THE BATTLE OF THE VILLA FIORITA by Rumer Godden

THE BATTLE OF THE VILLA FIORITA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Here is a novel that must be reviewed on two levels:- first as a beautiful and sensitive work of fiction; secondly as an approach to a moral and ethical issue with conclusions indicated that some readers will challenge. Rumer Godden's unique quality as a creative writer is evidenced once again, along with her rare ability to fathom the intricacies of the child personality, for this after all is fundamentally the story of children of divorce. To Hugh and Caddie their mother Fanny's desertion of her family for another man than their father could not be tolerated, and the novel opens with their arrival at the gates of the Villa Fiorita, determined to wage war against Rob Quillet and to take their mother home again. Rumer Godden's children are always a little larger than reality in their achievements, but Hugh and Caddie- particularly Caddie- come very much to life. They resist valiantly the blandishments of the Villa, the lovely Lake Garda, the resented charm of Rob Quillet -- and they use every weapon in their power to achieve their goal, even to a painful hunger strike on the part of Caddie, aided -- not too staunchly- by Rob's small daughter, Pia. Perhaps the magic of the writing, the allure of the parts as against the whole, combine to bring the reader to a somewhat reluctant acceptance of the solution of the moral issues. Perhaps there is too strong an underlying Catholic note of rationalization and no compromise to be wholly unchallenged by non-Catholic readers. Be that as it may, there is only delight in the reading experience...

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1963
Publisher: Viking