THE HEART OF THE FAMILY by Elizabeth Goudge


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This continues the story begun in The Bird In The Tree (1940) and Pilgrim's Inn (1948) and concentrates on Damerosehay to which David Eliot, after a triumphant American tour, is now returning. With him comes Sebastian Weber, whose career as a pianist had ended with the war which, to cripple him further, had robbed him of his wife and children and it is in this that his hatred-love of David breeds. Lucilla Eliot, now 91, recognizes him, comforts him and restores some of his peace: David's wife, Sally, pregnant with her third child is another touchstone and so is her daughter, Meg. It has been David's meeting with Sebastian, in New York, that turned him away from an extravagant affaire; it is a sense of need that binds David and Sebastian as employer and secretary. Sebastian finds other needs to fill- Zelle's love for Nadine's Ben, who would be a painter; the ghosts of all the children in the garden; Hilary's unconquerable faith; Sally's fear of childbirth and David's battle within himself-which call him from his sense of exile into an exhilaration of selflessness and strength to be shared. A double emergency--the birth of Sally's baby and an appendectomy for Nadine's husband-resolves the David-Sebastian situation, at the cost of the latter's life and establishes a new order for the whole brood of Eliots. The magic to mysticism in something of a stained glass window atmosphere--the discerning courtesy of thoroughbred family lines- and Goudge's own small country of enchantment found in Pilgrim's Inn, the Herb of Grace and Damerosehay--here once more for a welcoming audience.

Pub Date: Sept. 21st, 1953
Publisher: Coward-McCann