Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Castle on the Hill” as Want to Read:
The Castle on the Hill
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Castle on the Hill

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  183 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
It is the summer of 1940 and England is fighting for her life. In a rural corner of England the vagaries of war bring together a group of people wrestling the enemy within--fear, despair, loss of faith.

A web of chance... a fateful meeting in a London street... A lost teddy bear... the wrong train... and the lives of four people were altered forever! A shy, middle-aged spin
Christchurch Edition
Published January 1st 1986 by Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd (first published 1941)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Castle on the Hill, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Castle on the Hill

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Three and a half stars. It's nowhere near as strong a book as The Dean's Watch, but it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, a gentle study of the way English character and class were reshaped by the chance happenings of World War 2. I've probably read too many books on the subject and that made The Castle on the Hill somewhat less than compelling for me.

The plot, such as it is, unfolds extremely slowly with many inner philosophical monologs that got a bit wearing. I loved the characters, though,
Apr 15, 2014 Jane rated it it was amazing
This is a story of the darkest days of World War II, when only England stood against the Nazi forces advancing across Europe, and when the fear of invasion was very, very real. Elizabeth Goudge lived on the south coast of England then, close to the eye of the storm, it was during the war that she wrote this book, and it was clear as I read that she knew and she that understood.

She write of a group of people who were drawn together, at a castle on a hill.

Miss Brown was a very English lady; quiet,
Oct 27, 2016 Theresa rated it really liked it
Miss Brown, in her early forties, is alone and at a loss as to what to do. Living in the early years of WW2 England, she is overtaken by fear, having just lost her home and her livelihood due to the destruction of the bombings.

“Cousin Emmie did not like her and did not want her but was willing to house her for a week or so while she looked about her for a job. But she could not find a one wanted a shop assistant. No one seemed to want housekeepers or companion helps either; they could
I was a bit unsure how many stars to give this. It is so poignant, refreshing, astonishing, and so well-written I didn't want it to end. Although it is written during World War 2, you still have a feel of the 1800s as a lot of the book surrounds the castle in Tornhaven.

I love the characters Elizabeth Goudge creates. Miss Brown, nothing special about her, with no hope for the future after he home is bombed hears a man play the violin and feels happier. She then becomes a housekeeper at the castl
May 30, 2014 Anna rated it really liked it
I don't generally read "war stories" as they usually give me nightmares. But "Castle on the Hill" was different. The characters, facing WWII in England, were also facing their fears of war, and each managing to conquer his or her fear in a different way. Although nothing turned out the way the characters might have wished, they were able to overcome and carry on, and even grow and mature through their experiences. I loved Miss Brown and Moppet and Poppet.

The book itself was a long read, and I o
May 10, 2010 Phillip rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a nice gem this book turned out to be. Published in 1941, it is a contemporary story of England dealing with the continual assault from Germany. The author starts with a middle aged woman whose profession and home have been entirely disrupted by that war. As she starts interacting with the other characters in the book the reader follows them each as they strive to reposition themselves into the pattern of life, when war has imposed a major shift in the pattern. Although the German bombers f ...more
Jul 22, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a unique read for me. Written in 1940 in England during probably the scariest time of WWII for the English it is a story full of sadness and loss... and yet -- and yet it's more than that. It's also story of how people find hope and happiness in the midst of a dark, scary, uncertain time when they are full of grief over the loss of loved ones and the loss of life as they knew it.

I've only read a handful of Goudge's books, but while I did appreciate this book and am glad I read it, I can
Sep 04, 2009 Carolynne rated it really liked it
Miss Brown is displaced by the military during WWII, but finds a home as housekeeper to the reserved Mr. Birley and his nephesw in their "castle in Torhaven, near the coast. There are other people who are drawn to the castle to escape the London Blitz of 1940, and there relationships are soon inextricably tangled. Miss B. falls in love with the crusty bachelor Mr. Birley, but it is Mr. Isaacson, the homeless Jewish violinist, who cares for and appreciates her. Reckless young Richard Birley is lo ...more
Jul 17, 2009 Polly rated it really liked it
A fine book, although less fine than many other books by this author. It's also more depressing, being set in 1940 in England, whereas most of her books are set either before the twentieth century, or just after WWII, when things are tough but with the prospect of getting better. The characters in this book keep reminding themselves of Dunkirk as the only hopeful sign they can think of, and they are constantly on alert for an invasion force. Yet they mostly manage to find hope and peace and happ ...more
A WWII story that reminded me of Rilla of Ingleside and had potential. I have enjoyed other books by Elizabeth Goudge which is why I picked this one up from the local used bookstore but I don't see myself wanting to revisit this one more than once. The first 90 pages (or nearly 1/3 of the book!!) all take place in the span of one day, setting the scene and background to some of the main characters. Honestly, the POV bounced around too much to determine a MAIN character which was annoying. The bo ...more
Jul 07, 2016 Nelia rated it it was amazing
This beautifully written novel takes place in England during the Second World War and was published during the Second World War. The author's description of her characters' thoughts and emotions draws you into their lives in a manner that few other authors are able to achieve. Over the years, I've read several Elizabeth Goudge books, but I had never heard of this one, and I would have to say, it is my favorite. There is tragedy, but ultimately, triumph.
Elizabeth Goudge had a gift for understanding the human heart and she never fails to move me with her words and stories. This novel deals with some difficult subjects--war, fear, despair, hopelessness--and Goudge handles them with unusual compassion and sensitivity. As always, her faith and love of God shine through her fiction, bringing enlightenment and hope to her characters, and to her readers as well. I closed this one thinking, Oh wow, she did it again!

Kathleen Dixon
Sep 02, 2012 Kathleen Dixon rated it liked it
This was published in 1940-something, and the writing is very 40s. Nevertheless, it is quite delightful, with Miss Brown the prim spinster; Jo Iverson the down-and-out musician; the Bisley family; and the two evacuee children.

I read this while I was on holiday on Norfolk Island, and am entering it on Goodreads some 8 years later, so I don't actually remember it. But I had recorded that little snippet above.
Jan 30, 2015 Mimi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
More a character study than an plot driven novel, this quiet and slow story takes us to the English Countryside during World War II, involving a spinster (who is the same age as me, and yet manages to have perfect skin belying her age - rolls eyes), two orphans being moved out of London, the heirs of a Castle, and a homeless musician.
Feb 04, 2017 Heidi rated it really liked it
In some ways an old-fashioned story but the characters are so well written and ring true today.
Fascinating to read a book about the experience of WW2 that was written before the ending was certain.
Robina Fox
Feb 09, 2014 Robina Fox rated it really liked it
This novel is set in rural England during the Second World War. Like most of Miss Goudge's books, it is very much concerned with the tension between duty and inclination, with people doing their best and trying to be kind and honest. The central character, Miss Brown, is a gentle nondescript woman in her 40s, who takes a job as housekeeper to an historian and finds herself caring for evacuees.
Jul 03, 2016 Melissa rated it liked it
Not as good as some of her other books. A bit wordy.
At first I thought it was going to be a tribute to the British upper class, but it ended up being about the effects of WWII on the English population and a tribute to the English spirit. Published in 1942 and the author lived in an area of England she wrote about. It was interesting to read about life during the air war.
May 20, 2013 Kristin rated it liked it
Miss Brown goes to work at the Castle for the Birleys. Moppet and Poppet come to stay in the countryside because the war is going on. Everyone's lives conveniently turn out for the good or bad by the end of the story.
Apr 26, 2010 Kim rated it it was amazing
Another wonderful find...this book is out of print, I believe. Beautifully written story with amazing character development. It takes place during WWII, but it's not a war story, it's a life story. Lovely.
Jan 25, 2008 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Compulsive reading set in the war years, featuring a middle-aged woman who has lost her home in the war, and a Jewish refugee musician. There are also two delightful small London evacuees. Compulsive reading with the horrors of war sensitively handled.
Loved this book at the time and got so involved in all the characters
Jul 17, 2012 Becky rated it really liked it
Elizabeth paints a picture you will never forget.
Jun 04, 2011 LDuchess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Original 1942 edition...England during the early years of WW II. BEAUTIFUL writing.
Mar 18, 2012 Jessica rated it it was ok
Not bad, but don't normally go for anything with such romantic undertones
Jul 15, 2012 Rieta rated it really liked it
Some pages of this books I just had to read aloud to my husband. Not many books make me want to do that.
Rachel Williams
Rachel Williams rated it really liked it
Jan 18, 2015
Kathy rated it really liked it
Jan 01, 2009
Polly rated it it was amazing
Nov 01, 2014
Maria Stromberg
Maria Stromberg rated it really liked it
Jan 31, 2014
Mary Alice
Mary Alice rated it liked it
Apr 05, 2017
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Still Glides the Stream
  • Elizabeth, Captive Princess (Elizabeth Trilogy, #2)
  • Given
  • Looking Forward
  • The Green Gauntlet
  • The Courts of the Morning
  • Winter in Thrush Green (Thrush Green, #2)
  • Shake Down the Stars
  • Doreen
  • Blitzcat
  • My Lord Monleigh
  • Family Roundabout
  • Fisher of Men
  • Dancing in a Distant Place
Elizabeth Goudge was an English author of romance novels, short stories and children's books.

Elizabeth de Beauchamp Goudge was born on 24 April 1900 in the cathedral city of Wells, she moved with her family to Ely when her father, a clergyman, was transferred there. When her father, Henry Leighton Goudge, was made Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford, the family left Ely and went to Christ Churc
More about Elizabeth Goudge...

Share This Book

“There always comes, I think, a sort of peak in suffering at which either you win over your pain or your pain wins over you, according as to whether you can, or cannot, call up that extra ounce of endurance that helps you to break through the circle of yourself and do the hitherto impossible. That extra ounce carries you through 'le dernier quart d' heure.' Psychologist have a name for it, I believe. Christians call it the Grace of God.” 13 likes
“...whatever happens I'll not be afraid again; for, when you've once pushed through the place of torment to the peace beyond, you know that you can do it again. You know there's a strength somewhere that you can call upon. You've confidence.” 5 likes
More quotes…