Though her life may have been modest and quiet, Elizabeth Goudge’s writings are far from that. In boldness, hope, and vividness her novels paint pictures of normal people who struggle with conflicts that we too battle on a daily basis. Goudge’s flowing writing and wise insights spattered throughout her books are like gold nuggets for her readers to find. This quote from Our Own Country, a blog post on Elizabeth Goudge’s Green Dolphin Street, lightly touches upon these ideas: “Goudge, in her ever-illuminating, imaginative, and beautifully delicate writing, seemed to reach out and touch me somewhere sensitive in my heart.” Goudge’s wisdom and appreciation for every aspect of life guides her readers toward the same mindset; before we know it she infuses our hearts with joy and thankfulness for the little things—a stormy afternoon, the waves crashing against the shore, a flourishing garden—as well as the big things—family, romantic love, spirituality.
Here are some more lovely words taken from several thoughtful bloggers on the impact of Goudge’s writing:
“This afternoon, when the orthodontist’s waiting room faded away and the little English village of Appleshaw formed around me, and the house with the green door, and Queen Mab’s hazelnut-sized coach in the collection of ‘little things,’ I knew I’d remembered how to breathe again.” ~Melissa Wiley on The Scent of Water
“The immanence of God is beautifully depicted in this quiet story of quiet lives against an eternal backdrop.” ~Janet Goodrich on The Scent of Water, Across the Page
“I stayed up late every night for a week absolutely gripped by [The Rosemary Tree]. I didn’t rush through it—it’s far too good for that—but I read it every spare moment. …Goudge depicts the world as it is, with that deep undercurrent of the supernatural and poetry that this world has.” ~Suzannah Rowntree on The Rosemary Tree, Vintage Novels
“She recognizes a spiritual element in beauty of any form, whether manmade or natural, and looks for it in her characters. If there’s the tiniest grain, she will find it, and so her books are imbued with joy.” ~Jodie Roberts on The Rosemary Tree, Geranium Cat’s Bookshelf
“Why not pick up one of Elizabeth Goudge’s books? She will challenge you even as she transports you to a gentler time of village life in England.” ~Amy Boucher Pye on The Scent of Water
“What I appreciate about her is the honesty of her writing; I never have the feeling that she’s playing for effect or trying to bamboozle her readers. When her characters are people of faith, it is because it is an inseparable part of their being, one that is explored in complex and sensitive ways.” ~Lory, The Emerald City Book Review
“Why do I like Elizabeth Goudge? Her books draw me into another world. They are imbued with a sense of God and the wonder of his creation, salvation and providence. They spur me on to self-denying love, courage in suffering, faithfulness in relationships, discipline in obedience, and joy in God’s world.” and “I finish her novels with quotes and ideas I want to reflect on further and with that little sigh of regret that comes at the end of a good book.” ~Jean Williams on The Dean’s Watch, In All Honesty
“There is such benevolence in this book that reading it is like drinking a glass of spring water on a hot parched day. The prose is kind, drawing in your senses and filling you with the beauty of an England that is at once long vanished and yet is eternal.” ~Viv Tuffnell on The Scent of Water, Zen and the Art of Tightrope Walking
“Sometimes you run into a book that has to be savored. The Dean’s Watch, by Elizabeth Goudge, is such a book.” ~Hannah Long on The Dean’s Watch, Longish
For more information about Goudge’s individual novels, visit Hendrickson’s website.
It is with joy and thankfulness that all of us can celebrate Goudge’s inspirational novels. Happy 116th Birthday Elizabeth Goudge!