14/06/2003

City of Bells (by Elizabeth Goudge)

I do like Elizabeth Goudge's writing. It's gentle, reflective, and with some incredible insights into people's motivations. Her characters are always believable and well-drawn, too, although the plots tend to be a bit rambling and less important.

'City of Bells' is about Jocelyn, who has a bad leg and is weary after the Boer War. He comes to Torminster to live with his grandparents.

Jocelyn is quickly caught up in the peaceful community of the town, and finds himself opening a bookshop. He mets his cousin Hugh Anthony and his grandfather's ward Henrietta - who later stars in the children's book 'Henrietta's House' - and the delightful actress Felicity.

Jocelyn also becomes intrigued by Ferranti, who previously lived in his house.

The people are all delightful and realistic, and while the book has no major plot, there are many gentle subplots which intertwine nicely, and a charming ending.

Recommended, if you like a slow-moving but enjoyable novel of this style. Out of print, but often available second-hand.

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