Island Magic by Elizabeth Goudge

“The little fishing boat rounded the buoy and came in sight of the Island.”

Lory at Emerald City Book Review hosted an Elizabeth Goudge Reading Week from April 24-30th and for the event, I chose to read Goudge’s first book, Island Magic. Goudge is an author that pops up here and there on different blogs and based on the reviews I’d read, I was looking forward to an enjoyable read.

It is the year 1888, and Andre du Frocq lives with his wife Rachel and their five children in the town of St. Pierre in the Channel Islands.  Their life is hard as they eke out a living on Bon Repos, the family farm, yet the love they hold for each other and the struggles they face knit them together against the odds.  However, in spite of their courage, the farm is failing and the family must find a way to survive or abandon the only life they have known.

A ship is wrecked on the treacherous rocks of La Catian Roque, and a dishevelled stranger is brought into their midst.  Will his appearance be the saviour of Bon Repos and the du Frocq’s, or will his presence be the catalyst that tears the family apart?

photo courtesy of Neil Howard
Creative Commons

Goudge’s detailed and poetic descriptions paint a story with vibrant life.  Not only does the reader become intimately familiar with the du Frocq family, their house, Bon Repos, and the village of St. Pierre become almost like characters themselves and you are left with a feeling of fellowship with not only those who live within the book’s pages but with the setting itself.  I’m firmly convinced that if I had the good fortune to visit the Channel Islands, I would be looking for the du Frocq’s and all the places they frequented without a second thought!

photo courtesy of Neil Howard
Creative Commons

Gouge has masterfully crafted a book that on the surface appears like light fiction, yet the deep psychological insight, the innate knowledge of human nature, and the paradoxes of life that Goudge explores, makes it much more than a common contemporary novel; instead it is a unique and unparalleled visit into the past which allows you to inhabit a world that is both new, yet familiar, and experience the human struggles and joys which are universal to all.

photo courtesy of Neil Howard
Creative Commons

For anyone wanting to find out more about Elizabeth Goudge, please check out The Bookwyrm’s Hoard biography post, which contains some excellent information.

10 thoughts on “Island Magic by Elizabeth Goudge

  1. Wow, amazing pictures! I would love to go to the Channel Islands, but that's not exactly a realistic dream. I do really want to read Green Dolphin Country (or Street) now, the other book Goudge set in the Channel Islands.

  2. Since I just bought Green Dolphin Country, perhaps I should give that a go, but since I inadvertently read Goudge's first book, I really would like to read her second next, which I believe is The Middle Window.

  3. It's always interesting to read authors in publication order. The Middle Window gets some mixed reviews but it was an early work after all.

  4. I have a couple of Elizabeth Gouge at home but never got around to reading them…but now I think I will….(Groan!) Like I said I really must be careful when traipsing all over your blog!!

  5. Lol! 😀 Goudge leaves you in such a lovely frame of mind, so at least it will be worth your effort. Have you ever read I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (author of 101 Dalmations)? It's a lovely book too. Sorry, I'm distracting you again, aren't I? 😉 Feel better in knowing that you're not the only one to be easily distracted. I STILL have The Awakening to continue on with, but I'm hoping that I can get to it this weekend. I need to finish my own spin book first!

  6. I haven't read this one but it sounds lovely – as are the pictures. You're right EG does leave one with a special feeling.

  7. Sigh!!! I know I am not the only one 🙂 I capture the Castle is one of the hand me down books from my Mum to me….I have it in the house and its really high on my TBR…I guess I will get to it at some point, after the Spin, the Beowulf read along, the GWTW Read Along, The Reading England and host of other such events!! 🙁

  8. I'm beginning to realize that your mum had very good taste! My mum is not a big reader but I did get a few nice books from my grandmother, including a first edition Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery. Of course, I haven't read it yet …… another book to add to the neverending TBR list!

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