Friday, November 8, 2013

The Palace in the Garden  - 1887
Mrs. Molesworth
314 pages
genre  -  Young Adult
my rating  -  4 out of 5 stars

Three orphan siblings get a tremendous surprise one morning when their grandfather announces that he is closing up their London home.  Grandpapa will live at his club, and Tib (age 11), Gussie (age 10) and Gerald (age 7) will move out to the countryside to live in a cottage by the name of 'Rosebuds'.

Gerald says, "I don't like cottages with roses growing over them.  There are always witches living in cottages like that, in the fairy tales.  There is in Snow-white and Rose-red."

Grandpapa gives them three rules that they must obey.
       1 - Do not make any friends.
       2 - Do not go into other people's houses.
       3 - Do not chatter to strangers.

In the gardens around the lovely cottage, the children find a locked door in a garden wall. Gussie has found a mystery.

I can't decide which line is my favorite, so you're going to get both:

"If [Tib] were going to write a story, she would make it like poetry, very difficult to understand, and awfully long words, and lots about feelings and sorrow and mysteries."

"We can't help our minds wondering - they're made to wonder."

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It was very well written.  I completely understand why the author was called "the Jane Austen of the nursery".   In Agatha Christie's book Postern of Fate, Tommy and Tuppence say that two of Molesworth's books to be their childhood favorites.             

About the author  -

Mary Louisa Stewart was born on 29th of May, 1839, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.  She was a daughter of Charles Augustus Stewart and Agnes Janet Wilson. Mary had three brothers and two sisters.

She was educated in Great Britain and Switzerland, though much of her girlhood was spent in Manchester, England. In 1861 she married Major R. Molesworth; they separated legally in 1879.

Molesworth is best known as a writer of books for the young.  She also took an interest in supernatural fiction. In 1888, she published a collection of supernatural tales under the title Four Ghost Stories, and in 1896 a similar collection of six tales under the title Uncanny Stories.

Molesworth died in 1921 and is buried in Brompton Cemetery, London.

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