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Mistress Masham's Repose

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  1,343 Ratings  ·  136 Reviews
"She saw: 1st, a square opening, about 8" wide, in the lowest step...finally she saw that there was a walnut shell, or half one, outside the nearest door...she went to look at the shell, but looked with the greatest astonishment. There was a baby in it." So 10-year-old Maria, orphaned mistress of Malplaquet, discovers the secret of her deteriorating estate: on a deserted i ...more
Hardcover, 255 pages
Published 1946 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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Mar 04, 2016 Hilary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maria is a 10 yr old orphan living in a dilapidated mansion several times the size of Buckingham palace. Maria has guardians who are plotting to steal her inheritance, when these unscrupulous people discover Maria has small Lilliputian friends they vow to stop at nothing to capture some of her friends to sell to the circus.

We really enjoyed the descriptions of life experienced from a six inch tall persons perspective. There were lots of interesting philosophical thoughts, moral dilemmas of power
Sep 04, 2008 Miriam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, younger
On a tiny, man-made island in the middle of a lake live the descendents of kidnapped Lilliputians. On the shore of the lake stands an ancient manor, now falling into ruin. In the manor live a lonely girl and her evil governess...

Those are the fun parts. Since this is T.H. White there is also much implicit social and political criticism, psychological observation, and tongue-in-cheek humor. Most of that was over my head when I first read this, as were many of the British cultural allusions. I sus
Jul 09, 2009 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone, but it's good for pre-teen age
Recommended to Katie by: it was in our family bookshelves growing up
A sweet, charming story that I found in a used bookshop. I read it when I was a little girl, and it was fun to read again. It's about a little girl who stumbles on the people of Lilliput from Gulliver's Travels, who have migrated from their home when Gulliver took a few of them to England. They're the ones that are only a few inches tall. I must say that out of all the characters, the Professor is my favorite. His reasoning and advice is hysterical. I love it. It's a really sweet story, and I'm ...more
Jan 10, 2011 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-juvenile
Maria is a 10-year-old orphan who lives on her huge, dilapidated ancestral estate with the vicar Mr Hater as her guardian and Miss Brown as her governess. These are the villians, conspiring to steal Maria’s family fortune, but mainly making her feel alone & unloved.

Neglected she explores and has adventures discovering an ornamental island called Mistress Masham’s Repose, in the middle of one of the lakes in the grounds. The island is occupied by Lilliputians that Maria sees as her secret to
Apr 12, 2017 Skye rated it it was amazing
Absolutely charming.
Jun 16, 2012 Margo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What kid, after reading GULLIVER’S TRAVELS, didn’t secretly dream of discovering an abandoned, forgotten colony of Lilliputians? This happy circumstance befalls Maria, an engaging ten-year-old orphan, heiress to the vast, but now-decrepit, estate and palace of Malplaquet (modeled on Churchill’s Blenheim Palace), somewhere in post-World War II England. Maria’s nasty governess and guardian, Miss Brown, abetted -- and often subverted -- by an equally nasty co-guardian, the Vicar, is conspiring to r ...more
Feb 09, 2008 Temaris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Temaris by: Ravurian
Shelves: reviewed
I liked this, don't get me wrong. But it's a flawed story, and while I enjoyed it, I found myself skipping or rolling my eyes at chunks.

It reads like an elderly professor telling a story to a favoured niece/nephew, and for all I know it was. It doesn't read like something intended for publication, it's bitty, weirdly paced, very episodic, has sporadic digressions into fairly dry subjects and asides, and then finishes up with a rush of an action adventure ending, as though the author suddenly not
Douglas Dalrymple
Feb 22, 2012 Douglas Dalrymple rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
White tells us in the first paragraph that his heroine, Maria, was “one of those tough and friendly people who do things first and think about them afterward. When she met cows, however, she did not like to be alone with them.” I can understand the feeling. Perhaps that’s why I kept expecting this phantom cow (mentioned twice more, I think) to arrive on the scene at a crisis in the plot. Rather than a Holstein or Jersey, however, this one was a MacGuffin.

In White’s hands this sort of trickery –
Brenda Clough
Jun 23, 2014 Brenda Clough rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the great fantasy novels of all time, and a sequel! What happened after GULLIVER'S TRAVELS? This delightful novel will set your mind at rest. Any time you have a preteen heroine and an elderly hero you know this is not your standard thud and blunder fantasy. This book is not like anything you have read before, promise. And in a good way!
This book should be far better known. I suppose Disney felt that all the talking animals in THE SWORD IN THE STONE were irresistible, but oh please -- so
My thoughtful mother, remembering how much I loved _The Once and Future King_, picked this up for me at a used bookstore. I just grabbed it randomly off my bookshelf and I don't know how it is yet, but it smells heavenly - musty, old, cloth-bound paper smell. Mmmmmm.
May 08, 2009 Cathleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-lit
I picked this up after reading "The Once & Future King" and found I liked it even more than I expected. Having been a long-time fan of "The Borrowers", this story was extremely entertaining and a really fun read.
Have read this one a couple times. There's magic in it, although I can't describe it. I don't like lending it out. It seems risky.
Sep 25, 2015 Stuart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
T.H. White wrote one of my favorite books ever in The Once and Future King. When I discovered that some of his other writings were back in print, like Mistress Masham's Repose, I knew I had to give it a chance. The story begins by telling us about a ten-year old girl, who is described a girl with musical talent and a loving nature. Sadly for her, she was an orphan, who lived on a massive estate called Malplaquet. Her life in Malplaquet was a sheltered one, as her vicar, Mr. Hater, has a governes ...more
Feb 08, 2015 Melanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, for_fun
The Once and Future King is still one of my all-time favorite books, so when I discovered that T.H. White had written another book I'd never heard of, I of course had to read it. I am so glad I did, but it was not an easy read. The language is antiquated and it moves at the slower pace older books most often do. It was a book that felt like reading a 3-star but when it ends and you are smiling and glad you finished, so I bumped it up to 4. Plus, it's T.H. White- I couldn't give it 3. It's not on ...more
Feb 26, 2014 Emma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
10 year-old Maria, an orphan who lives in a vast 18th century mansion, stumbles upon a colony of tiny Lilliputians (as in Gulliver’s Travels) living on a little island in a lake, called Mistress Masham’s Repose. The Lilliputians have stayed successfully concealed there for 200 years: it is up to Maria to make sure that they remain undisturbed. Her only allies in this task are an absent-minded Professor and the cook, while her sworn foes, her Governess and the vicar, discover the secret and try t ...more
Vincent Desjardins
The premise of Mistress Masham’s Repose is a clever one - the travels of Lemuel Gulliver described in Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels” actually took place and that Lilliputians, captured on a later expedition, have escaped and have been hiding out on a rundown English estate where, for over a century, they have managed to avoid detection by living inside of a garden folly. Their secret comes close to being exposed when they are discovered by Maria, a young girl living on her ancestor’s esta ...more
This is a sweet little book that has a lot in common with T. H. White's other work, while also being more thoroughly childish than The Sword in the Stone. The combination of obscure references, absurd names and size imbalances gives you the childhood feeling that the world is a wide, strange place. White's interest in the problem of might is also important to the story, and his heroine, Maria, has to learn the responsibilities that come with relative strength and the dangers that come with relat ...more
Feb 08, 2010 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this to read to Nick when I realized, on short notice, that we were out of library books for bedtime reading. It was the first thing on my shelves I found that looked suitable. A more organized reading would have started with Gulliver's Travels and then moved to this one, rather than the other way round, as we're doing. But it worked as a standalone, so there you go.

A plucky English orphan of about ten years age lives with loathsome and loathing guardians who conceal her true inheritanc
Mar 18, 2014 Katherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another book I loved as a kid. Mistreated orphan Maria lives in a run-down manor, where her guardians, a governess and a Vicar, plot to take away her inheritance and keep her as downtrodden as possible. One day she discovers a population of Lilliputians living in a remote corner of the estate. Can she keep their secret from those who will want to exploit them?

Mistress Masham's Repose is a dense read for a kid. There's a lot of satire and a lot of complex language, in imitation of Swift, that you
Hannah Walsh
Apr 24, 2014 Hannah Walsh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had never even heard of this book before I picked it up as part of a book-swap with a friend. I hadn't a clue what it would be like.

It turned out to be just my kind of book. It reminded me a little of E. Nesbit's books in the sense that it was just so wonderfully British and quirky.

I loved:

The Setting: A ginormous, run-down mansion in the English countryside.

The Characters: The main character, Maria, was a riot. The villains were wonderfully horrid. The side-characters were hilarious.

Carol Caldwell
Jun 01, 2013 Carol Caldwell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a delightful story.I didn't know what I was getting myself into at first. The language is sometimes difficult to maneuver through and it took a little getting used to. It has a feel of a 19th century book, but then you realize that it takes place during World War II. It has lots of big words, words that I didn't know, but it didn't matter because they were just part of making the characters who they were.

The main character, Maria, is brave, curious, and honest. Her guardians, Miss Brown and
Catherine Gillespie
If you like stories about little people, like the Borrowers and so forth, you will probably like Mistress Masham’s Repose by T.H. White. The book imagines that Liliputians were brought back to England and escaped to a deserted island monument at a crumbled down old country house, where they are discovered by the last descendant of the ducal property owners, a little girl under the thumb of a dreadful governess and the guardianship of a despicable curate. I learned about this book in How the Heat ...more
Elizabeth Bradley
Mar 26, 2008 Elizabeth Bradley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Totally charming tale of a spunky orphan with evil guardians, requisite crumbling ancestral manse,garden folly inhabited by tiny mythical creatures, etc. Think Joan Aiken's Black Hearts at Battersea meets Northanger Abbey, a little. This is what Lemony Snicket WISHED he could write! Much more akin to "The Water-Babies" than to Gulliver's Travels at all despite the fact that it revolves around the same Lilliputians! Great companion to Mitford sisters...and little girls will come up to you in Star ...more
Nov 23, 2007 Watoosa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't decide whether to give this 4 or 5 stars, so I'll just give it 5. It's beautifully written, clever, and made me laugh out loud several times. Another classic British children's book.
Jan 13, 2017 Adobe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Orphaned ten-year-old Maria lives on her run-down ancestral estate under the care of a mercenary vicar and a cruel governess. While her guardians conspire against her, Maria routinely escapes to wander her overgrown grounds and pester the impoverished professor who lives nearby. But everything changes when Maria discovers and befriends a tribe of Lilliputians, originally documented in _Gulliver's Travels_ and now living in secret on her lands.

Even in summary, many of the charms of _Mistress Mash
Jul 01, 2017 Lisa rated it it was amazing
I cannot believe I never rated this book. An absolute favorite of mine growing up, from the wonderful maps of the estate inside the end papers to the illustrations, to the terrific story of a young girl, under the care of awful guardians, finding and protecting Lilliputians (yes, Gulliver was a travel memoir, not fiction in this world) in the gardens of the vast estate she stands to inherit. Just my sort of fantasy, with a strong female character. I had my Mom's copy, which was the original prin ...more
Marea Sergeeva
Jun 25, 2017 Marea Sergeeva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Чудесная книга о событиях, происходящих через 200 лет после Свифтовского Гулливера. Прекрасно написано в стиле Уайта - легко о жутковатых вещах.
Jun 06, 2017 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A charming read. Wish I'd come across it in my younger days.
Lona Manning
I can still remember passages from this book, although I haven't read it in over 40 years.
Mar 02, 2017 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this story as a child. Can't wait to read it to my kids!
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Born in Bombay to English parents, Terence Hanbury White was educated at Cambridge and taught for some time at Stowe before deciding to write full-time. White moved to Ireland in 1939 as a conscientious objector to WWII, and lived out his years there. White is best known for his sequence of Arthurian novels, "The Once and Future King", first published together in 1958.
More about T.H. White...

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