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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)

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  732 Ratings  ·  77 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
Paperback, 286 pages
Published April 1st 1992 by Servant Publications (first published January 1st 1940)
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Mar 03, 2013 Theresa rated it it was amazing
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
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
Nov 13, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  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
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
Dec 15, 2013 Jane rated it liked it
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
Feb 23, 2016 Sarah rated it it was amazing
The more I read Elizabeth Goudge the more I trust her. No matter the current trouble, she will make it right in the end, somehow. I think that might be the highest praise one could give an author.
Feb 23, 2014 Jean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Julie  Durnell
May 29, 2015 Julie Durnell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england-uk
I loved this book, in fact it is to date my favorite of Elizabeth Goudge stories. Lucilla is the wise matriarch of the family and her relationship to her children and grandchildren is well told. I came away with the sense of family as prime importance to the point of sacrificing some of one's own desires for the greater good of family and community. The home she made in Damerosehay is a sheltering and nurturing place for all who come to stay. I look forward to the other books in the Eliot series ...more
Jun 19, 2013 Emily rated it liked it
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
Roger Burk
Apr 08, 2013 Roger Burk rated it really liked it
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
Sep 30, 2011 Mrsgaskell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british, library, 8-star
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
Jan 25, 2008 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First in the 'Elliots of Damerosehay' series about an extended family who revolve around the elderly matriarch Lucilla. Written as contemporary fiction in 1940, it's inevitably rather old-fashioned, and modern readers may be puzzled or shocked by some of the ethics of the day. Yet it's a moving story with great characterisation.

Amongst the family interactions and struggles, the book is about the nature of truth. It’s about being true to oneself and one’s family, of making difficult decisions, o
Kate Howe
Mar 19, 2016 Kate Howe rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars

This checked so, so many of my boxes. Beautiful seaside location in a beautiful mansion, lush passages on nature and the feelings of the characters, subtle romance, rewarding family relationships, the glorifying of every day life and mundane household tasks, and a period setting. I loved so many of Goudge's descriptions and this to me had just the right ratio of description to action.
This was only the first in a trilogy so I'm very much so looking forward to seeing many ends being tie
Teresa Dyck
Jan 14, 2010 Teresa Dyck rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 mother, 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
Oct 05, 2008 Psirene rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 08, 2008 Magda rated it liked it
Shelves: spiritual, general
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.
Oct 13, 2009 Aly rated it liked it
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.
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.
Jun 26, 2008 Nan rated it really liked it
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."
Apr 30, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing
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.
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.
Feb 05, 2011 Jenny rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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!
Sep 16, 2008 Brenda rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 16, 2013 Kynsalfarm rated it really liked it
I love this trilogy, I can appreciate the critics of the books,but I just find them really pleasant and comforting,
Carol Taylor
Apr 15, 2013 Carol Taylor rated it really liked it
Beautifully descriptive...........makes me want to visit the Hampshire coast. A bit dated but still a wonderful morality play at its core.
Jul 29, 2008 faithful rated it it was amazing
[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.
Mar 06, 2013 Helen rated it it was amazing
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!
Jan 10, 2013 Terry rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. Must read to gain hope. Great for parents and grandparents.
Jul 30, 2013 Annette rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished
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.

Sep 02, 2010 Jane rated it liked it
I could've learned a lot from this as an impressionable teenager. Apparently duty is more important than love: pay attention kids!
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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...

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)

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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)” 2 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)” 1 likes
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