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China Court: The Hours of a Country House by…
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China Court: The Hours of a Country House (1960)

by Rumer Godden

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
I was intrigued by the characters and muddled chronology of this novel - Rumer Godden writes beautifully - but not enough to stop me from abandoning the book midway through for weeks! If the hopping, skipping and jumping back and forth through four generations of the Quin family of China Court in Cornwall wasn't so mesmerising, I would almost be one of those readers who complains that the story would be better written in a linear timeline!

Tracy Quin, a starlet's daughter living in America, returns to Cornwall upon the death of her beloved gran, keen to rediscover China Court - and find out what will happen to the family house now. From the wonderfully named Adza to Lady Patrick and her sons Borowis and John Henry, who finally married 'his' Ripsie, Tracy's grandmother, the narrative weaves wonderfully in and out over a hundred and some years. Some characters worked better for me than others - I love the penny-pinching Eliza, with her collection of rare books - but I was satisfied by the outcome of the story. If there's one thing I hate, it's families arguing over wills! Well, no - I was almost satisfied - what the hell was that last chapter with Peter and Tracy?

A slow burner, well worth the meandering journey - even if the occasional diversion is required! ( )
  AdonisGuilfoyle | Jun 14, 2017 |
I have just re-read this multi-generational story. I love the atmosphere Rumer Godden evokes here, whether it's Victorian or the 1960s. But why oh why does Peter St Omer have to hit Tracy on their wedding night? It seems to have been accepted in the mid 20thC even by intelligent writers like Mrs Godden, that it was somehow ok for women to be slapped around "for their own good", as if accepting this were a proof of their love for their men, or as if their ladylike inhibitions could be broken down in no other way. No doubt it was accepted as the psychological "truth" of its time, but it is so repellent. It does mar the ending severely for me.
1 vote PollyMoore3 | Sep 13, 2016 |
Too depressing. ( )
  picardyrose | Aug 16, 2011 |
The writing is exquisite; the multi-viewpoint narrave flows from a memory to a memory via the fleeting associations we all are familiar with from our own mental life. The feel of the writing is totally modern without being contrived. The modern supporting characters are a bit caricaturish, but they serve a purpose. The main characters are complex and deep, and they are revealed to have unexpected facets all the time. Definitely great. ( )
1 vote ari.joki | Jan 5, 2011 |
I'm a Godden fan so I knew I would like China Court, but I was surprised to find I loved it. Despite not being Catholic myself, I find the cultural associations with Catholicism to be appealing and so the plot line with the Book of Hours kept me engrossed in this story. Like others have observed, it feels very contrived at times, but it wasn't enough to keep me from finishing the book. ( )
1 vote unabridgedchick | Jul 25, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Godden, Rumerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Salter, GeorgeCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For John Betjeman
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Old Mrs. Quin died in her sleep in the early hours of an August morning.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Tracy Quinn, daughter of a screen star and raised on film sets around the world, returns to her adored family home, a country house named China Court. Her grandmother's recent death has set in motion events that threaten Tracy's future and the very existence of China Court. As Tracy fights to save the old house, inhabited by five generations of Quinns, the ancestors who created it are evoked: profligate, faithless Jared; Eliza, the embittered spinster; and Ripsie, an outcast orphan who rose to become the powerful matriarch.
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