Friday, April 02, 2010

Towers in the Mist

Elizabeth Goudge's novel, Towers in the Mist, is a sort of historical fiction depicting a place, rather than a person. The place is Oxford, and the time is the Renaissance - during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. This book was one I chose for my reading list for 2010.

The main characters are the Leigh family: Canon Gervais Leigh, his elderly aunt, and the eight Leigh children. The events that take place in the life of the family during a year carry the story and the description of Oxford, but appearances by poets of the time (Philip Sydney, Fulke Greville, and Walter Raleigh) are dexterously woven into the main story, and a stanza or a few lines of poetry mark the beginning of each chapter. Poets whose poems are represented include Thomas Campion, Philip Sydney, Thomas Nashe, Walter Raleigh, Thomas Churchyard, Edmund Spencer, and Robert Southwell.

It was a pleasant book, and was well-written, as so many of Elizabeth Goudge's books are. However, it is not one I'll ever reread, although the poetry did get me ready for National Poetry Month and the 100 classic poems survey at Semicolon.

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