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The White Witch

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  284 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Romantic tale set in 17th-century England, when Cavaliers struggle with Puritans to keep the throne safe for King Charles 1st.

At the beginning of the English Civil War and the men and women drawn into it on both sides. Robert Haslewood, the local squire turns puritan and follows his boyhood hero to war leaving his children and wife behind him. His cousin Froniga, half gyps
Mass Market Paperback
Published 1973 by Pyramid Books (first published January 1st 1952)
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The White Witch is probably one of the most beautiful and unusual books I've ever read. It is not a terribly thrilling story, nor is it a page-turner. It is a very quiet, gentle story with gorgeous prose and phrases that literally delight your senses and transport you to another time and place. I savored each chapter and description delighting in the author's charming descriptions of an English village before the English Civil War, the beautiful white witch and healer, Froniga, and the gypsy gro ...more
Sophist Berg
I'm only about 1/3 of the way through this particular book, but Goudge has once again managed to write things that I thought only I knew. Her descriptions of communication with nature are so completely aligned with my experience that it makes me uneasy. Thrilled, but uneasy. I've spent so long seeing the world the way she did, not knowing there was anyone else who understood, and to find this... it's unsettling.

I've also read Gentian Hill and Green Dolphin Street, as well as some of her collect
This is a beautifully evocative novel that is lyrical in places, contemplative, and altogether lovely. Goudge's sense of place is wonderfully explored through her writing style. Her religious philosophy is laid out with a deft hand, but is never heavy handed. I loved her characters, especially her depiction of the gypsy peoples. Most of her characters were multi-layered, and you always felt like they were more then just black and white, but all the shades of grey that make up the human condition ...more

I've been reading this book (almost) yearly since I was sixteen, and it never has lost its magic. Goudge's writing style is simultaneously descriptive and spare, conjuring the intimacy of half-gypsy Froniga's herb-filled cottage, as well as the violent world during the time of Cromwell. To this day, the scent of rose or lavender brings me back to the first time I read the book, and I imagine myself in another life, creating rose-petal conserve, perhaps.
Rosemary Morris
The White Witch by Elizabeth Goudge

“A Dream of England
The Nightmare of War”

From the first page to the last The White Witch, which commences at the beginning of the Civil War, in 1642 when King Charles I raised his standard in Nottingham, the novel held my attention from beginning to the end.

The White Witch opens when eight-year old Will Haslewood is eagerly awaiting the day on which he will be breeched. He can barely wait to have his hair shorn, receive his doublet and breeches and, best of all,
Lucy Winnowski
Sep 25, 2007 Lucy Winnowski rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Christian Girls looking for a clean romance
--sigh-- Again, one of the most romantic books I've read in my short life.

For those of you who likes the classy (not to be confused with Tacky) Romance Novels, this is the book for you. Mixing humorous situations with heart warming friendship, this book gives the reader something to actually think about, not just a piece of mindless literature made only to amuse.

One of my most beloved books-- the cover is practically in tatters.
May 05, 2011 Heather rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who can get through the first 200 pages
Wow. I had heard of Goudge's book "The Little White Horse," so when I saw this other book by her in my Grandma's basement, I decided to borrow it. This copy belonged to my great grandmother.

It took a long time for me to get into the story--I felt the first 200 pages or so could have been condensed. My modern attention span suffered under the snail-paced building of the action and the gradual revelation of any unifying theme, but I persevered and was rewarded for it.

This is a great meditation on
Mary Hawley
I read and reread the novels of Elizabeth Goudge early in my teens, and I loved the way she wrote about good and evil, faith and doubt in historical settings and in her own context of World Wars I and II. The backdrop of "The White Witch" is the grim era when Puritans and Royalists fought for political and religious control of England. Her characters, an assortment of Puritans, Catholics, Anglicans, gypsies, and witches, face inner turmoil as they are caught up in the larger war. Through her cha ...more
The White Witch is set at the beginning of the Civil War, when family and religious loyalties are severley tested. As with all her books, it is not really the events that concern the author, but the spiritual trials her characters suffer as a result, and the ways in which they meet those trials. Although she has a tendency to the mawkish at times, and a rather sentimental view of the past, I am very fond of Elizabeth Goudge. Her books, with their examination of what is good and bad in the human ...more

One of Elizabeth Goudge's adult books with over 300 pages of historical fiction. Though Goudge published THE WHITE WITCH first in 1958 in England, the book channels an earlier writing era in its atmosphere, description, and sentence style. It's set in 1642 England during the reign of the unfortunate King Charles I...during a period that is now known as the English civil war...when Parliament and their supporters struggled for power against the monarchy and their royalist loyalists.

Goudge has

"The White Witch" is set during England's civil war period. It is a book of contrasts; gentry and servants, well-born and gypsies, a white witch and a
parson, a black witch and an itinerant painter. Within each character's story are struggles, human suffering, and choices to be made that all contribute to a satisfying (and in some cases, unexpected), ending.

Froniga (the gypsy name for “Veronica”) is the white witch in the story. Her love interest, Yoben, is fighting for the Royalist cause, while
Het was op zich leuk om te lezen. Je krijgt een goed beeld van dat tijdperk en inzicht in de oorlog tussen de royalisten en de puriteinen. Het pluspunt was echt de manier waarop ze alles beschreef. Je had echt het gevoel er bij te zijn.

Nadelen van dit boek vond ik dat er geen duidelijk hoofdpersoon was. Nu is de "heks" Froniga natuurlijk de hoofdpersoon gezien de titel van het boek, maar je volgt alle personages per hoofdstuk zo in detail dat je voor allemaal (en dus ook voor beide kanten) sympa
Sharon Malcolm
Published in 1958 and set in England during the Civil War period of 1642, The White Witch gently follows the slowly intertwining fortunes of the Haslewood family in a rural village in Oxfordshire, the local "white" witch Froniga who is their cousin and who is also related to a band of gypsies who periodically seek safe harbour in the local woods, as well as spies in the Civil War, one of which is her unconsummated lover of ten years. Beautifully evocative descriptions of the English countryside ...more
Kristena West
i grew up on Elizabeth's books, I love them each and every one. And any other book/author is judged by her depth & breadth of writing.
Gena Lott
Didn't like this novel as well as Goudge's "Child From the Sea" but still inviting and beautifully written.
Veronica Brandt
I think she likes the name "Veronica", so I am biased. The book is kinda weird, but great.
Angela Mortimer
Set in the English civil war this is one of my most favourite historical fiction books. I've read it many times and will again. The main character Jenny is both a product of the old establishment, and another much stranger people and it shows, for she has the best of both worlds. She lives in her little cottage with her cat and her wondrous garden that she uses to help treat the locals. That in itself make us fear for her for this was a time of rejection of anything but the staunchest Christiani ...more
This book deserves 5 stars alone for the beautiful descriptions of the country side, the herbs, the people. I saw, felt and smelt. The story takes place at the beginning of the Civil War in England. Froniga is a wonderful character, strong and resourceful. She is half gypsey so their lore and traditions are also woven into the story. Two men love her. These two are on opposite sides of the war. The war is lightly touched on showing both sides, but with all wars, there are always losers. A beauti ...more
I consider Elizabeth Goudge one of my very favorite authors. This is one of her few novels that I have not read. It is a historical fiction set during the English Civil War. So far the characters and plot are intriguing and I am already quite attached to many of the characters....
Update: I was very sad to see this book end. I felt a little bereft at the end as I wanted to continue to watch and see how the characters continued to grow...The mark of a good novel, no? :)
Historical novel written during the 1950s, set in the English Civil War. I liked a lot of the detail - folklore, plant lore, gypsy lore. I enjoyed the contrast between the 'good' and 'bad' witch, and some of the characters were great - Jenny, Madona. Elizabeth Goudge's style is rather slow-paced by today's standards and takes some patience to read, but that is also its charm - she has a strong, yet gentle authorial voice.
Don't be put off by the title: this is another book where real people struggle towards the knowledge of their Creator, or else turn their back on Him and become more base as a result. Redemption is possible for even the hardest heart if they decide to turn away from themselves and begin looking to the needs of others. Not my favorite of her books, but very good never-the-less.
On the eve of the British civil war, Froniga, daughter of a
gypsy would rather heal than fight.
Her cousin is a Purtitan while her beloved is a Royalist.
The war will change all their lives.
Carly Svamvour
Dec 30, 2011 Carly Svamvour marked it as to-read
This was quoted from a couple of times at one of the Book Nook's chat threads, so I ordered it in.
Oct 23, 2012 Misfit marked it as to-read-mine  ·  review of another edition
One of those days, three books have been set aside before finally settling on this one (I hope).
Lovely. I started an herb garden many years ago, because of this book.
スク『noms On
Jun 22, 2008 スク『noms On is currently reading it
not a review---- but mine is hardback. copywrite 1958.
One of my favorites, need to read again.
Many High lights. too much boring war stuff.
Probably one of my favorites.
Not a bad read, but not as gripping as Goudges other work, such as "The Dean's Watch" or "Green Dolphin Country".

Set in the English civil war, the book traces the life of a half-gypsy, cousin to the squire, lady who is the local "healer", using a mixture of herbal remedies, what she calls white magic and personal charisma. There are sub-plots all though this book, but Froniga (the gypsy version of Veronica) is the thread that ties them all together.
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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
More about Elizabeth Goudge...
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“We all of us need to be toppled off the throne of self, my dear," he said. "Perched up there the tears of others are never upon our own cheek.” 73 likes
“she had long accepted the fact
that happiness is like swallows in
Spring. It may come and nest under
your eaves or it may not. You cannot
command it. When you expect to be
happy you are not, when you don't
expect to be happy there's suddenly
Easter in your soul, though it be
More quotes…