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Elizabeth and her German Garden [Kindle Edition]

Elizabeth von Arnim
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £4.29
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Book Description

This unique edition of Elizabeth and her German Garden from Dead Dodo Vintage includes the full original text as well as exclusive features not available in other editions.

Elizabeth von Arnim (31 August 1866 – 9 February 1941), born Mary Annette Beauchamp, was an Australian-born British novelist. Von Arnim's literary career began with Elizabeth and Her German Garden in 1898.
The semi-autobiographical novel written about a rural idyll became a highly successful book which was subsequently reprinted twenty-one times within its first year. This witty and sarcastic novel has kept the attention of readers for over a century, and once you read this title for the first time, you will be unable to stop rereading it for many years to come.

The story is a year's diary written by the protagonist Elizabeth about her experiences learning gardening and interacting with her friends. It includes commentary on the beauty of nature and on society, but is primarily humorous due to Elizabeth's frequent mistakes and her idiosyncratic outlook on life.

She looked down upon the frivolous fashions of her time writing “I believe all needlework and dressmaking is of the devil, designed to keep women from study.”

The book is the first in a series about the same character. It is noteworthy for being published without a named author.

Product Description


An extraordinary work ... idyllic (ELIZABETH JANE HOWARD)

A gem of a book: rare, simple, innocent and charming. I was captivated (SUSAN HILL, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING)

Elizabeth von Arnim is a mistress of irony (LISA ST AUBIN DE TERAN)

She has a wild sense of comedy and a vision - continually thwarted though it was - of potential happiness (PENELOPE MORTIMER)


'A gem of a book: rare, simple, innocent and charming. I was captivated'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 625 KB
  • Print Length: 121 pages
  • Publisher: Dead Dodo Vintage (1 Aug. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00EDWB244
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #47,579 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly modern memoirs of Edwardian author 4 Dec. 2003
By A Customer
To me, this is much the best of Von Arnim's writing. Describing the joys and tribulations of a young English woman marrying a German aristocrat she centres on the haphazard creation of her garden and the activities of her children in an examination of European mores.

Her tone is anything but dusty. A top-selling author of her day she seems to have more in common with - the best - Sunday newspaper columnists of today than with her contemporaries. She battles both with chauvanism and the demands of running a country house which threaten to quell her free-wheeling attitude to life, in a style as fresh as it was at the turn of the century.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An original voice 2 Dec. 2008
This tale, which recounts Elizabeth Von Arnim's discovery of the joys of gardening in the remote German countryside, is a real breath of fresh air. Von Arnim married young to a much older German aristocrat and found herself in an alien and elite world which reeks of dryness and dust - a captive world. Clearly a free spirit, and an unconventional character, it is facinating to read of Von Arnim's liberation through the rebellious act of creating her garden. However, the story is not just about the garden. It also offers up Von Arnim's wonderful, razor sharp, and somewhat wicked observations of the stultifying aristocratic set in which she finds herself. I love, in particular, the descriptions of her almost comedically chauvinistic husband, who she laughs both with and at. Although a snob herself, and somewhat arrogant, Von Arnim recognises her own failings and is quite happy to puncture her own bubble, which helps keep the reader on her side. Her fiercely independent (for her time) nature, rapier like wit and keen intelligence are refreshing to encounter in this very well written book. Von Arnim was a successful author in her time and I think it is time her books were re-discovered by a modern audience.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous! 25 May 1999
By A Customer
Elizabeth and her German Garden is a joy: aspiring Gertude Jekylls may not find the horticultural tips they are looking for, but anybody who delights in communing with the earth in their own little corner of half-tamed nature, whilst blithely ignoring the pressures of family and day-to-day life, will find a kindred spirit in Elizabeth.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charming and witty- wonderful escapist reading 14 May 2012
By Nicola F (Nic) TOP 500 REVIEWER
What a beautiful book. I'm on a bit of a `Virago' kick at the moment and this was another wonderful find for me. Von Arnim's writing is eloquent as well as being witty and I love her astute observations of not only the world around her, but society in general at that time.

Set in the remote German countryside and told in a diarised format, this is the story of a year in the development of Elizabeth's garden, and how she seeks solace in it to escape from her dull marriage to the incredibly chauvinistic `Man of Wrath.' She flouts convention somewhat as within society at that time, gardening was not the `done' thing for women of her class, though unfortunately she is not permitted to do any of the work herself and employs a gardener to carry out the most mundane of her tasks, much to her frustration. We learn of her mistakes and her triumphs as she nurtures and establishes her garden and really get a sense of the kind of person she is.

Von Arnim is an author with many interesting facets to her character- on one hand she can be very self-deprecating and conveys a real sense of loneliness and isolation, then on the other she practically pushes away those people who *do* try to get close to her with her razor sharp tongue. I found it particularly poignant that her only real friends seem to be her plants- it grew quite saddening at times and I really felt for her. Then again, with a husband like hers, it was no surprise that she sought solace in her garden and in trying to create beauty somewhere else as I get the impression that she wasn't particularly loved by him.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Qintessential Von Arnim charm 19 May 2013
By Hiatus
Don't come to this book for gardening advice, nor even a clear idea of what a garden should be, because this is precisely what Elizabeth is trying to work out for herself, directly in conflict with the traditions and values of Baltic gardeners on great estates. Elizabeth, herself, is a bit of a flowering in the dull and rigid social mores of German noblility. The stark contrast between how she wishes to live (chicken salad in the garden) and the heavy formality of provincial life is played out in this delightful book which, given its near lack of plot, is barely a novel. If you want to read something that will make you really smile and deeply sumpathise with the central character, then this is the book for you. If you are looking for something more suspenseful and plot driven, don't pick this up until you are ready to be delighted.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A women after my own heart. 23 Jan. 2014
This is a book about so much more than a garden. It begins with the young wife and mother rhapsodising about being alone(apart from a servant or two of course) and neglecting her family duties. Elizabeth charmingly resents any intrusion into her private world, she is very witty about neighbours and unsolicited guests. She is wonderfully out spoken in her(what some would consider) selfishness, especially when you remember she is writing in the 1890's. It is a very self centred piece but she is still somebody I would like to know. The short introduction by Elizabeth Jane Howard gives just the right amount of background, although I would recommend reading it afterwards so that you can make up your own mind about the charms of the book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars drama that shows its age
Quite interesting
Published 1 month ago by Cats and Dragons
5.0 out of 5 stars Meet the 'man of wrath'
Haven't read this for years but it was my first Elizabeth Von Arnim novel and I went on to read every one of her brilliant books. Read more
Published 1 month ago by PatriciaBookworm
5.0 out of 5 stars What a super writer. I'm so glad kindle recommended her to ...
I've just recently discovered E con Arnim. What a super writer. I'm so glad kindle recommended her to me.
Published 2 months ago by M. Lally
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly lovely
I love Elizabeth von Arnim's books. My favourite is still 'All The Dogs of My Life' but this runs a close second. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mrs. K. A. Wheatley
3.0 out of 5 stars a bit disappointing
I loved Enchanted April (and the film is one of my all time favourites) but this not as good - the writing is still beautifully whimsical but no real story as such and the other... Read more
Published 3 months ago by R E A Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best
This is one of the best books I have every read. It describes the life of a lively and intelligent woman who loves to garden. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Helen Pemberton
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Not what I exepcted
Published 6 months ago by SusieQ
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
A very slow and dated book, but quite charming.
Published 6 months ago by L. J. B.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good
Published 7 months ago by A. Salter
4.0 out of 5 stars A BOOK OF HUMOUR AND CHARM
Published 13 months ago by Yvonne E. Hands
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