callmemadam (callmemadam) wrote,
callmemadam
callmemadam

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The Herb of Grace




I have an on-off relationship with Elizabeth Goudge. Some of her books, like Henrietta's House I can read anytime; others, like Valley of Song, I can't read at all. I was looking for an escapist, happy read and I picked The Herb of Grace (1948), the second of three books about the Eliot family. It's just as wonderful as I remembered it; I don't think anyone did slightly magical comfort better. It's set in Hampshire, near Buckler’s Hard and is about two houses: Damerosehay, presided over by Lucilla, and The Herb of Grace, an old pilgrim inn or Maison Dieu. (I think this was published in the US as Pilgrim Inn?) The house is a character in itself, a place of healing for members of the large Eliot family and for those who visit it. The beautiful old inn and the lovely countryside nearby are lyrically described; this must have been just what people wanted after the war. It's still utterly delightful today for those in the right mood for it, as I was.
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