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Start by marking “The Peacock Spring” as Want to Read:​ Margaret Rumer Godden was born in Sussex, but grew up in India, in Narayanganj.​ Godden wrote novels, poetry, plays, biographies, and books for children.
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It's a brilliant book, there are a couple of mentions of 'The Winter's Tale' which make me think I should read that play again.

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It also felt like a coming of age book about India as well as in the life of a teenage girl which I really liked. I loved this one Vicki, it felt quite profound, I always find Godden entertaining but everything came together in this one in a way that felt extra special. After a whole pile of trashy romances reading something where a happy ending wasn't the whole purpose of.


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This book doesn't have what you could really call a happy ending sorry if that's a spoiler, but a for a book that's been around since I don't feel bad about giving away spoilers. I think most of the Rumer Godden I've read has been from earlier in her career, and though there was nothing particularly specific to tie this one to the 's it still felt very much like a book from the later part of the 20th century rather than the middle part.

Curiously the plot is based on an incident from an earlier part of her life.

Pre war Godden had run a dance school in India where she had been unusual for accepting Eurasian pupils, amongst the students there were two English girls accompanied by a Eurasian governess between whom Godden sensed a certain amount of tension, there seems to have been gossip about the girls wandering around the bazaar unaccompanied and eventually it transpired that the older girl had fallen pregnant after a relationship with one of her fathers servants.

This is basically the plot to ' The Peacock Spring '; Una and Hal Gwithiam have been pulled out of school in England to live with their respictivley widowed, and divorced father in Delhi, he's something quite grand in the united nations and although the girls and their father have always been close they sense that there's something not quite straight about this move. When they arrive they find that the governess they've been provided with is a stunningly beautiful Eurasian women - Alix Lamont - about whom there are whispers and suspicions. Her characterisations were deep and complex, and this was a story of real fallible people.

Even Miss Lamont, who could be considered the villain of the piece, was a woman who could make me feel care and concern. In contrast, Hem was lovely. He was a little older and wider than his friend, his advice was almost invariably ignored, but he would remain the truest and most thoughtful of friends to both Ravi and Una. The prose is rich and evocative; the attention to detail is exactly right; but above all this is a human drama, and that drama felt so real that I might have been looking into the lives of people who really lived and breathed for a short but significant spell in their lives.

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It sounds like there is quite a lot of herself in this one. I shall look out for it. Like Like. Rumer Godden was such a wonderful writer. I really liked this book.

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My absolute favorites are the Battle of the Villa Fiorita and the Greengage Summer but this one comes a close third. She is so good at capturing a story from the viewpoint of children or teenagers.

Great review! I read this one a very long time ago, when I read everything by Godden I could get my hands on. I think her literary fortunes suffered because she was writing about India when colonialism was ending and the zeitgeist was demanding that only Indians could write about India. Like Liked by 1 person. I hope to read this book. Many many moons ago, as a teenager I had seen a film sand I was heartbroken by the ending.

I now realize it was a novel by Rummer Godden…. Black Narcissus By Rumer Godden. Seller assumes all responsibility for this listing. Item specifics Condition: Good : A book that has been read but is in good condition. Very minimal damage to the cover including scuff marks, but no holes or tears.

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The dust jacket for hard covers may not be included. Binding has minimal wear.


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  • The majority of pages are undamaged with minimal creasing or tearing, minimal pencil underlining of text, no highlighting of text, no writing in margins. No missing pages.

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