Vincent Desjardins's Reviews > Mistress Masham's Repose

Mistress Masham's Repose by T.H. White
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's review
May 06, 2014

really liked it
bookshelves: children-s-and-young-adult, fantasy-children

The premise of Mistress Masham’s Repose is a clever one - the travels of Lemuel Gulliver described in Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels” actually took place and that Lilliputians, captured on a later expedition, have escaped and have been hiding out on a rundown English estate where, for over a century, they have managed to avoid detection by living inside of a garden folly. Their secret comes close to being exposed when they are discovered by Maria, a young girl living on her ancestor’s estate. For me, the best parts of the book were in White’s descriptions of how the tiny Lilliputians are forced to cope in a land of gigantic threats. The writing is often somewhat dense, but White shines in describing the foibles of his characters. The character of Maria is not always likable but White uses her to show how a little power can corrupt even a person with the best of intentions. As is often the case, the villains of the story are somewhat more interesting and White has created a devious pair in the characters of Maria’s governess, Miss Brown and Mr. Hater, a greedy Vicar. There is a lot of suspense created when these two conniving schemers discover the existence of the Lilliputians and plot ways to make a fortune off of them. They even discuss murdering Maria if it should become necessary to achieve their gains. White fills the book with doses of English humor (which may go over the heads of some younger readers) and frequently goes off on rather esoteric tangents, which I felt slowed down the narrative. If it weren’t for these esoteric and wordy asides, I probably would have given this book 5 stars. All in all, it’s an enjoyable read, especially if you’re in the mood for a story rooted in a classic of English literature. If you are able, make sure and find an edition that contains the fantastic illustrations by Fritz Eichenberg. His amazing pen and ink work perfectly captures the humor and drama in White's story.
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Reading Progress

May 6, 2014 – Started Reading
May 6, 2014 – Shelved
May 6, 2014 –
page 97
May 8, 2014 –
page 172
May 11, 2014 –
page 228
May 12, 2014 – Finished Reading
May 13, 2014 –
page 255
May 13, 2014 – Shelved as: children-s-and-young-adult
May 13, 2014 – Shelved as: fantasy-children

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