Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The Blue Hills

My ILL edition
The Blue Hills, by Elizabeth Goudge (also known as Henrietta's House)

This is another book in the Torminster world, which begins with City of Bells and continues with Sister of the Angels.  As far as I know, none of the Torminster books are in print, which is a great pity and somebody should fix it.  This story is another one that is almost, but not quite, a children's story, and it has the same cast of main characters, with Henrietta and Hugh Anthony in the middle of a crowd of others.  Torminster is a fictional version of Wells in Somerset.

Hugh Anthony is home for the summer, and it's his birthday.  He wants to have a picnic up in the hills, and invites all the nicer old folks that he knows, having been surrounded by other boys for too long.   Each member of the party is asked what their birthday wish is, and they mostly wish for improbable things...and yet as the members of the party all get lost on the way to the picnic, each of their wishes comes true.

Much of the story has to do with the history around the patron saint of Torminster Cathedral, Saint Hugh, who was a local swineherd with a very exciting legend around him.  (I checked; Wells' patron saint is Andrew.  Not a swineherd.)  The legend, involving robbers and monks, pigs and angels, seems very improbable and has never been proved, but some people wish to find out more.

It is an enchanting fairy tale adventure that is one of my favorite kinds of literature, and not easy to come by.  If you have a copy, you are very lucky!

(I got this book through ILL.  I was going to buy a used copy, because I'm trying to collect Goudge, but even the 1970s pocket paperback costs about $40.  Thus MY wish is for the Torminster books to come back into print!  I don't have any of them.)


Lory said...

Henrietta's House, Sister of the Angels and The Valley of Song were all reprinted by Girls Gone By, but they went out of print very quickly. They should be reprinted! You can request that through this link:

And I don't know why A City of Bells was not included when Hendrickson started their series of reprints some years ago. It's up there on my favorites too. They seem to have stopped producing more titles but maybe it's worth giving them a poke?

I stumbled on a copy in a library sale years ago, one of my best finds ever. Good luck with your searching...

Jean said...

Thanks, Lory, I didn't even know about Girls Gone By! I emailed them requesting reprints. I asked Hendrickson if they were going to print any more titles, and they said no; I gather they don't have the rights or something. Sigh.

Joy Weese Moll said...

That sounds delightful! I'm not sure how I'd get my hands on a copy, though. A long trip to the UK to peruse used book stores and sales...