The Ten Gifts

I found this lovely book in an equally lovely and tranquil bookshop in Castlemaine, and it proved the perfect companion to a peaceful seaside holiday. (I should point out that while Sorrento, the town where we spent a few nights, is anything but peaceful this time of year*, the flat where we stayed was beautifully serene, with a sea breeze and a big view out over the water.)

The Ten Gifts is an anthology of Elizabeth Goudge, focusing on her novels for adults, and while there were some extracts I'd read before, there were many I had not. Inevitably this involved spoilers of several plot-lines -- maybe this is why anthologies like this aren't too popular! -- but since I don't read Goudge for the storylines, that doesn't matter much.

The anthology was divided into ten sections, 'Love', 'Courage', 'Tranquillity' etcetera, but many of the pieces chosen could have slotted into more than one category. Most were wise, many were reflective, some amusing, and a few, alas, were very dated. I read them in a dreamy, meditative state, almost like praying, over the three days of our holiday, and relaxed and refreshed my mind and my spirit just as much as my body.

Most important, this book alerted me to the novels of Elizabeth Goudge that I'm most curious to read next -- The Scent of Water, The White Witch -- once my book-buying-ban is over! (Maybe I should start a list...)

* Among the teeming hordes, we came across Western Bulldog celebrities Mitch Wallis AND Peter Gordon!

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