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Green Dolphin Street

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  1,206 Ratings  ·  151 Reviews
A haunting love story set in the Channel Islands and New Zealand in the 19th century.

William, whose hypnotic, masculine presence made two women adore him... of Marianne, moody, passionate, brilliant, by whom William was both fascinated and repelled... of Marguerite, Marianne's beautiful sister whom William wanted with all his heart.

They had both loved him for years. Now th
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published June 1st 2000 by Buccaneer Books (first published 1944)
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Mary Ann Finally, yes! I love this book and first read it as a teenager; I've checked for it periodically at Amazon and Barnes and Noble and found it today on…moreFinally, yes! I love this book and first read it as a teenager; I've checked for it periodically at Amazon and Barnes and Noble and found it today on Kindle.(less)

Community Reviews

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Well, I haven't finished this. I can't right now, and I may never. Too painful.

Baby, I finished the book, and I'm sorry you weren't here with me for the ending. It ended as well as it began, but, like real life, with some sadness picked up along the journey that we have to carry with us.

I want to trumpet as much as I can the greatness of this book. Truly a forgotten classic. At times I thought I was reading Dickens. I don't know why this book isn't huge. You can see by the ratings it's good - ha
Sep 06, 2010 Karyl rated it it was amazing
As soon as Marianne sets her eyes on William Ozanne, after his father finally returns to his birthplace, she also sets her cap for him. From that very moment she realizes that she is meant for him, and that she would mold him into exactly the man she wants him to be. However, her sister Marguerite falls in love with him as well, a pure, giving love that asks for nothing in return. After emigrating to New Zealand to make a new life for himself as an adult, he writes home to ask his love to join h ...more
Jul 18, 2009 Karen rated it it was amazing
This is my all time favorite book. Good luck finding a copy, though. It is out of print. I checked it out from the Orem Library but it has since gone missing. I bought a used copy off of Amazon.

Interesting fact--this book was made into a movie in the 40s, I think, staring Donna Read, Lana Turner, Van Heflen. It has some early cinematographic attempts at portraying an earthquake. It is reasonable good.

I read it first in the 90s but reread it about a year ago. Still as good as I remember it. Don't
Oct 09, 2009 Christy rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Christy by: Marilyn Allen
In your typical love story, girl meets boy and they fall in love, but some obstacle springs up, such as a misunderstanding, or another woman. Eventually the obstacle is overcome, however, and they declare their love and live happily ever after. But what if things don’t work out that way? What if the boy hopelessly botches things and accidentally marries the wrong girl? Can it still be a love story? Green Dolphin Street is tender, funny, wrenching, and vivid, and it will weave its exquisite spell ...more
Bridget Blanton
Nov 05, 2014 Bridget Blanton rated it liked it
I am a fan of Elizabeth Goudge, but this is not my favorite book … While she still writes so beautifully throughout the novel, I grew tired of Marianne's obsession with the object of her desire. On the one hand, Marianne is presented as intelligent and independent yet, she seems to focus almost all of her energy on the man she loves; at the cost of happiness for people she supposedly loves. Yes, it's a well developed, classic love triangle/tragedy and for that Goudge is to be applauded, but stil ...more
Rachanalski Srodzinski
Feb 12, 2013 Rachanalski Srodzinski rated it it was amazing
This book is an absolute gem. I have read it COUNTLESS times and each time I read it again I fall into the world in its pages and find it hard to come out on the last page. The characters make you fall in love with them, or hate them... this sounds like a fairly generic statement but rarely do I feel anything when reading a book, this one was most certainly an exception. Marianne, marguerite ... so much could be said about them, I feel that the emotions of the characters was expressed PERFECTLY. ...more
Deborah Pickstone
What a bizarre and unfortunate mistake to make! Elizabeth Goudge is always a lovely read despite being not exactly modern and unfashionably nice! I forgave her for all errors about NZ - she made it clear she had never been here.
Abigail Hartman
Apr 29, 2016 Abigail Hartman rated it liked it
I came away from this novel...vaguely confused. In some ways I enjoyed it very much, and in others I was left with a sensation of, "Ha ha, wait, what?" Therefore, the thing to do is clearly to take a page out of Cait's playbook and make lists (and anyway, lists are more fun to read).


1. Despite the fact that there was so much of it that I did, admittedly, skim through a few paragraphs here and there, the descriptions are beautiful. Whether talking about the Channel island or New Zealand
Cynthia Haggard
Apr 24, 2011 Cynthia Haggard rated it it was amazing
Is it Marianne, or Marguerite? Poor William could never remember the names of the two sisters, even though they had very different personalities.
Marianne was a fiery independent woman, who would not have been out of place in the 21st century. Her gentle sister Marguerite had more old-fashioned qualities. When William had successfully made a life for himself in New Zealand, he decided to write home to St. Pierre in Guernsey, and ask for the hand of the woman he loved. The woman he loved was gent
Jul 08, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it
This book was referred to me by my dear college roomie Diane, who was killed in an auto accident this past January. She happened to randomly mention it in one of our few Facebook exchanges. I decided to request it from the library and received a 1944 edition (possible 1st edition). It was a very interesting read. Although a fictional storyline it is based on the true experience of a man in the 1800's, writing to the father of his childhood sweetheart, asking that she be allowed to join him as wi ...more
Apr 04, 2016 Saphraneet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality, fiction
This was a book so unlike any other book I have ever read, and as a result it really made an impact on me. I believe the main theme of the story is how the characters, both the major and the minor, journey to find their own special place (country) in the world. One minor character explained, "Our home, our special country, is for all of us the place where we find liberation; a very difficult word, child, that tries to describe something that can't be described but is the only thing worth having. ...more
Mar 02, 2015 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, library
More like 3.5. Although it was a bit old fashioned in tone and prose sometimes bordered on the purple, I enjoyed this novel of the discovery of the true nature of love and of adventure in pioneer New Zealand, from isle of Guernsey and final return. The book spans more than a generation of lives of the same three main characters in the 19th century.

After misadventure as a British naval officer, William Ozanne joins the crew of a merchant ship, the Green Dolphin, and settles in New Zealand where h
Jan 21, 2015 Terry rated it it was amazing
This book introduced me to Elizabeth Goudge. After reading the book, I scoured the library for more by the same author . I was lucky enough to have a mother who also loved reading, and she purchased others. Through Miss Goudge, I so very much! She introduced me to a world I didn't know existed, and I've been a bit of an Anglophile ever since!

Goudge's books are notably Christian in outlook, containing such themes as sacrifice, conversion, discipline, healing, and growth through suffering. Her no
May 31, 2015 Deborah rated it it was amazing
A novel about humans as wanderer, lover and saint. It is rare in that it is simple (everyday experiences) and rings true yet reaches the highest quality of philosophical musings. "The visionary is a mystic when his vision mediates to him an actuality beyond the reach of the senses. The philosopher is a mystic when he passes beyond thought to the pure apprehension of truth. The active man is a mystic when he knows his actions to be part of a greater activity." - Evelyn Underhill,
Chapter I, What I
More difficult to read than her other novels, but oh, so worth it. Once again, Goudge's characters come alive, and their lives and struggles are compelling.

I found myself praying desperately that I would not be a selfish, manipulative, bitter woman like Marianne. I learned a little bit more about what it means to love my neighbors- especially my husband. I took great satisfaction in the skillfully written dénouement and the redemption of her characters, now my friends. Authors like Elizabeth Gou
Jan 08, 2010 Bette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Absolutely amazing book about two sisters and the man who loves them both. It spans more than fifty years, and at the end you really feel that you've experienced their lives with them. Goudge writes beautiful descriptions of nature and has a real understanding of human frailty. I'm still reeling from the strong emotions the book inspired.
Jun 04, 2008 Nan rated it it was amazing
Favorite Book!
Dec 11, 2015 SusanInSedalia rated it really liked it
More like four and a half.
Dec 02, 2016 Jenny rated it it was ok
Ughhh couldn't get into it. TOO deep and drawn out
Dec 09, 2016 Danielle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book centers around the relationship of two very different sisters and their love for one man and what seems like a chance mistake that changes all their lives. It was rich, deep, and epic. Marianne, who kind of comes across as the main protagonist is smart, determined, brave, manipulative, and selfish. She reminds me a lot of Scarlett O'Hara. Yet she grows, matures, and changes. There are times you definitely don't like her, but in the end I think I was really want her to succeed at life.

Jan 08, 2017 Chris rated it liked it
Long and sloggish at times, this book was still worth the read. However improbable the story line, the author did a good job of making you both infuriated and endeared to the main characters. It made me think about my own marriage and how putting ones happiness above your own can lead to contentment. The dangers of pride and fulfillment of humility are also lessons well learned.
Lynn Demsky
Dec 05, 2016 Lynn Demsky rated it really liked it
An interesting book about two sisters during the New Zealand settlements with primitive forests the crude very dangerous living in the settlements and the Maori Civil Wars. Sort of along the line of Michener's books --- good!
Kelsey Bryant
Dec 14, 2014 Kelsey Bryant rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Green Dolphin Street was an emotional roller coaster. I found it hard to write a review that doesn't give anything away, because it would be better for everyone to discover the unfolding petals of this book themselves. It’s like an opening rose; it was joy (and occasionally agony) to step across each petal until the center of the ending was reached, where everything came together, with all its full-blown fragrance.

Most books are add-ons to life: you read them and they capture your surface atten
Jan 21, 2013 Helynne rated it liked it
Elizabeth Goudge places a short blurb at the beginning of her novel admitting that she has never been to New Zealand and apologizing for any inaccuracies she may have provided as she set a large part of her novel’s action in this country. I have never been to New Zealand either, but I think Goudge’s descriptions of the countryside, cities, history, and culture of New Zealand are not only beautiful and convincing, but also the strongest parts of this lengthy, detailed novel. Of course, I also lo ...more
Leading up to my visit to the Channel Islands, a friend recommended it as themed trip reading (since the story takes place in the CI and in NZ). It took me awhile to finally finish it, but I did -- hooray! A few thoughts I have about the novel are: The writing is beautiful and many of the descriptions and ideas impacted me. It's also been awhile since I've read an epic novel that follows people through their lifetime. It was unusual
to have a protagonist be someone the author acknowledges as not
Apr 09, 2011 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
Starting a new book on my Mom’s birthday, I chose one of her favourites. She’d always recommended Green Dolphin Street but I’d just never got around to it, until now. Written in 1944, it’s a slower and more sentimental style that what I usually read, but it’s lovely and the narratives are beautiful. This epic novel has everything – cradle to grave family saga, love and betrayal, faith and sacrifice, adventure and natural disasters.
On the Channel Islands in the mid 1800’s, Marianne and Marguerite
This looked a bit daunting: nearly 600 pages of rather small print is not a quick read, but I began it about a week ago, and have finally completed it.

The story begins in one of the Channel Islands in the mid-1800s. Marianne and Marguerite are sisters, but very different. Into their lives come Dr Ozanne, and his son William.

The three young people take to each other quickly, and both girls fall in love with him. He joins the Royal Navy, and ends up in New Zealand…

The bulk of the book is about h
Antoine Dumas
Jan 04, 2016 Antoine Dumas rated it really liked it
Concepts (3/5)
This book is pretty concept-heavy. There are long moments of reflection by several characters and you can really see what they learn from their experiences. You’d think the result would be a high concept score, because some of the reflection is outstanding. But there’s just no getting around the intense sexism and racism/classism that pervades throughout. I shudder at the irony in the moments when Marianne declares that Englishmen are the superior race. As if just having that thoug
Schuyler Wallace
Jun 19, 2015 Schuyler Wallace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I first read “Green Dolphin Street” when I was about fourteen, motivated, no doubt, by the 1947 movie that featured exciting scenes of sailing, New Zealand, earthquakes, tidal waves, wild weather, natives, and swashbuckling adventure. The fact that it starred Lana Turner and Donna Reed was surely a factor because of their luminous beauty that scratched the libido of a teen aged boy.

I remember the read as a good one, although, as I grind through it now, it seems stodgy, overwritten, and full of s
Feb 02, 2016 Sarahelisabeth rated it it was ok
This is a longish novel by Elizabeth Goudge both in terms of length and in terms of the time covered: over forty years.
William Ozanne comes to one of the Channel Islands as a teenager and meets the two Le Patourel girls. Both girls fall in love with him. Marianne is a determined, intelligent young lady who tends to rather frighten both women and young men whereas Marguerite is a jolly, fun loving but less accomplished child.
William grows up and joins the Royal Navy. When he returns to the Isla
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Goodreads Librari...: Correct # of pages 3 29 Sep 02, 2013 07:29AM  
Book Loving Kiwis: Green Dolphin Country 8 21 Sep 09, 2012 11:46PM  
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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
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“Nothing living should ever be treated with contempt. Whatever it is that lives, a man, a tree, or a bird, should be touched gently, because the time is short. Civilization is another word for respect for life...” 60 likes
“[I]f you believe in God omnipresent, then you must believe everything that comes into your life, person or event, must have something of God in it to be experienced and loved; not hated.” 21 likes
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