CHINA COURT; The House of a Country House by Rumer Godden
Kirkus Star

CHINA COURT; The House of a Country House

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The only work of Rumer Godden's that seems even kin to this new novel is Take Three Tenses, published in 1945, in which she played a fugue in time, past, present and future. Now again in China Court her story weaves the rich tapestry of a place and a family, back and forth for five generations, until at the close the pattern is complete. It is an intricate story, set in a strange medieval frame of the Hours of the Day; the characters are infinite, it seems, though gradually they take shape. But two stand out- Old Mrs. Quin, who as Ripsie had been the unwanted waif to whom China Court was a dream world; and her granddaughter, Tracy, who held the love of China Court to her heart in the years when her American mother took her far away --and who came back to fill in the final piece in the pattern. It is a story that embraces much of England's social history. It has the rare illusive charm, the flashes of wit, the sometimes cruel penetration of character that is Rumer Godden. To the reading, the reader must bring a sensitivity and a kind of patience; the end result is richly rewarding. As a dual selection with Graham Greene's A Burnt-Out Case for March, this may introduce her to some new audiences. Those of us who have eagerly seized on each book since Black Narcissus need no enticement.

Publisher: Viking