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Mistress Masham's Repose

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  894 ratings  ·  99 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
Paperback
Published October 1st 1989 by Ace (first published 1946)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,589)
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Miriam
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
...more
Ascexis
Feb 09, 2008 Ascexis rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ascexis 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
...more
Katie
Jul 09, 2009 Katie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
Cathleen
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.
Brenda Clough
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
...more
Hannah  Walsh
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.

The
...more
Emma
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
Margo
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
Shannon
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
Rachel
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
...more
Douglas Dalrymple
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 –
...more
Nicole
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
...more
Elizabeth Bradley
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
Elliza
Mistress Masham's Repose is another of those books that captured my imagination as a child. The book is complex, loaded with literary and historical references (especially to Jonathan Swift), funny in broad and subtle ways, and very world-building. The illustrations are beautiful. I grew up in one of those houses full of random books, among which was MMR. When I first picked it up, I was too young; I knew it was good but couldn't quite take it in. I went back later, and fell in love. I write thi ...more
Katherine
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
...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
Linore
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tavie
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.
Watoosa
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.
Sylvester
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.
Kate
This is a book to read after-- or instead of-- Harry Potter. A unique plot about a little girl who encounters Lilliputians. A goodhearted, tough little heroine. Suspenseful chases. Scenes of the natural world are closely observed and described-- as White did so well in "The Once and Future King" and the meeting of two very different cultures is treated seriously: small though they are, the Lilliputians are not toys, and our heroine learns to respect them.

But now, having reread the book, I must s
...more
Gale
PROTECTING HER PEOPLE


Changing gears to entertain young adults, the author of
The Once and Future King demonstrates his predilection for
Fantasy by presenting a delayed sequel to Gulliver's Travels.
In this delightful tale about a girl and the descendants of the
Lilliputians readers are easily swept into his world of make-believe. The villains attempt dastardly deeds, but the innocence of Childhood, an absent-minded professor and the little People themselves combine talents and personal courage to s
...more
Barbara
I found a ratty old copy of this on the free cart at the library. I love the author so I'm going to try. I've only read a couple of pages and I'm already happy to be in the book.

8/20/10 I went back and started this again since I had only read a few pages. It's really wonderfully well-written with clever commentary on society and its social strata. The main character, Maria, an orphan (of course), lives in an enormous ancient run-down English castle set in vast grounds. Two people have been entru
...more
Carol
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
...more
Megan Blanchard
My mother gave me my father's childhood copy of this book for Christmas. I read it aloud to my 9-year-old son. The beginning was a bit shaky as our language has changed quite a bit over the past 70 years. I had a discussion with my mother about whether our language has changed so much or if children's books today have just been "dumbed-down." I'll leave that for you to decide. Overall, though, my son and I both really enjoyed this story. Ian kept asking for our time to read together to see how o ...more
Vimacone
This was an interesting fantasy novel. Maria is such a cute and sympathetic character - you really feel her suffering. She discovers a colony of little people called Lilliputians living on her estate. It's up to her to protect them from her abusive governess. Disney planned on making this into an animated feature in the early 80s, but it was shelved, which is a shame because this story makes for an ideal Disney film or even an anime. After seeing preproduction artwork, I wanted to read the book, ...more
Marsha
Dealing with the Lilliputians that became popular from Swift’s novel “Gulliver’s Travels”, this story purports to explain what happened after they were discovered by the people of our world. Enslaved and transported, forced to perform like circus animals, they finally took back their freedom and recovered their anonymity, leaving in peace and hidden from human eyes. Then a lonely little girl discovers them and the trouble begins.

Stern and moralizing, the book yet manages to be an entertaining re
...more
Angie
i liked this book but being that it is from one of my favorite authors i was disappointed, it is not nearly as good as The Once And Future King and The Book Of Merlyn. unlike those books i found sections of Mistress Masham's Repose to be just plain boring although i did like the fact that i could see some of the politics that make up The Book Of Merlyn peeking through in this book too. my favorite example: "You would be a Big Bug then, however kind you were, and they would be little bugs, withou ...more
Laura
A lot of this book's references aren't really accessible to modern American children without footnotes. That's a shame, because it's hard to find a better story about human rights, ethical behavior and colonialism. Maria is one of the most complex and richly developed child heroes I've ever met.
alissa
No, the young protagonist is not Mistress Masham, but a young orphan named Maria. White creates a fascinating world out of a dilapidated estate which has apparently witnessed a great deal of history. The adults are characteristically lovable and inept or vile, with a mix of cunning and stupidity - the old Professor reminds me of Merlin in "Once and Future King."

The narration trips along at a rapid pace, even when White is ticking off a list of historical events or allusions to other literary te
...more
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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...
The Once and Future King (The Once and Future King #1-4) The Sword in the Stone (The Once and Future King, #1) The Book of Merlyn (The Once and Future King, #5) The Once and Future King (The Once and Future King, #1-5) The Ill-Made Knight (The Once and Future King, #3)

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