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The Rosemary Tree

4.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  284 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
The Rosemary Tree is heart-warming and inspiring, full of the compassion, understanding, and humor about people and situations for which Miss Goudge is so famous. It tells the story of John Wentworth, forty-four year old, vicar of Belmaray, his wife Daphne, forty, of their three daughters, Pat, nine, Margary, eight, and Winkle, five. It is the story also of Michael Stone a ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published December 1st 1956 by Hodder & Stoughton Ltd (first published 1951)
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Judy
Apr 29, 2010 Judy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who needs some uplifting and doesn't want medication for it.
Shelves: books-from-1956
Elizabeth Goudge is an author who can always raise me up from whatever slough of despond I get my self into. After reading the dark novels I love, I go to her to restore my balance and faith in mankind. She never lets me down. She wrote over twenty novels in her lifetime, most of which are now out of print though any library with a good fiction selection carries her books.

The Rosemary Tree is a story about people trying to deal with the greatly changed post WWII world. The central family is com
...more
Katherine
Jan 05, 2016 Katherine rated it it was amazing
Another wonderful story from Elizabeth Goudge filled with spirituality, lovely prose, well-drawn characters, and wisdom. She never fails to pull me in, pull on my heart-strings, and make me think. A keeper to revisit.
Sarah
Aug 18, 2015 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As I said before in my updates, this book was slow at first, but it grew gently irresistible over time. Goudge writes the kind of book you can meditate on for months. (Beadsman is now one of my favorite words- Look it up in an old dictionary.) I read this aloud to my mum, and it turns out that mothers are a perfect audience for this particular title, so if you have the means, do read it to yours too!
"I just live", Winkle said. "Living is dirty work, but I like it."
Mary Coons
May 26, 2014 Mary Coons rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I guess Elizabeth Goudge gets filed with "romance," just judging from her book covers (young men and women gazing moonily at each other)--but I think she's much more. I read anything I can find of hers, and I read them for solace, for insight, for the ministry that happens between me and God every time I read this author. Her insights are deep, and penetrating, and transcend the times of her novels.
That being said, she writes about England in the early middle of the twentieth century, and evokes
...more
Julie
Oct 23, 2009 Julie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
This one was slow to get my attention, and I almost gave up on it a few times. I'm glad I didn't. I particulary like this passage, as I had a Monday morning much like this one last week:

Mary O'Hara woke up on Monday morning in a shocking temper. Before she got her eyes open she knew she was in it. She also knew she had a slight headache... and then came the realization that it was raining, that it was Monday morning, that her hot water bottle had leaked in the night and that she hated everybody
...more
Laurie
Dec 05, 2011 Laurie rated it really liked it
Just got my hands on this again, after reading it first from the library and then owning it and somehow loaning it out and never getting it back...

Goudge is one of my all-time favorite authors, and there are several of her books that I have read a half-dozen times or more (notably, "The Dean's Watch" and "Pilgrim's Inn"--aka "Herb of Grace"). This is one that has come to mind often in the past couple of years. Found a British first edition on Amazon, and I've been waiting to treat myself to this
...more
Janet
Aug 04, 2010 Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great book by one of my all-time favorite authors. I love the way she weaves so many stories together for good, always offering the hope of love to redeem.

"I've never welcomed anything difficult or painful. I've always resented it and hit back. I can see now that to have welcomed the slings and arrows might have been to welcome love."
Heidi
I read this many years ago. It was a slow read, because there was a great deal of inward ruminating, and yet I couldn't put it out of my mind. The characters are so richly delineated and multi-layered, even when they're unsympathetic, that it really makes you think and consider, which is what all good books should do.
Karlyne Landrum
Sep 17, 2009 Karlyne Landrum rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite of E. Goudge's, and I never tire of re-reading it. I find it beautiful, wonderfully written, and inspiring. Her insights into children and animals are unlike anyone else's. And so are her insights into the human mind, heart and soul.
Pam P
Oct 19, 2009 Pam P rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I think just the atmosphere of an England that probably doesn't exist or never has. This and Pilgrims Inn and oh I can't really choose, I loved them all.
Ann
Jun 10, 2015 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love the way Elizabeth Goudge recognises the dignity, beauty and value of people despite their recognised failings.
Bridget Blanton
Oct 25, 2014 Bridget Blanton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is the 'self' that we project to the world and then there is the true 'self' that we often keep hidden, even from ourselves. In 'The Rosemary Tree', author Elizabeth Goudge once again shows her strength in portraying human nature. Goudge takes the reader into the heart of a family in the quiet beauty of the English countryside. Themes of growth, redemption and resurrection evolve naturally as each of the characters find their footing in difficult emotional terrain. As always, Goudge gentl ...more
Stephen
Jan 18, 2015 Stephen rated it it was amazing
This should be listed among the best works of Elizabeth Goudge. The story is one of a priest in the Church of England who despises himself for his bumbling, inept ministry. His parishioners think he is bumbling, but they love him for his compassion and humility. In reality, God works powerfully through his weakness to change the lives of those around him. As always with this author, the writing is excellent. However, it is not a book for those who like action. The book takes place in the hearts ...more
Susan
Aug 20, 2013 Susan rated it liked it
Pure Goudge! While it was quite heavy on philosphical/theological soliloquies, and botanical descriptions, and somewhat short on plot for all its almost 400 pages, there were many moments of magic that reminded me--Oh, yes, now I remember who I am!

Elizabeth Goudge is one of my three three favorite authors. Still, in Rosemary Tree, her insistence on the redemption of characters sometimes frustrated me--and that reaction pulled me up short and gave me more than a few moments of my own philosophic
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Nancy S. Davis
Well developed characters, beautiful English countryside and spiritual, human depth and insight.

I give it five stars because I did not want it to end. I've read much of Elizabeth Goudge and find very few comparable authors, possibly George MacDonald. It is so difficult to find another book as refreshing.
Melliott
This is not my favorite of her books--it's a little too mystical with its Christian symbolism--but I did get caught up in the story by the end. The children, in particular, were charming, and her word paintings of the English countryside make me want to live there. NOW.
Lori
Jan 19, 2013 Lori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another gem from Elizabeth Goudge. Michael Stone has recently been released from prison. He comes to a little English town, meeting the vicar, John Wentworth, on the bridge overlooking the river. They instantly like one another and form the beginnings of a friendship.
John's daughters attend a private day school where one teacher, Miss Giles, is mean-spirited and unkind, and the other, Mary O'Hara, is warm and loving. The owner of the school is selfish to the destruction of those around her. Daph
...more
Valerie
Jun 11, 2014 Valerie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Loved E Goudge as a teenager, but now as more than middle aged I found myself too impatient with the drawn out descriptions of scenery, characters' thoughts, their characters, etc. Kept thinking 'Just get on with it!'
Carolyn
Sep 04, 2014 Carolyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: granny-s-books
I had forgotten the ending, so it was worth the re-read. The first time I read it it was in hardback; if it had been the paperback I probably would not have read it; the cheesy cover would have put me right off! A gentle, kind book from a gentler, kinder time.
Mimi
Nov 25, 2014 Mimi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014
Even a mediocre Elizabeth Goudge book is still a good read, just not a fabulous one. Like others have said, it started out fairly slowly and lurched a bit to the ending, but a nice story.
Sharon Stine
Mar 30, 2015 Sharon Stine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I appreciated the dated language/structure use of poetry etc. Some may find it flowery but it is a period piece I enjoyed.
Lizzy
Jan 26, 2016 Lizzy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delicious read. Like a hearty stew. Fulfilling and satisfying. Goudge really knows how to develop characters and bring depth into this glimpse of a simple vicar and his family and friends.
Maryann Fox
Couldn't get into storyline so stopped reading it
Kelly
More excellence from Elizabeth Goudge. Sin, forgiveness, shame, redemption, evil ending in pitiful nothingness, a broken marriage restored... Good triumphs over evil.

One thing I love about this book (and Scent of Water did this, too) was that even though the end was predictable in the large scale -good wins- the details aren't entirely predictable. That's hard to do.

Books like this make me want to be a better person.
Mary Robinson
Jan 27, 2010 Mary Robinson rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
This is a gentle, old-fashioned narrative of a group of people living in an English village early in the 1950s. The story follows them as they resolve individual and family problems. It has a slow pace and nice character development, and beautiful, poetic description of the countryside, the sea and nature.

Sue
Jan 25, 2008 Sue rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, read-2001
A gentle, relaxing book revolving around a delightfully vague vicar and his wife. Excellent word pictures of each individual are drawn, with a clear understanding of temperament differences and high sensitivity. A bit long-winded and over-descriptive in places, but overall enjoyable.
Cristine Braddy
Jan 11, 2014 Cristine Braddy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The perfect Spring read
Debbi
Another good book by Elizabeth Goudge, but I think I prefer the "Dean's Watch" a bit more. Goudge writes such wonderful characters and packs her books with such wonderful quotes. However, this time around I did begin to get weary of the book by last 80-100 pages.
Rosemary
Quite an interesting premise and some unusual characters, some of whom were well developed, but there was far too much description of scenery etc. Also the resolution was too glib to be satisfying. But overall, a nice story.
Rachel
Aug 28, 2015 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2013, 2015
Second reading in Aug 2015: I'm so fascinated by her insights into personality, especially sensitive and introverted types. Good stuff.
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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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“In a world where thrushes sing and willow trees are golden in the spring, boredom should have been included among the seven deadly sins.” 33 likes
“The way God squandered Himself had always hurt her; and annoyed her too. The sky full of wings and only the shepherds awake. That golden voice speaking and only a few fishermen there to hear; and perhaps some of the words He spoke carried away on the wind or lost in the sound of the waves lapping against the side of the boat. A thousand blossoms shimmering over the orchard, each a world of wonder all to itself, and then the whole thing blown away on a southwest gale as though the delicate little worlds were of no value at all. Well, of all the spendthrifts, she would think and then pull herself up. It was not for her to criticize the ways of Almighty God; if He liked to go to all that trouble over the snowflakes, millions and millions of them, their intricate patterns too small to be seen by human eyes, and melting as soon as made, that was His affair and not hers. All she could do about it was to catch in her window, and save from entire waste, as much of the squandered beauty as she could.” 4 likes
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