed to put my head in the clouds.”
A couple of readers were still in the midst of their books, but I hope you are enjoying them and that you’ll still share your responses with us when you have a chance.
As I mentioned on Monday, I’m planning to take a break from this event next year in order to focus on other things…but if someone else should take it up, I would be an enthusiastic supporter. It’s been a joy to share our appreciation of this author and her wonderful books for the past three years, and I wish you all happy reading.