Thank you to all who joined me in celebrating Elizabeth Goudge’s birthday last Sunday, April 24. Whether you read a book in her honor, posted your own review, or just enjoyed the contributions of others, I’m so glad we got to take this day to celebrate an author who has fallen out of fashion, but still has much to offer. On that topic, I’d like to point you toward an excellent article, Elizabeth Goudge: Glimpsing the Liminal by Kari Sperring, which appeared in Strange Horizons back in February. It does a fine job of describing what makes Goudge’s novels so special for many of us. (Thank you to Terri Windling for pointing me to it — and to Helen and Lark for pointing me to Terri’s blog post about Elizabeth Goudge, which was another lovely discovery this week.)
Here are the links I’ve gathered; if I’m missing anything, please let me know. And mark your calendars for next year!
I wrote about The Rosemary Tree:
Old wrongs are brought to light and their pain dispelled, relationships are created and strengthened, and new resolutions for reconciliation and healing are made. Some might find such a tale lacking in bite and conflict, and the solutions Goudge offers too simplistic — but they have hidden depths.
Jane of Beyond Eden Rock also chose The Rosemary Tree:
‘The Rosemary Tree’ is a quiet, slow book, but it speaks profoundly. The spirituality threaded through it may feel old-fashioned or odd to some, but I think that Elizabeth Goudge is simply addressing the same concerns that might today be addressed in the language of psychology or social concern in a very different language.
Jean of Howling Frog Books ventured into the land of Green Dolphin Street:
Goudge was really quite a genius at taking a hackneyed old plot like “two sisters in love with the same man” and turning it into something unexpected, fresh, and redemptive.
And so did Kelsey of Kelsey’s Notebook, preferring the original title of Green Dolphin Country:
Most books are add-ons to life: you read them and they capture your surface attention, but you’re always conscious of your real life. Green Dolphin Street: not so for me. It became a part of my life while I was reading it, and now that I’m finished, I miss it. I feel like I do when I return home from a great trip.
Helen of She Reads Novels enjoyed The White Witch:
What I loved most about this book were the details of daily village life in the seventeenth century, the beautiful descriptions of the English countryside, and the undercurrents of magic, mystery and mythology which run throughout the story.
Lark of The Bookwyrm’s Hoard loved revisiting The Blue Hills (aka Henrietta’s House), and is still working on her review. I’ll link it here when it’s finished!
Helen of A Gallimaufry felt lucky to find The Valley of Song:
The Valley of Song is just so wonderfully beautiful and so perfectly described, with a sensitivity to inner as well as outer beauty. I would like to quote chunks of it at you all day.
And thanks to a comment from Helen I learned that Terri Windling had written about Elizabeth Goudge: A Sense of Otherness a few days earlier from her Dartmoor studio. She includes beautiful pictures of the area along with quotes from Goudge’s autobiography, The Joy of the Snow, and from Sperring’s essay. I hope you’ll stop by her lovely blog.
Finally, congratulations to the winner of the giveaway, Valentine! She chose to receive Green Dolphin Street from Hendrickson Books, our generous sponsor. They’ve just added Island Magic to their list of Goudge reprints, bringing the total to ten. Whether you take advantage of these, or find them and more at the public library, or hunt down copies in used bookstores or online, I hope you will read something by Elizabeth Goudge over the coming year and join us again on April 24, 2017.