Yes the words in this title are a cliche, which Elizabeth Goudge describes as reserved for the intellectually lazy, but I am no Yeats and if the shoe fits..
The Eliots of Damerosehay trilogy by Elizabeth Goudge is like that treasure hidden in a field.
The books are as follows:
- The Bird in the Tree (1940)
- The Herb of Grace (1948) aka Pilgrim’s Inn
- The Heart of the Family (1953)
I knew nothing of this author and how I even came to have an old, yellowed book sitting on my bookshelf for years I don’t even know. Perhaps I picked it up at a second hand booksale? Perhaps the title appealed to me, being so drawn to all things family: The Heart of the Family had a lovely ring to it. Whatever the case, this was the book I unearthed recently after a major clean out of our bookcase which saw many books boxed up ready to be donated to a new school library.
The Heart of the Family is actually the third book in this series, but it was not difficult to pick up the story, and I have since gone back to read the first and second books. These are just beautiful to read. This is the sort of story I love. Full of rich descriptions and sprinkled with philosophical musings but in a very readable style. Elizabeth Goudge wrote in England to a weary world that had forgotten there was anything beautiful to still be found in it.
“As this world becomes increasingly ugly, callous and materialistic it needs to be reminded that the old fairy stories are rooted in truth, that imagination is of value, that happy endings do, in fact, occur, and that the blue spring mist that makes an ugly street look beautiful is just as real a thing as the street itself.” Elizabeth Goudge
And this message is just as relevant now as it was then, as truth never has a use-by date and the nature of the human longing for happiness has not changed. And so she now has another fan. If you are looking for a reason to stay up too late other than mindlessly surfing the internet, I can only suggest you try her books.
I was interested to read that she also wrote a book which won the Carnegie Medal for children’s books in 1946 for The Little White Horse. I am going to order this for my 10 yr old daughter, and am looking forward to reading this once she has finished with it.
I hope you enjoy her, too. Happy reading!