My Photo













Cornflower book group

« The Walter Scott Prize 2014: the shortlist | Main | History of the Rain »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Adele Geras

I read ALL her books when I was in my teens and adored them. Her children's books are outstanding, or I thought so back then! Definitely someone to try!

Susan in TX

I read The Little White Horse to my kids several years ago and they all loved it. A few months back I read The Scent of Water and enjoyed it. Serendipitous timing - I just started the first book in her Eliot family trilogy last night (The Bird in the Tree). Not an expert on her by any means, but so far what I've read has been enjoyable and a little different. She reminds me a tiny bit of Madeleine L'Engle stylistically. Maybe a little bit mystical? Haven't put my finger on it yet. I'm going to have to track down her autobiography now.


On a superficial level, from what I can see - and I haven't searched extensively - there are nice editions of some of her children's books, but the adult ones which are available look as though they could do with being refreshed!


The autobiography (I'm just on the last few pages) is not a full life story but has some quite magical passages. It's been a refreshing and uplifting read.
As to the novels, I know we have a copy of The Little White Horse somewhere in the house so I'll have to find it, but on the subject of The Bird in the Tree, EG writes of the struggle she had to make headway with it and at one point she reached deadlock: "I could see no way through, and nothing that could possibly happen next.
So many people say that mental problems are solved in sleep, but that had never yet happened to me. But why shouldn't it? In desperation I prayed that I might dream the rest of the book, and I did. In a dream full of lovely light the story unrolled smoothly and afterwards I only had to write down what I had dreamed."

ruth waterton

Her values - deeply Catholic and family-orientated - are perhaps a little out of fashion today but she was a great favourite of my mother's and so I grew up aware of her books. I particularly liked "Island Magic" which is about a delightful family on the Channel Islands in the late 19th or possibly early 20th century. If you enjoyed that you may also like her lengthy saga, "Green Dolphin Country" which takes its characters from the Channel Islands to New Zealand in the Victorian era. Also her trilogy about the Eliots of Damrosehay are well regarded, though I found them a bit too preachy for my taste. They are "The Bird In The Tree," "The Herb of Grace" and "The Heart of The Family".


I adored Towers in the Mist and Gentian Hill when I was about 13, not sure how they'd read now. Wonderful romantic reads for a teenager, though.


I love her work. It's hard to pick a favourite, but probably 'The Dean's Watch' and the WW2 novel 'The Castle on a Hill' , although I have a very soft spot for 'Henrietta's House' (one of the children's novels) too.

Her Christian beliefs are pretty prominent , but despite this I like the novels - perhaps because she has so much sympathy, and isn't overly pious..


My list is getting longer! Many thanks, Ruth.


Worth a try for a middle-aged person, I'm sure!


'Sympathetic' is very much how I'd describe her from the memoir. I think I shall like the books.

Susan Campbell

My late mother introduced me to Elizabeth Goudge's books when I was a young teen, and I've loved them ever since. "The Little White Horse" was the first, and "The Dean's Watch" remains a great favourite. While the books do express Ms Goudge's Christian beliefs, it's never forced on readers and the shrewd observation and sensitive characterisations are the main attributes of her stories. Such lovely writing ;-)

mary lou bethune

J.K. Rowling says that "The Little White Horse" was one of her favorite books as a child. I read it as adult and loved it. I treasure it, actually. However," Linnets and Valerians" is my favorite. Magic abounds.

Scent of Water taught me something as a young adult: don't judge the unhappy when you are happy.
Goudge was a true Edwardian and her ideals seem quaint perhaps but she is wise and understanding.

Jane Jazz

It's a shame Elizabeth Goudge is out of fashion now. I inherited most of her books from my mum and I would agree with others, that you can't go far wrong starting with the Eliot family trilogy. Persephone books don't seem to be interested in her, which is another shame.


I've only read Gentian Hill but really enjoyed it twice

Di McDougall

I first read her books as a young woman...for me too The Scent of Water was my case it introduced a particular type of spirituality to me. The more "serious" books are the above mentioned and The Rosemary Tree. For me the qualities I find in her world are never out of date. It is such a pleasure to me now to see her mentioned so often in the blogosphere and her books still take pride of place in my shelves. They are all worth reading again and again....Oh and on my first trip to the UK I undertook an Elizabeth Goudge pilgrimage...Ely and Wells ....

Liz Davey

Another author sadly forgotten. The Little White Horse without a doubt, a wonderful book and you'll never look at salmon-pink geraniums in the same way again. I've just pulled my copy down and see I inscribed in blue-black Quink 'I got this book on 22.11.67'! ~But I have just been reminded by Mary-Lou Bethune of Linnets and Valerians. My husband spent weeks scouring Google for a copy of Smoky-House, which was his childhood favourite. You're in for a treat.


Definitely The Little White Horse - if you don't fall in love with it I will be very surprised! I first read it at the age of 9 and forty-six years later still love it!
I put my fondness for geraniums and craving for a tower room down to it too!


She does come across as shrewd and wise, and her capacity for joy is very appealing.


It's great to see an author so well-loved, and I'm enjoying reading everyone's comments. Thank you, Mary Lou.


Out of fashion, but clearly occupying a special place in readers' hearts.


The fact that you read it twice speaks volumes!


Wonderful! I've been to Wells but never to Ely, though having read her description of it I'd love to see it.


She must be 'brought back'!
All these comments show how special her books are - not just good reads, but with some deeper significance for people.


I'm intrigued by these references to geraniums!


I have never read her children's books, I don't think, but loved all of her adult ones, particularly the Channel Islands ones and the Dean's Watch, oh goodness, time to reread!


I have to say "The Little White Horse"--one of the best children's books every written, right up with "The Secret Garden"; it actually has a little secret land. I have read all of her books for many years and I'll quote my sister "She makes me feel like a nicer person after reading her".

My personal favorites, not a critic's choice, are "City of Bells", "Island in The Mist" , "The Dean's Watch" and "Green Dolphin Street". The last is particularly interesting for its section on Victorian New Zealand and the Maori wars

You have some lovely reading ahead.


I muddled titles : I mean "Island Magic" , confused it with "Towers in the Mist". For myself, I find the Eliot books very dated and slighter than the titles I mention. I would not start with them.


Don't start with the Damerosehay books - they are great, but lack the colour of Goudge at her best. I'd start with The White Witch, a moving and insightful novel about the Civil War, which, among other things, includes the most bewitching descriptions of gardens! I think the story is one of her strongest too, and despite her obviously Royalist sympathies, the Puritan sections are wonderful. It has many of the qualities of her children's books (her bewitching eye for detail) but the plot is for grown-ups. It even got reissued in a rather attractive cover by - was it Vintage? - a few years ago.

Susan in TX

That must have been some dream! :)

Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

Oh, how glorious to be at the start of discovering a new author, especially one with so many wonderful books! I've read my way through nearly all of Goudge (though not The Joy of the Snow...I must find that one). I'm putting in a vote for The Dean's Watch, but I look forward to reading your thoughts about whatever you choose.


It is ironic how we find noted, often with criticism, Goudge's Christian beliefs coming through in her many charming books, while the frequent very anti-Christian bias of many authors is unremarked upon.


Should we do a group read, I wonder.


Re. your sister's remark, Erika, of how many writers could one say that? Lovely!


I like the sound of that one. Thanks, Kitty.


I hope to read them soon, Lory.




It doesn't look like anyone has mentioned the Rosemary Tree which is a personal favorite....and I second The White Witch! Great characters and historical fiction.
Green Dolphin Street is great but lengthy and involved.
I reviewed Rosemary Tree, Joy of the Snow and White Witch on my blog (country girls read at wordpress) if you are interested : )


For a possible group read I would pick "Green Dolphin Street" first and maybe "The Dean's Watch" second. They are both long, solid novels which deal with perennial human problems and the writing is enchanting. The latter also contains one of the most attractive little children in fiction. Now I think I am off to find it on my shelves and reread it.

Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

Inspired by this thread I'm now in the middle of The White Witch!



Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)


Please note

  • Sidebar book cover thumbnail pictures are affiliate links to Amazon, and the storefront links to Blackwell's and The Book Depository are also affiliated; should you purchase a book directly through those links, I will receive a small commission. Older posts may also contain affiliate links to one of those bookshops. I am not paid to produce content and all opinions are my own.

A request

  • If you wish to use any original images or content from this site, please contact me.

The Book Depository

  • Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

Cornflower Book Group: read



Statcounter 2

  • Statcounter 2