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The Rosemary Tree

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  396 Ratings  ·  48 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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Apr 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: light-reading
Too bad the cover of this book makes it look like a romance. It is a wonderful story of the healing of power of grace and kindness. Initially everyone in the story is terribly unhappy, but as several take the lead in returning good for evil, their lives are slowly transformed. This is one of Goudge's most Christian novels (other than The Dean's Watch) yet it offers no sappy answers to life's problems. If anything, it shows the high cost of loving and forgiving.

Beautifully written with many layer
Apr 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Today is the anniversary of Elizabeth Goudge's birth.

I inherited a love of her writing from my mother. I remember her recommending a few authors when I progressed from the junior to the adult library, and others over the years since them; but now, as I look back, I think that it is her recommendation of Elizabeth Goudge that says much about the woman she was and is.

The two of them shared a faith; a love of home, family, and the world around them; a belief that lives could be changed for the bett
Apr 29, 2010 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
Oct 04, 2011 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.
Apr 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
The Rosemary Tree a family drama set in a Devonshire village in the 1950s. The focus is on the Wentworth family. John Wentworth is the vicar of Bellemaray. He is a good man, but he struggles to be a good priest and a good husband to his proud, critical wife and a good father to his three children, one of which is being bullied at school. When one day a stranger stumbles into the village he becomes a catalyst for change which leads to reconciliation and forgiveness.

This story was infused with Ch
Feb 19, 2015 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."
The sort of book that makes you want to be a better person. The sort of book that deserves a careful, slow reading. Truly beautiful.
Oct 23, 2009 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
Mary Coons
May 26, 2014 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
Aug 03, 2011 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
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.
Aug 04, 2010 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."
Karlyne Landrum
Aug 06, 2009 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.
Jul 26, 2012 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.
Pam P
Oct 19, 2009 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.
Carolyn Hill
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a re-read after many years for me, and I find it a difficult book to review. Unless one is acquainted with Elizabeth Goudge's writing, this book may seem too old-fashioned, too slow, too spiritual, or even too literary. However, I find it captivating. Goudge compassionately creates such humanly flawed characters that you feel you recognize them. At the center of this novel is the Wentworth family. John is the vicar of the village of Belmaray. Though he has inherited the manor, he allows ...more
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A charming story of an unworldly vicar, his discontented wife, and his three young daughters. The vicar is clumsy, forgetful, and feels he is a failure. The wife feels overworked and undervalued. The girls are unhappy in their horrible school that their mother insists they attend instead of the village school. The vicar's former nanny, now aged and very disabled with arthritis, lives with them and eventually dispenses enough wisdom to help them straighten out. The vicar's great-aunt lives in the ...more
I love Goudge's children's books, but this is the first of her books for adults that I've read. It's recognisably by the same hand: lyrical prose about birds and gardens, characters called Henrietta and Maria, people finding their place to recover from the trials of the world. It's a simple story, more a series of wonderfully observed character studies as events slowly unfurl around them. Beautiful as it is, I did feel there was rather a lot of it, and when characters say things such as "I have ...more
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started reading Elizabeth Goudge because I read somewhere that she was comparable to George MacDonald. This book was very thought-provoking, and tackled deep issues and emotions. The author obviously planned this book well, with minor characters tying the beginning and end together, as well as the climax. I feel as though I've met these characters and have much in common with them. I'd like to be able to sit in their parlor and share tea. I highly recommend this book, but it needs to be read s ...more
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't love this quite as much as my favourite Elizabeth Goudge Damerosehay trilogy, but it still had the essential wonderful characteristics of her books. For me those are her insightful portrayals of children; in this book the glorious Winkle, sensitive Margaret and hard-headed Pat. I also particularly enjoy her descriptions of nature and the seasons and in 'The Rosemary Tree', these weaved around the transitions of the main characters. Our 'hero' Michael arrives with the daffodils, heraldin ...more
Jul 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Goudge tackles redemption here, and does it with her usual heart and style.
Aug 08, 2013 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 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 philosophical/the
Jan 19, 2013 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
Bridget Blanton
Oct 22, 2014 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
Jan 18, 2015 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
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education
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 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.

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.
Jordan Mohondro
This wasn't a bad book, but it wasn't a great book either. Well written with like able characters and a sweet story. It's got a very specific air about it. Kind of like walking through a park. Something you occasionally like doing, but not something that's daily. Very easy read, but nothing special.
Jun 05, 2014 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!'
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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.” 44 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.” 5 likes
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