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The Bird in the Tree (Eliots of Damerosehay, #1)
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The Bird in the Tree (The Eliots of Damerosehay #1)

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  491 ratings  ·  51 reviews
A Vibrant Novel About the Joys of Life ... and The Pangs of Love

Love had come to David for the first time, glorious, overwhelming, passionate. It was far greater and far more lovely than he had ever dreamed possible. And it was returned in full measure, with equal passion. But he could not take her without pain--pain for himself, for her, for his beloved family.

Lucilla has
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Paperback, 286 pages
Published April 1st 1992 by Servant Publications (first published January 1st 1940)
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Community Reviews

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Sarah
Aug 24, 2014 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sarah by: Kathy Weitz
As a teenager I read the sequel to this book, Pilgrim's Inn and didn't like it. I realize now it all due to a bit of immaturity on my part as the reader and also the fact I was missing a lot of back story. The Bird in the Tree has the back story.

This book came highly recommended by a reader I highly respect. I decided to give it a try, but found the early chapters a little slow and LONG. (Each chapter is about 20 pages, which is not condusive to "I'll read a quick chapter and then..." Something
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Hana
Three and a half stars. Not her finest outing, but I enjoyed it and I cared enough about the all of the Eliots that I'm adding the second book in the series, Pilgrim's Inn to my priority reading list.

This was my third Elizabeth Goudge this year. I loved The Dean's Watch and The Castle on the Hill. She runs true to form in this book, which is graced with lovely descriptions and wonderful characters. The pace is as languid as a late summer afternoon, but despite the slow pace I found the most of t
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Jacqui
One reviewer of this novel characterized it as a crushing sermon on the importance of duty over one's personal happiness and at times I did find the book a little preachy. I can certainly see their point of view but I think the character's arguments for this "duty bound" view on life was somewhat persuasive. I think Elizabeth Goudge was good at questioning our views of personal happiness vs. obligation. Is it right to sacrifice all you have held dear so far in life for a love that is all consumi ...more
Theresa
I love this book, and the entire 'Eliot Heritage' trilogy!

Elizabeth Goudge writes so convincingly and yet non-offensively. As she has been a favorite author of mine since teen years (our local library stocked most of her books), I have turned to her again and again, and always took away something fresh and new to apply in my life.

David Eliot has fallen in love...with a (divorced) relative's wife. How will this affect the family, the children, and the home that his grandmother, Lucilla, has built
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Jean
My first introduction to Elizabeth Goudge. If I had the option, I would have given this book 4.5 stars. From the description it sounds like a romance novel which I do not ever read. Although there is a romance element, that is not what the story is ultimately about. It is an ethical/moral dilemma. This is the kind of book that makes one want to live more...better...fuller. Beautifully written. I enjoyed Goudge's British Christian apologetic views. A search for truth, goodness and beauty even in ...more
Jane
Pagan that I am, I still have a weakness for the British Christian apologists I read as an adolescent. C.S. Lewis? Check. Such a beautiful mind, such clarity!
Elizabeth Goudge? Linnets and Valerians? Sigh . . . the best. Re-reading her Damerosehay trilogy, I found myself falling for her again. Her children, like E. Nesbit's, are so individual, so real, so un-sugar coated. Her descriptions of landscape, of weather and wildlife are so perfectly realized you can practically smell the rain coming. Bu
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Emily
This is one of my grandma's favorite books. I liked the writing style (very descriptive!) and the characters, and will probably read the subsequent books in the trilogy.

Update a few days later: My brief review didn't do this book justice. Goudge's writing is actually BEAUTIFUL, and I keep thinking about the landscapes and characters she created. She clearly has a real admiration and respect for the earth's beauty and bounty, and painted wondrous pictures of Damerosehay's gardens and all the fow
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Roger Burk
I grabbed this off the shelf because I was weary and heartsick and needed an uplifting story that would pull me out of my dreary world. Well, it delivered: it pulled me into a different world altogether, a world where Duty trumps True Love, where above all one must protect the ancestral home, a world of firm morality that Jane Austen would find bracing, where even the free spirits disdain sex outside of marriage. It was first published in 1940, and set just prior, among a genteel and well-to-do ...more
Mrsgaskell
I'm rating this so highly because I loved the setting of the house Damerosehay in coastal Hampshire. With its walled flower and vegetable gardens, as well as the "wild garden" Lucilla Eliot has created a secure haven for her children and grandchildren. The history of the house and its previous residents is interesting as well. The story is slow to get going since it is overly descriptive, even when one enjoys thhe environment created. As well, although this is a pleasant read, it is a very moral ...more
Teresa Dyck
Absolutely beautiful!

This was my first book by Elizabeth Goudge and I loved it. Ms. Goudge's writing is lovely; so beautiful, I told my mom, that I hardly cared whether there was a plot at all (though there certainly was a plot, and a good one).

What I like best about this book - lovely writing aside - is that it DIDN'T really have a happy ending for all the characters. Two characters chose to do the RIGHT thing and were UNhappy. A pleasant change from the typical "do the right thing and live hap
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Psirene
Beautiful descriptive tale of the Eliot family. It was one of those books that draw you into the characters lives and you are sadden when it concludes. Luckily for me there are two more books in the series awaiting me by my bedside. The story takes place in England before the second war. The Eliot family suffered great lost in the first but loss has brought the family closer together. Now a budding relationship in the family threatens to unravel the life that the family has built at Damerosehay. ...more
Aly
This was well worth the read for the lovely descriptive language alone. The place plays such a central role in the story and sounds absolutely delightful. The setting of the story just before WWII, and with a clash of ideals between the young adults of that time and the Victorian ideals of the grandparents' generation was rich and interesting. I'm a bit ambivalent about some of the moralizing in the story, but I'm definitely interested reading the subsequent books about the Eliot family.
Magda
Deep and a bit shocking at the same time. Ms. Goudge likes to quote poetry in her works, and I especially like these lines (p. 115):

I shall wake presently, he thought, at daylight.
It is the season of larks. They will be flinging
the bright seed of song in the furrows of grey light,
till the East is gold with the smooth sheaves of singing.


The character does not remember whether these lines were written by Humbert Wolfe, but goes to read his The Uncelestial City.
Carolyn
The introductory book of the Eliot family trilogy. We meet the matriarch who is concerned for her family, especially her grandson David. We see her gentle, yet firm, interference in the relationship between David and his sister-in-law Nadine. (40's style relationship). This book shows the conflict of morality with desire. What a relief to read after the lack of morality in today's books.
Nan
Elizabeth Goudge never disappoints! Favorite quote from Lucilla,"All bereavement, whether fate inflicts it on you or whether the relinquishment is your own, changes you . . . Something lost in the present means something new flowing in from the future; often a new or stronger faith. In your loss and gain you are bound to change and to look at things a little differently."
Sue
First in the 'Elliots of Damerosehay' series.

Lucilla's favourite grandson comes to stay, and she knows something is wrong. The whole family is impacted. A descriptive and moving book, sometimes philosophical, sometimes very long-winded! It's about love and integrity, hope and self-sacrifice. Recommended, for a relaxing and slow-paced read.
Sarah
This book is one of the most beautiful pieces of literature that I have read in awhile. It is richly lyrical and poignantly human. Every detail was so exquisitely important to the novel. I am touched, deeply moved, and somewhat changed from reading this. I look forward to reading the other books in the trilogy.
Kathryn
This book just dragged for me. The basic story was great, but the detail of writing took for ever to get through. I love a book that keeps calling me throughout the day to come and read more, this didn't do that for me. It was just filled to the brim with too much detail.
Jenny
I loved this book! It felt like a classic book from the past, but dealt with very current issues. I fell in love with characters and their wonder of nature. It has everything I want in a novel and I'm praying I can find the next book in the series-I think it's out of print!
Brenda
Sep 16, 2008 Brenda rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Brenda by: Carolyn Manwaring
Shelves: fiction
Such comforting joyful books. I love how she takes everyone's troubles and sorrows and shows how hard work and sacrifice and great love can fix them all. I also love the life-like qualities she gives to buildings and how they can affect people.
Phillip
This is a rich narrative of the unfolding of a family drama on the English coasts of Hampshire in the days when World War II was just a storm on the horizon. The family manor, Damerosehay, is securely planted as the family home exuding a strong sense of place. It not only serves as the backdrop for the conflict, but the repository of a historic mystery.

Elizabeth Goudge's rich prose is a delight to read. She is equally adept at using the community to describe the landscape as she is in combining
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Helen
I LOVE anything by Elizabeth Goudge. I first read all 3 books that make up The Eliots of Damerosehay years ago from my mother's personal library and I reread it at least once a year!
faithful
[This is Book #1.] The Eliots of Damerosehay series was my very first experience with E. Goudge novels. What a delightful series full of real people and grand vocabulary.
Annette
This is a book not to be hurried but read leisurely just to savour the beautiful writing.

The beautiful pictures that Elizabeth Goudge paints are just delightful.

Carol Taylor
Beautifully descriptive...........makes me want to visit the Hampshire coast. A bit dated but still a wonderful morality play at its core.
Jane
I could've learned a lot from this as an impressionable teenager. Apparently duty is more important than love: pay attention kids!
Cynthia Vogel
Elizabeth Goudge is a well-known name from my childhood forays in the adult library section of the town library. I loved her then, her gentle but artful way with words and her carefully crafted characters. However, as I read this book (the first one of hers I have encountered as an adult) I found a complexity of plot and some very adult conundrums that i could not have possibly grasped as a child. And that is fine....I didn't need to fully grasp them in order to enjoy them and her lovely prose. ...more
Kynsalfarm
I love this trilogy, I can appreciate the critics of the books,but I just find them really pleasant and comforting,
Terry
Beautiful. Must read to gain hope. Great for parents and grandparents.
Connie
I had so many differing reactions to this book. First, while I usually like descriptive writing, this was even too much for me. I had to skim through the more descriptive sections just to feel like I was making progress. It really slowed the pacing and made it feel like a much longer book than it is.

The characters are all very real. There is plenty of human nature to go around, and each character is given their fair share. This definitely made things interesting and believable. In fact this is s
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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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Other Books in the Series

The Eliots of Damerosehay (3 books)
  • Pilgrim's Inn (Eliots of Damerosehay, #2)
  • The Heart of the Family (Eliots of Damerosehay, #3)
The Little White Horse Linnets and Valerians Green Dolphin Street The Scent of Water Pilgrim's Inn (Eliots of Damerosehay, #2)

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“If you think this life is all there is," he said, "then self-sacrifice must seem to you sheer insanity. If you do not think so then it is only common sense. It all depends on your point of view." (Hilary Eliot to David Eliot, Chapter 9)” 1 likes
“He remembered suddenly, at this moment, as he looked at the squares of moonlight lying on the floor, the time when he had first realized that pain is a thing that we must face and come to terms with if life is to be lived with dignity an not merely muddled through like an evil dream... In some vague way he had understood that dark things are necessary; without them the silver moonlight would just stream away into nothingness, but with them it can be held and arranged into beautiful squares. (David Eliot, Chapter 4)” 0 likes
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