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Friday, May 6, 2011

Review - Elizabeth von Arnim's ELIZABETH AND HER GERMAN GARDEN

The book I received was a win from Martha. A very plain cover and a smallish book of just over 80 pages and my pet peeve a smallish font.

I had read several reviews of books from this author and they impressed me and this author went on to my to be read list - of course with books like this it could be years before I get to it, but sometimes as luck would have it I win the most unexpected books and that of course is a godsend.

This particular story was very interesting to me personally as we just bought a country property in what we call in Sri Lanka the up country meaning a much cooler climate than the tropical, humid streets of Colombo. I felt very much at home reading the book and the writers idealistic views of her garden, not just the layout but how it will eventually look because I am falling into the same category of endlessly dreaming of how my garden is going to eventually look.

Back to the story - it is actually a memoir set in a period of April to May and it is not a diary indicating strictly what happens on that date but just an indication of how life is almost drifting by in the most pleasant way. The story set in Germany deals with a house (very little of household matters and only on the periphery as it were) but mainly the garden and how Elizabeth would like to garden, how she would like it to eventually look, and most importantly the peace and tranquility that she gets from just being in the garden.

The funny part of the book was that Elizabeth did not get down and dirty in her garden. It was not the done thing for ladies of her station to do anything like digging, manuring and planting and everything had to be only instructed and supervised with the result that there was a lot of disappointments when things were not done well.

Descriptions of spring and summer - the beginning of the planting season, and how Elizabeth envisioned her garden - always positive, always beautiful was uplifting. There is also a beautiful description of the frozen winter and even at this time of the year Elizabeth's description of the garden and the forest beyond (14 miles of pine forest must be something very vivid) is beautifully told in the story.

The easy going pace of Elizabeth's life - her love for her children but not a clingy mother - she was quite dispassionate about each child which was honest and funny at the same time, her relationship with people of her little village, and her easy going relationship with her husband described always as The Master of Wrath made for a light read.

Enjoyed this book.


Blodeuedd said...

Good that you could read it even with the small font, I do not like that either

Darlene said...

This sounds like a wonderful story although I wouldn't be able to make it through with a small font. Glad you could and that you enjoyed it.

Harvee said...

A good book to read in a garden! I can understand Elizabeth's obsession with her garden. I also get upset with small fonts and/or pale print.

Enjoy your upcountry refuge!