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The White Witch by Elizabeth Goudge
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The White Witch (original 1958; edition 1973)

by Elizabeth Goudge

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317581,024 (3.73)31
The White Witch is a story set at the time of the beginning of the English Civil War and the men and women drawn into it on both sides. Robert Haslewood, the local squire turns puritan and follows his boyhood hero to war leaving his children and wife behind him. His cousin Froniga, half gypsy and the White Witch of the title, a wise woman with the power of healing lives in danger. Her gypsy cousins sometimes camp near her but will always move on. They have befriended Yomen, who conceals a grand past but is now a tinker and royalist spy. He loves the puritan Froniga. A journey man painter, Francis, delights in painting the Haslewood children while spying too for the royalist cause. Their lives entwine until the bloodiness of war forces them to be loyal to their side whatever their personal ties, threatening to destroy friendships and humanity and kindness in the process.… (more)
Member:jjmcgaffey
Title:The White Witch
Authors:Elizabeth Goudge
Info:Pyramid (1973), Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Your library, Currently reading, Working on, BOMBs
Rating:
Tags:Fic, FicGen, __scan_cover, !dunno

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The White Witch by Elizabeth Goudge (1958)

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Showing 5 of 5
This book, the last Goudge book I plan on reading, typifies what I dislike about her. A banal, feel good, all good things are God mix. Her obvious dislike of an ordered Christian life comes through very strongly in this book. There is no such thing as white" magic and Goudge refuses to acknowledge that. In her world there is God, "good spirits" and "bad spirits", 3 sources, not just 2. Her sentimental blather about children, nature, love, and life itself really got on my nerves. I couldn't recommend this to anyone." ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
Elizabeth Goudge isn't for everyone; if you want a fast paced plot, lots of action, don't bother opening this book ( see some of the other reviews for what happens). But what I love about Elizabeth Goudge is that she recreates a world for you - something she has done before in the City of Bells, the series with the Eliots, Green Dolphin Street, etc. My favorite book of hers is the Scent of Water. In all of her books, what some people describe is pages and pages of plodding on and on are what she uses to pull you back into the time and place she is recreating. If you allow yourself to fall into these pages, you can be the children in the woods meeting the gypsy for the first time - you can know every path and every garden and delve deep into the souls of all these people. This book was life changing for me as a teenager, when I first read it over 40 years ago. I had no idea that herbs and flowers had uses, and so started studying them and using them and so have been blessed by Elizabeth for pointing me in that direction. I have read this book many times in the last forty years - probably at least ten to twelve times, and each time get something new out of it. to me the English civil war was a mystery and a pain to memorize all the dates in high school when we studied it. with this book, you come to understand the people going through it - and it ceases to be just dates in history, but an expose of all ages who have radical differences of opinion on religion who think they must force others into believing what they do.

There is unbelievable depth to this book; most of Ms. Goudge's work has this - layers upon layers of story and meaning. The characters are worthy of emulation, and one can learn even from the most exasperating of them. I highly recommend this book, but then I have been a fan of hers since I was 10 years old and read Pilgrims Inn. ( )
3 vote pausanias | Feb 24, 2012 |
The White Witch is set at the beginning of the Civil War, when family and religious loyalties are severly tested. As with all her books, it is not really the events that concern the author, but the spiritual trials her characters suffer as a result, and the ways in which they meet those trials. Although she has a tendancy to the mawkish at times, and a rather sentimental view of the past, I am very fond of Elizabeth Goudge. Her books, with their examination of what is good and bad in the human soul (in the fact that they acknowledge the human soul!) are an excellent antidote to the modern popular novel that tends to value self-expression/esteem/obsession/ ishness. In this book, and any of her others, you will find people who are made to confront themselves as they truly are - naked in the eyes of God. It is love, gentleness and selflessness that are the 'must haves' in Goudge's books. Although there is an undeniable sentimentality about her storytelling, there is a firm underlay of thoughtful spirituality and a remarkable challenge to our casual, material, 'self as God' world. ( )
3 vote Goldengrove | Feb 10, 2009 |
The White Witch is set in the English countryside in the year 1642, when the Puritans (representing the interests of Parliament) were starting to oppose the king militarily. The relationships are all rather complicated... rather too complicated to bother outlining here. Perhaps the problem is that the relationships and characters didn't really grab me. It was... *yawn*.

While Goudge's style wasn't, as I had been warned, overly sweet, I would call this book "doughy." It felt like it was taking forever to get through, not because it was hard to read, but because it was just so slow-moving. Goudge pads her writing so heavily with long and pointless descriptions. Long descriptions don't bother me unless they're doughy and tasteless, and that's how these are, at least though the first half of the book. (No, I did not finish the book. Just couldn't summon the moral courage to start another slog through it after the initial read.) I couldn't get past the feeling of trying to run underwater. The prose impedes me.

So, one star for trying, and for one lovely raisin of a phrase ("candle of conjecture") amidst the dough. Otherwise, not worth checking out. ( )
2 vote atimco | Nov 16, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Goudgeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Berritz, SabineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Two children stood gazing at the world over their garden gate.
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The White Witch is a story set at the time of the beginning of the English Civil War and the men and women drawn into it on both sides. Robert Haslewood, the local squire turns puritan and follows his boyhood hero to war leaving his children and wife behind him. His cousin Froniga, half gypsy and the White Witch of the title, a wise woman with the power of healing lives in danger. Her gypsy cousins sometimes camp near her but will always move on. They have befriended Yomen, who conceals a grand past but is now a tinker and royalist spy. He loves the puritan Froniga. A journey man painter, Francis, delights in painting the Haslewood children while spying too for the royalist cause. Their lives entwine until the bloodiness of war forces them to be loyal to their side whatever their personal ties, threatening to destroy friendships and humanity and kindness in the process.

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Set in 17th-century England, when Cavaliers struggle with Puritans to keep the throne safe for King Charles 1st.

The wise and gentle Froniga Haslewood, is caught between two worlds. Divided between her Puritan family at the Oxfordshire village's manor house and her relatives in the Gypsy community, she works using her skill in healing to help those in need. Her cousin Robert , a local squire, is gripped by the prospect of war. Following his boyhood hero, he leaves his family and travels away to fight for the Parliamentarian cause. While his wife Margaret and their twin children wait in the manor house for news about him. Left behind with her brother, Robert's daughter Jenny grows up under the shadow of conflict, until she encounters mysterious royalist Francis Leyland. While Froniga's gypsy cousins sometimes camp near her, and have befriended Yomen, who conceals a grand past, but is now a tinker and royalist spy. The women must choose between family loyalty and their own heart. As their lives entwine, the villagers struggle to stay true to their beliefs as war threatens to tear their community apart.
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