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Elizabeth Goudge Biography

(1900–84), Island Magic, A City of Bells, Towers in the Mist, Green Dolphin Country, Gentian Hill

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British novelist, born in Wells, Somerset; she studied art at Reading College. An only child, her father, Dr Henry Leighton Goudge, became Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford; her mother was a descendant of a Guernsey Norman-French family. Goudge's first novel, Island Magic (1934), set in Guernsey, was followed by many others, including A City of Bells (1936), about an imaginary cathedral city based on Wells; and Towers in the Mist (1938), set in Elizabethan Oxford. Generally regarded as her best-known novels are Green Dolphin Country (1944), set in Guernsey and nineteenth-century New Zealand, a bestseller which was filmed in 1947; Gentian Hill (1949), a love story set in nineteenth-century Devon; and The Child from the Sea (1970), about Lucy Waters, the secret wife of Charles II. The Bird in the Tree (1940), The Herb of Grace (1948), and The Heart of the Family (1953), a trilogy of novels set in Devon, chronicles the lives of the Eliots of Dameroshay. Goudge's works are distinctive in style, incorporating lyrical descriptions of landscape with detailed historical background, and reflect her deep Christian beliefs. These qualities are also evident in her children's books. She has also published short stories, books on religious themes, and The Joy of the Snow (1974), an autobiography.

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