Linnets and Valerians

My copy's cover, which I like
Linnets and Valerians, by Elizabeth Goudge

For Elizabeth Goudge Day a couple of weeks ago, I got into the mood to re-read Linnets and Valerians, which is really my favorite of her children's books I have read (there are several I haven't).  It reminds me very much of an E. Nesbit story!  For one thing, there are four siblings in 1912 whose father is going out to India; a very familiar setup.

Nan, Robert, Timothy, and Betsy Linnet are staying with their very stern grandmother while their father is gone, but it isn't working out at all.  Pretty soon, Robert decides that they must all simply run away and leads them out on an expedition.  Luckily for them, they meet up with a grumpy, elderly gentleman who turns out to be their own uncle, and he agrees to keep them.  It soon becomes evident that although the area is mostly idyllic, there are a few nasty folks on the scene too.  The children's adventures lead them all over the hills and into the answer to an old and tragic mystery.

Goudge's characteristic love of nature and favorite theme of redemption for all are both on full display here, with a fairly large dollop of magic added.  The people are all beautifully characterized and distinct, and there are a lot of bees, which I always enjoy.  This is just a lovely book to read.  I can't say I love the current book cover on Amazon, but it is available and on Kindle too.


  1. Agh, I am always so sad that Elizabeth Goudge doesn't work for me. The people who love her really love her, and I have never not gotten bored with her books. Is this the one, or is it The Little White Horse, where the teenager marries the old guy? I remember being annoyed about that. :p

  2. The cover of the Godine edition is my favorite! I only wish they would have done an illustrated version along the lines of their Anne of Green Gables, which is lovely.

  3. Jenny, Nan does marry Francis when she's 18 and he's older, but considering he spent years as a hermit with no memory or voice, I give it a pass. I have no memory of what happens with the Little White Horse.

    I've never seen the illustrations you mention, Lory. I love Anne, so I might have to go look. :)

  4. I like the cover of your copy, too. Seems perfect for spring going into summer reading.


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