The Rosemary Tree (by Elizabeth Goudge)

I always like reading Elizabeth Goudge's novels. They're character-driven with intriguing people, and while there's more description than I would normally like, it's usually very well-written and integral to the book.

'The Rosemary Tree' is a gentle, relaxing book revolving around the delightful - if vague - vicar, John, and his attractive but irritable wife Daphne. Their three daughters attend a 'select' school where they are unhappy, and much of the book features the resolution of this problem.

Meanwhile Michael, a visitor to the village, has a 'past' he is ashamed of. He arrives in John and Daphne's lives, and his appearance threatens to turn their world upside-down.

As the various plots interweave, the author draws excellent word pictures of each individual, with a clear understanding of temperamental differences and high sensitivity. Perhaps over-descriptive in places, but on the whole a very enjoyable read.

Like so many of Elizabeth Goudge's books, this one is now out of print, but widely available second-hand and in charity shops.

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