The Bird in the Tree

by Elizabeth Goudge | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: Global Overview for this book
Registered by ermintrude75 of Norwich, Norfolk United Kingdom on 9/24/2004
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by ermintrude75 from Norwich, Norfolk United Kingdom on Friday, September 24, 2004
First in the Eliots of Damerosehay trilogy followed by The Herb of Grace and The Heart of the Family.

Journal Entry 2 by ermintrude75 from Norwich, Norfolk United Kingdom on Monday, February 13, 2006
Synopsis: The Eliot family is close-knit, centred around grandmother Lucilla in the family home of Damerosehay on the Hampshire coast. When her grandson David (actor, sensitive type falls in love with Nadine (glamorous, scheming type), husband of Lucilla's son George (army chap, stiff-upper-lip type), it threatens the happiness and security of the family, and Lucilla feels she must do all she can to end the affair.

I read the trilogy together, and it's hard to separate them so this review is for all three.

I came to Elizabeth Goudge's writing via The Little White Horse (as a child) and then Green Dolphin Country and The White Witch. So far all of her books bring split reactions - one the one hand I do like the storytelling and the evocation of a gentler time. The characters are varied and individual, not forming an amorphous mush like some family-based sagas, and the settings are beautifully drawn. On the other hand, many of the characters seem to become infuriating at one point or another, making me want to give the children a good slap and the grown-ups a piece of my mind. Perhaps that is the sign of a well-written and involving book, but really, most of the children are such enormous brats that they would be candidates for the House of (not so) Tiny Tearaways (except Ben, who is just completely wet for most of the series). The adults seem to waver between being utterly manipulative (particlary Lucilla, matriarch and tower of strength / scheming old witch depending on your view) and complete doormats (Lucilla's daughter Margaret, whose main crime seems to be being a bit plain and frumpy). There's a strong emphasis on doing what's right (morally) rather than always following your heart, although of course it all works out in the end.

Enjoyable overall, but I don't think I will revisit the books for a while.

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