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The Innocents
Margery Sharp
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The Innocents

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  85 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Margery Sharp’s most poignant novel, set during World War II and filled with her trademark wit and warmth, tells the story of the powerful bond forged between a British spinster and the unusual little girl left in her care

As the threat of war looms, Cecilia and Rab Guthrie leave their young daughter, Antoinette, with a spinster friend in East Anglia, England, so they can
Hardcover, 0 pages
Published June 1st 1972 by Little Brown & Company
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Nov 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-reading
I have loved many of Margery Sharp’s books for many different reasons and, though I could argue with myself for a long time over the question, I think that if I had to pick just one favourite, one book to take with me to a desert island, it would be ‘The Innocents’.

I read it twice and each time I didn’t write about it, because I wasn’t sure that I could find the words to do it justice. And now I’ve read it for a third time, and I know that I must start to write, because this book is so special a
Apr 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
In this old-fashioned but engaging story, a middle-aged English woman takes temporary charge of a small child for American friends who are on their way to the Continent. When World War II breaks out, they must return home without their daughter, who is what used to be called “an innocent”. The narrator devotes herself to the child, but when the mother finally returns to claim her daughter, things get sticky, and in the end, the reader is left with the question of who are the real “innocents” of ...more
This slim novel, originally published in 1972 and recently reissued, is an unsentimental and thought-provoking story of an unnamed narrator (spinster, Vicar's daughter, living in East Anglia) and the child she lovingly cares for during WWII. The child, Antoinette, has an undefined developmental difference and a beautiful mother who seems to want, or expect, a different daughter than the one she has. I'll be thinking about this one for a while.
Linda K
Oct 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Antoinette is an "innocent", a retarded child, left with an older woman in a small English town after her parents are forced back to New York at the beginning of World War II.

She does not speak but slowly says a very few words as she develops a closeness with her foster mother. After the war her mother arrives, to what she calls, "collect" the child. She has never understood her daughter to be retarded and in her social whirl, does not have time to consider it, believing that she can make neces
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
As the grandfather of a special needs child, I look at novels with special needs kids in them with both appreciation and a critical eye.

In this quiet but somehow nerve-wracking novel, Margery Sharp handles this issue deftly, and relieves the tension at the end in a particularly understated, eccentric way. The protagonist of this novel is a no-nonsense single woman living in a small village in East Anglia, where everyone knows everyone else, and where there is a tradition of accepting differences
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I want to BE Margery Sharp when I grow up. Wait, she's dead. Damn. At least she left me a legacy twenty-six novels, not to mention her marvelous Rescuers saga. And this one, The Innocents, is perfection. It's a total sucker-punch of a story, in spite of the large warning sign Sharp puts right on the first page. The heroine, a Miss Marple-ish old pussycat, turns out to have a delightful bit of tiger in her. Sharp lulls the reader with Agatha Christie-like descriptions of English village life, dra ...more
Little Red Readinghood
Warm hearted novel about a spinster raising a challenged child in England during WW2. Love how she accepts the child for who she is and builds on that. This is in sharp contrast to the
mother who has delusions about the child.
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A character-driven gem that shows the relationship between a damaged little girl, the woman whose patience and love allow her to flower, and the girl’s self-involved mother. The final scene is one of the greatest endings I’ve ever read.
Jenn Estepp
Of the Sharp books that I've read, this is definitely my least favorite. It also seems to be one of the slighter ones. I'm glad I read it, but I doubt that it's one I'd recommend.
Jan 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story is narrated by an ageing spinster who lives happily in a small village in East Anglia. She has lived her whole life in this village, which has a wonderfully relaxed and tolerant attitude to their neighbours. Our narrator introduces us to Cecilia the village beauty – who for a long time seemed to have little time for the men who mooned after her, but who suddenly up and married a visiting Scottish millionaire, who now lived in America.

Just before the outbreak of the Second World War Cec
Aug 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Another brilliant novel by Margery and what an ending. She made it fairly obvious early on what the ending would be but not how that ending would come about.
I highly recommend this book.
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Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of her best stories.
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Margery Sharp was born Clara Margery Melita Sharp in Salisbury. She spent part of her childhood in Malta.

Sharp wrote 26 novels, 14 children's stories, 4 plays, 2 mysteries and many short stories. She is best known for her series of children's books about a little white mouse named Miss Bianca and her companion, Bernard. Two Disney films have been made based on them, called The Rescuers and The Res
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