China Court: The Hours of a Country House

China Court The Hours of a Country House For than half a century Rumer Godden has been known as one of the finest and subtlest writers of our day Saturday Review Now one of her most endearing classics is being reissued for a new generation

  • Title: China Court: The Hours of a Country House
  • Author: Rumer Godden
  • ISBN: 9780688117221
  • Page: 287
  • Format: Paperback
  • China Court: The Hours of a Country House

    For than half a century, Rumer Godden has been known as one of the finest and subtlest writers of our day Saturday Review Now one of her most endearing classics is being reissued for a new generation of readers China Court is the story of the hours and days of a country house in Cornwall and five generations of the family who inhabited it.

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      Published :2019-02-11T09:54:06+00:00

    One thought on “China Court: The Hours of a Country House

    1. Richard Derus

      Rating: 3.875* of fiveWhen I was a youngster, my mother had a lot of books from the 1930s to the 1960s on her shelves. I was allowed to roam freely among them, because she said that if I was old enough to want to read something, I should be able to do so.As one can imagine, the large majority of a mother's bookshelf wasn't all that appealing to a young boyTaylor Caldwell, Mary Lasswell, Anya Seton, Kathleen Winsor, and Rumer Godden were all well-represented. I called them, collectively, "snoozer [...]

    2. Sira

      I loved this book except for the final two pages. The last scene felt out of place and a bit upsetting after such a beautiful story. I would have given the full five stars if it had ended with the wedding.

    3. Stephanie

      If you're the kind of person who froths at the mouth whenever you see a beautiful home being torn town to make room for condos, you need to read China Court. It's the story of a young girl's efforts to save her grandmother's home in the Cornish countryside. There's a bit of time travel involved with this book; Godden skips between generations to show everything the home has witnessed over the years. And while this can be confusing, it's a technique that ultimately pays off. The resolution to thi [...]

    4. Ange H

      No review/did not finish.I couldn't even give this my "50 page" test. China Court is written in the stream-of-consciousness style that I dislike the most: the author believes it's artistic and literary to throw characters and sentences and images randomly on the page, with no introduction, chronology, or context; and it is my job to figure out what the hell is going on. I'm very disappointed because if I was able to locate the story, it would probably be something I would enjoy.

    5. Theresa

      I really enjoyed this novel of life in an English country house throughout five generations. Although the characters at first were confusing (the author jumps around with time periods and you have to keep your head together while reading), I became enamored of the main character, Ripsie, pretty quickly.Ripsie is a young 'waif', a poor village child who cannot stop gazing in through the gates of China House. Soon she becomes playmates with the children who live there, although the class distincti [...]

    6. Jenni Ogden

      Rumer Godden was born in England in 1907. She grew up in India and returned to England as an adult, dying in Scotland in 1998. It is a mystery to me why I didn’t discover her long ago. As with so many good authors, she was recommended by a literary friend. As she said, Godden’s book China Court (first published in 1960) is the best example of the use of flashbacks in a novel that she has ever read. How I agree. China Court is a big—but not grand—house in Cornwall and this is the story of [...]

    7. Kirsty

      China Court is part of a newly reissued series of Godden’s novels, printed by Virago. This particular novel is dedicated to the famous English poet John Betjeman, and was first published in the early 1960s. It tells the tale of the Quin family, who have been inhabitants of a large house named China Court for several generations.Tracy Quin, the daughter of a film star, is the youngest member of the Quin family. She has been brought up on various film sets around the world, and has finally tried [...]

    8. Jeanette

      Mine was a yellow paged oldie, with taped binding and a thick rubber band holding the ILL tags and the hardcover (supplemented with repair thickness)intact and flat. I was surprised they sent this book through the transport van system as it needed gentle. But I'm glad they did.And it wasn't long- maybe about 25 pages- that I remembered I had read it before. Many, many, many years ago. But I remembered John Henry and Ripsy very well. And I read it again, and enjoyed it again.Lots of layers and ra [...]

    9. Patricia

      The weird wedding with its shrew(!?)-taming ending made me howl with indignation. It may reflect its times, but that argument always strikes me as a wee bit patronizing of the sensibilities of the past. It's a very surprizing ending, given Godden's sympathy with characters who chafe against the way their lives are limited. Even though some of the characters were caricatures, there were some interesting portraits, and the concept of a house full of the echoes of its families was engaging. What I [...]

    10. JulieDurnell

      I really struggled with this book at first, but once you become familiar with the family and servants, and the generational hopscotch writing, the story slowly draws you in. Thankfully my copy had the family tree on both ends of the book, which I referred to frequently! Mrs. Quin and her granddaughter Tracy are my favorite characters in a most unusual telling of life in an English country house over a century ago.

    11. Virginia

      Rumer Godden’s China Court: The Hours of a Country House is a lyrical novel that has one nuanced character—the court (or house) itself. This Cornish estate has been passed through five generations of family members. The main action unfolds over the course of a few days when the matriarch of the family, Mrs. Quin (Ripsie), dies and her children and grandchild are confronted with her surprising will. However, Godden continually flashes back to moments in the lives of past and present family me [...]

    12. Marigold

      This was a re-read. I was looking for something on my bookshelf & came across this, which I originally read as a teenager, having stolen it off my mom's shelf! If you like Downton Abbey you'll probably like this book. This is the story of five generations of an upper middle class English family who live in a country house, & over the more modern generations it becomes increasingly neglected, but Tracy - the descendant of all these generations - is determined to save it. This is really ni [...]

    13. Holly A. Woodruff

      Painful to readThis book is such a mishmash that I don't know where to start. There are a lot of characters, and the author calls them by different names so I was never sure who was who. For example, Mrs. Quin is Ripsie as a girl and maybe a teen and maybe a young woman, but never are there dates so you have no idea of the sequence of events. The time frame jumps literally from one sentence to the next without warning. The "current" events - at least as best I can tell - are written in a past te [...]

    14. Abbey

      BOTTOM LINE: Excellent family saga novel, with the various eras all mixed together, at first disconcerting but ultimately absorbing. Wonderful stuff, very old-fashioned and rather sweetly predictable. There's enough family history in this one medium-sized novel (304 pages) to compare it favorably with others in the genre that are gorgeous multi-book reads albeit enormously longer (i.e Forsyte Saga, Jalna series). Ostensibly it concerns the matriarch of an upper-middle-class British family and he [...]

    15. Mary Frances

      This book, while not one of Godden's best, is intersting and engrossing. It weaves together three time lines and three women, all living at different times in one house, China Court. Godden has a distinctive voice and style, and was very popular in the first half of the 20th century, and her stuff, if you can find it, is worth a look. Some members of my work book club loved it , some hated it. I myself recommend one of my favorite Godden books: In This House of Brede,The Battle of the Villa Fior [...]

    16. Gloria

      So my mother tried to get me to read Rumer Godden for years, and I don't know why I resisted seeing as I'm usually won over by anything set in an English country house (maybe it was because I was a teenager - though hardly a rebellious one). After my local library thoroughly disappointed me by not stocking Dorothy Sayers so I could re-read her and get my Lord Peter fix, I decided to give Godden a try. This book was engrossing, but something about it left me cold. Maybe it was the very odd ending [...]

    17. Constant Reader

      Beautifully written book about a house and the generation that lived in it. A reminder that life is what we make it. It is a little slow in places but worth sticking through.

    18. Kmystraveler

      I’ve read four of Godden’s books so far, and she has hooked me. She is a great storyteller- not always a great writer. This book is story telling book, but if you love that aspect of Godden-you’ll enjoy this book. Her more popular books have wonderful pacing and tight prose. All may be placid now, but underneath there is a cauldron ready to boil over. This book has a little drama, but most of the impact had to do with emotional reveals of the main characters: What events in the house shape [...]

    19. Mary Alice

      Rumer Godden is one of MY authors. She was with me in my childhood with her doll stories, and her very different tales have entertained, and even instructed, me through the years. This is absolutely one of her best books. It is a multi-generational saga with the same type of structure as One Hundred Years of Solitude, but without so much mysticism, symbolism and mystery and with a different kind of magic. It's a bit more accessible to the common man. It's not just the story of people, it is a st [...]

    20. Sherry H

      One of my all-time favorite novels is In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden, so I thought I’d give China Court a try.This novel is tricky. There is a “current” story-line, about a death, a family coming together, a funeral, reading of the will, and so on, which is told linearly. But as the entire novel is told from the perspective of the home (China Court), and the home doesn’t seem to recognize time, the current plot is mixed in with generations of memories about this family (and the s [...]

    21. Susan

      This book took a little more concentration than usual, but overall I enjoyed it. The story skips back and forth over three generations of the Quin family, and it was sometimes confusing. Luckily there was a family tree at the beginning of the book, to which I made frequent reference! The hardest part was figuring out which "Mrs Quin" was being referenced, since there were three of them (actually more than three, but the three matriarchs were the only referenced that way.). A lot of characters, b [...]

    22. MaryCallahan

      This book was not what I expected. I enjoyed it to a point but it is written in stream of conscience and jumps around quite a bit as minds do. As a consequence it is a bit hard to keep the many characters straight. Those characters are quite interesting none the less which keeps things moving. As I read I kept thinking of Faulkner's As I Lay Dying which was another book which was difficult for me to follow until "I got it." then it was fun Maybe China court needs another read.Godden was at one p [...]

    23. Annette

      I love rambling family sagas, especially those set in England; so this book did not disappoint on that front. Other reviewers have been critical of the rambling, time-shifting narrative, but I enjoyed the novel's structure, and bought into the author's assertion that meeting a large family takes time to distinguish who is who. To me, the entire family was revealed much as one peels the layers of an onion. I am critical, however, of the ending -- not only was it jarring (and disturbing), it felt [...]

    24. Debi Levins

      This book has everything for me. It will rank as a comfort read, much like "Pilgrim's Inn" by Elizabeth Goudge. It will be the book I re-read when I'm blue, or need to step away from the way this world has become. It's hard to describe China Court. In some respects, it's a very emotional book, otherwise it is a story about the love of a house and the love between a grandmother and granddaughter and the deep understanding between them. Well worth the read, well worth the time spent longing for th [...]

    25. Liketothelark

      A very enjoyable read. You grow into it--there are so many characters and generations to keep track of. But by the end you know the generations as if they were of your own. I love the way she very carefully and precisely reverses the tenses of the story, and interweaves the tales so they give rise to each other on the spur of a scent or the movement of muslin. Interwoven even into the sentences themselves. The generations are present to and in each other beyond death.

    26. Linda

      This was described as a multi-generational book, and technically it was, but it jumped around a lot and I am really not sure what it was about. The main narrater was telling images from her life, but I never really felt like I connected with her. It was many little bits of life in a house in England.

    27. Verity W

      I'm still not sure what I think of this. It took me ages to get into it, but then when I did, I wanted to keep reading and find out what had happened. And yet, at the end, I still wasn't sure what I thought. Odd. Not as satisfying as the big old family novels like the Cazalets, but more substantial than a normal saga. Strange.

    28. Tracey

      I like Rumer Godden and had decided to read a few of her books over the year. This one however, did not impress me. It was written in 'stream of consciousness' style and I did not enjoy it. Also the story was somewhat predictable and uninteresting.

    29. Sonia

      The author brilliantly weaves the past and present as she jumps back and forth through a hundred years of the family living at China Court. By the time the book ends, you know each character. The ending wasn't expected (this behavior is unacceptable today).

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