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The Greengage Summer

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Unsupervised by a mother, the children are able to wonder about and partake of many adult doings that they would normally not have witnessed, and as children so often do, they blend into the background, are discounted, and know much more than any of the adults about what is going on around them. In This House of Brede and Black Narcissus have always been my favorites, but I was totally blown away by Kingfishers Catch Fire which I read more recently. Fed up with their continuous grumbling, the mother whisks them off to France to see the battlefields hoping that some kind of an exposure and knowledge about other people’s sacrifices will open their eyes to how self-absorbed they are.

The novel sizzles with the sensuousness of French summer – the light filtering in through the canopy of lush green trees, the shimmering surroundings burnished into gold by the rays of the sun, the languor of the heat, the liquid, dreamy atmosphere inducing feelings of exhilaration and being alive. This is a fascinating coming of age story, narrated by Cecil, who, at the time of the events, is 13 years old. I also may have some duplicates which I could send you, and keep an eye out for two more Ngaio Marsh’s which are on the way. We get a hint that all is not quite on the level when Eliot says the children will "give him a reason for being there. Since I have been after you to read Godden for at least the last 50 years, I am delighted that you have finally taken the plunge.It came off, warm and smooth, into my hand I looked quickly round, but no one came, no voice scolded and, after a moment, I bit into the ripe golden flesh. They are enroute to a holiday in France’s champagne-and-greengage country when their mother is taken ill and is whisked off to hospital. the main and supporting characters were irresistibly showcased > especially the endearing five English children….

The Greengage Summer” is Rumer Godden’s tense, evocative portrait of love and deceit in the Champagne country of the Marne – which became a memorable film starring Kenneth More and Susannah York. Eliot treated Joss as the beautiful girl, he taught Cecil that every individual is beautiful, he never laughed at Willmouse and the 'littles' got all the love and affection from him. In a nutshell, The Greengage Summer is a glorious read with its evocative portrayal of summer, a meaty storyline and a cast of memorable characters. But she is a wonderful narrator, displaying the naiveté of her age, while occasional moments of astuteness shine through. In the hotel dining room Mauricette built it into marvellous pyramids on dessert plates laid with vine leaves.

There are French passages, but I found, even with only my schoolbook French (and that very long ago) to fall back upon, I could follow the French conversation almost as well as the English. The young ones find a willing guide, companion, and protector in charming Englishman Eliot, a longtime resident at Les Oeillets and Mlle. And, amongst the gnarled trees of the old orchards, thirteen-year-old Cecil watches from the side lines as her achingly beautiful sister, Joss, is drawn into the heart of a toxic affair. In the first pages, Joss, the oldest girl, and her sister Cecil, the book’s narrator, are reminiscing with their Uncle William about that fateful summer.

The exotic food, delectable pastries, sparkling champagne and various others sights, sounds and smells dazzle Cecil and Joss, it is such a stark contrast to the dullness of their English existence.I forced myself to pick this up before August ended because I knew it'd be a perfect summer read (and it was! A mysterious man named Eliot becomes the unofficial guardian - and sometimes friend and ally - to the children.

She sits in between adulthood and childhood this summer, in a very similar way to Leo in The Go-Between. The Greengage Summer is Rumer Godden’s tense, evocative portrait of love and deceit in the Champagne region of provincial France, which became a memorable film starring Kenneth More and Susannah York. I also love the way Rumer weaved in Uncle William's commentary (whose every line, along with Willmouse, made me laugh - like when he introduces himself to the detectives with "My name is Bullock. The early part of the film, when the relationship between More and the children is developing, is particularly charming and pleasantly staged.The Greengage Summer is a gorgeous coming-of-age tale of love, deceit and new experiences, a beguiling mix of light and darkness set in the luxurious champagne region of France. In this 1958 novel by Rumer Godden (one of those once well-known authors that I’d never heard of before I started hanging out online with GR friends who love older books), five English children, ages 5 to 16, are taken by their mother to France for an educational vacation - touring the battlefields of France so they’ll have more appreciation for the sacrifices of others. Most of the time, she is 13-year-old Cecil (short for Cecilia, I think, though Godden never says) Grey telling what happened to her brother, her sisters and herself that summer while their mother was in hospital. Eliot catches Paul and gets Zisi to fire him, but Joss's 13-year-old sister Hester ( Jane Asher) has taken a liking to Paul and begs Joss to get Eliot to reconsider, which he does.

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