Miserable and homesick for India and her beloved ayah, eight-year old Nona is growing up with her cousins in England. When her great aunt sends two Japanese dolls, the sensitive Nona sees that they, too, are displaced and sets about finding them a Japanese dolls house enlisting the help of siblings, friends and strangers and building her own confidence in the process.
The details of the construction and furnishing of the dolls house are fascinating - sliding screens, a niche for a scroll and ikebana, tiny silk quilts and cushions and bamboo mats. Just as the dolls are about to move into their house. Nona's jealous cousin Belinda decides to take Miss Happiness for herself.
Rumer Godden's stories for younger children may feature dolls but there is a lack of sentimentality about them which makes them immensely vivid and real. Remember the cruel doll Marchpane in The Dolls' House? Re-reading Miss Happiness and Miss Flower kind of makes me wish I hadn't put my MA in Children's Literature on hold.