I was drawn to this novel because I enjoyed The Little White Horse so much as a child. It has some points of contact with that delightful children's book - a fondness for domestic detail, a humane appreciation for very different kinds of people, an infectious enthusiasm for both wild landscapes and gardens, and a strongly Christian sensibility.
Green Dolphin Country is set in the nineteenth century, and the novel's starting point is a favoured Victorian pattern - two heroines (sisters), one dark and passionate, one blonde and gentle. Goudge avoids clichés, and makes both heroines sympathetic in their own ways. Both are in love with the same man, weak-willed but kind-hearted William, and this love triangle is eventually turned into a kind of parallelogram with the arrival of `Tai Haruru' an Englishman who has become accepted by the Maoris.
Although it's not a racy novel (even by 1944 standards) in some ways it's oddly edgy in its exploration of a series of complex relationships between lovers, friends and relatives. It's a consistently good read, covering (literally) a lot of territory, and encompassing many different moods - domestic comedy, romance, melodrama, "boys' own" type adventure and mysticism. In some ways I felt the novel could be seen as a response to Gone with the Wind, with character types and scenarios rejigged with some new twists. I was also reminded of some of Daphne du Maurier's novels - The Loving Spirit for example. I would imagine that anyone who enjoyed such books would love Green Dolphin Country.