Monday, 21 July 2008

More hot summer reading

Rumer Godden's classic novel The Greengage Summer is surely overdue for a huge popular revival. Frustrated by the spoilt behaviour of her children, Mrs Grey takes them to see the battlefields of France and learn a lesson in humility. When she falls ill abroad the five children spend the summer largely unsupervised in a rural French hotel, Les Oillets, which has an ancient orchard with seven alleys of greengage trees. Narrated by twelve-year old Cecil (short for Cicely) this is a perfect summer read for adults and teenagers.

Less well known but equally enjoyable is The Peacock Spring. Half-sisters Hal and Una Gwithiam are wrenched from the English boarding school they love and transplanted to India to live with their selfish diplomat selfish father. Una is prickly and bitter and takes an instant dislike to her new governess. Another coming of age story with a surprising end - but I'm not giving it away!

On a recent visit to the historic town of Rye on the south coast, I was surprised to discover that Rumer Godden had lived in the town and I picked up a volume of her autobiography in one of the local bookshops. Godden wrote for children, too. My girls have enjoyed The Dolls' House.


Sara said...

Oh, I love Rumer Godden! Her sister, Jon Godden, also wrote a few novels. The Greengage Summer is one of my favorites; so are The Battle of the Via Fiorita, Kingfishers Catch Fire, the Peacock Spring, and The River.

Vintage Reading said...

Aw, my first comment! Thank you so much. I'm still get getting the hand of this blogging thing, but it's great to hear from another Rumer Godden fan. Nicola

_lethe_ said...

Hi, I hopped over from Callmemadam's blog. Reading your profile makes me wonder if you are the Nicola she mentions? :)

I'm commenting on this because the Dutch translation of The Doll's House made a huge impression on me when I read it in primary school. It took me many years to find out who wrote it, and some time later I found a copy (read-only) in the public library and was able to reread it. It was still a lovely story. (As is The Greengage Summer, which I have in the beautiful Folio Society edition.)

Vintage Reading said...

Hi Lethe, thanks for stopping by. (I don't know Callmemadam, but I do like her blog) I'm envious of your edition of The Greengage Summer. I'm after Miss Happiness and Miss Flower which I haven't read for many years. Nicola

Tara said...

This is what I love about blogging - I've never heard of this author, but now I cannot wait to get my hands and eyes on something of hers! Thanks for this.