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The Greengage Summer

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The faded elegance of Les Oeillets, with its bullet-scarred staircase and serene garden bounded by high walls; Eliot, the charming Englishman who ... Show synopsis

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Overall customer rating: 5.000
majenta

"It's a fairy-tale day."

by majenta on Sep 16, 2010

Even if you've seen the movie (LOSS OF INNOCENCE, 1961), don't skip reading the book! You'll miss a very special experience. Joss (Joanna), Cecil, Hester, Wilmouse (William, like his uncle), and Vicky (Victoria) Grey live in Southstone, England with their mother full-time while their botanist father's expeditions last years at a time. The year the siblings are 16, 13, 10, 7, and 4, Mother decides that what they need most is to tour war cemeteries in France. Just before they get there Mother becomes very ill, so the youngsters have to get her to the hospital and check themselves into their chosen hotel, whose name is the French for "carnations." The proprietor won't accept unchaperoned minors at first, but her gentleman friend, Eliot, vouches for them. She still doesn't really want them around, especially once Eliot gets a good look at Joss. Joss was also sidelined by illness for their first few days, but one evening she comes down all dressed up for supper, and Eliot just flips! (As do other men who see her.) Maybe Cecil wishes he'd notice her. But she controls herself better than Mademoiselle Zizi does....right?.... (Zizi: are you up on your French slang? "Zizi" is...well, quite the nickname!) There's a lot of French language, but most of it is translated or explained. You shouldn't have any trouble enjoying the wonderful atmosphere Godden creates.

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