December 5, 2017 @ 9:52 am | Filed under: Books
Thornyhold by Mary Stewart. Who was it who just mentioned this lovely novel somewhere? Lesley, was it you? It certainly has a Wild Simplicity flavor…Gilly’s lonely childhood and her godmother’s store of nature lore and mystery put me in mind of Wise Child, which is praise of the highest order. I’m only a few chapters in; Gilly (now in her twenties) has just arrived at the old house in the woods that is to be hers. I’ve not even set foot through the door yet.
“A good house, deep in the woods, with a garden all around it and a river flowing past it. Fruit trees, and flowers planted for the bees. A place to grow my herbs. Silence in winter, and in summer nothing but the birds…”
See what I mean? You might expect Juniper to come round the corner of the house at any minute. Also it’s impossible not to hear in that passage an echo of my favorite poem. Geillis’s house might not be of clay and wattles made, but certainly midnight’s all a glimmer there,
…and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
Have to dash off to Salem for the day. One day, peace may come dropping slow into my life, but this is not that day. 😉
Heads up: Madeleine L’Engle’s The Irrational Season is $1.99 on Kindle right now. This is the only one of her Crosswicks Journals I haven’t read yet. A Circle of Quiet is one of my ’Portant Books (to adapt a long-ago Beanism).
July 6, 2012 @ 7:11 pm | Filed under: Books
What I’m reading: Colman by Monica Furlong. Sequel to Wise Child. Picks up right where that one left off. (Juniper was written in between, but takes place before the events of Wise Child.) Enjoying it so far, though I miss the wonderful white house with its herb garden and uncanny cats. Not as much as Juniper does, I daresay. As always, Furlong’s imagery is vivid and compelling: the tor and the hazel tree, the Cave of the Mermaids, the blackened walls of the conquered palace, the weary fields.
What are you reading right now? (All the better to torment myself with when it comes time to choose the next book.)
“After breakfast,” she went on, “you must have a look at Daisy and the rest of the garden. Then we’d better do some lessons.”
“In magic?” I asked. I was both curious and scared.
“I thought we’d begin with reading, writing, astronomy, fairy stories—that kind of thing. Later on we’ll do a bit of Latin.”
“Girls don’t learn Latin,” I told her. “It unfits them for marriage.” (I was quoting my Uncle Gregor’s views on the education of girls.) “And I never heard of a school that taught fairy tales.”
“All learned people learn Latin,” she said. “It’s bound to come in useful. Fairy tales, on the other hand, are about real life.”
—from Wise Child by Monica Furlong
I first read Wise Child in 1993—I remember because my boss at Random House was Monica Furlong’s editor on Robin’s Country, and everyone there said ‘Oh you’ve got to read her other books, they’re wonderful,’ and they were right. That was before I had children, before I’d ever heard of homeschooling, much less considered doing it. So I’m amused, now, to find that what I’ve been doing all along is really Juniper’s version of education. Minus the good cow, Daisy.
(Also wonderful: Juniper, a prequel to Wise Child.)