The Bird in the Tree
1 journaler for this copy...
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.