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Mistress Masham's Repose
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I think this is a wonderful book. I first read it many years ago and have loved it ever since, and I am delighted to see it reissued. It is a terrific adventure which is wise, humane and very funny indeed in places.

The plot revolves around Maria, a shy and lonely girl in a decaying mansion, who discovers a group of Lilliputians living on an island in the lake in the mansion's grounds. There are some terrifically bad baddies in the governess and the vicar and a fabulous pair of good allies in the cook and a magnificently scatty but amazingly erudite retired professor who lives on the estate. As with White's much better known The Once And Future King, the adventure story is beautifully told, extremely involving and contains all manner of nuggets of knowledge and wisdom - for example, Maria has to come to terms with being able to force these tiny people to do what she wants, and there are some very important ideas about the responsibilities of power within the story.

I cannot resist quoting one of my favourite passages, spoken by the professor:
"As we all know, I am a failure in the world. I do not rule people, nor deceive them for the sake of power, nor try to swindle their livelihood into my own possession. I say to them: Please go freely on your way, and I will do my best to follow mine. Well then Maria, although this is not a fashionable way of going on, nor even a successful one, it is a thing which I believe in - that people must not tyrannize, nor try to be great because they are little. My dear, you are a great person yourself, in any case, and you do not need to lord it over others, in order to prove your greatness."

I love this book. It is a terrific romp in which villany is confounded in the end, but which also has real substance. I think intelligent readers of all ages would enjoy this hugely, and I recommend it very warmly indeed.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 2012
Picked this up as a result of hearing it reviewed on 'A Good Read' on Radio 4. It's wonderful but I'm not sure of the exact audience that White was writing for. Children will happily identify with the feisty, clever, resourceful and put-upon heroine Maria and will happily send up whistles, shouts and boos when the appalling Miss Brown and conniving vicar, Mr Raper, appear. They will probably coo and tweet at the appearance of Maria's allies - Cook and the Professor.
However, it demands a lot of its younger readers. There are difficult and obscure words - 'quincunx' appears early on. Mr White goes into some detail about the political, sociological and economic underpinnings of the exiled Lilliputian community which Maria encounters on Mistress Masham's Repose.
'Older' younger readers could benefit hugely from this but the younger ones might find it a little baffling. I would set the bar at twelve-year olds to read this on their own but I am sure younger children would love to have it read to them.
I think White designed this as a story to be read aloud for all the family.
Settle in before your hearth on a long winters night and indulge yourselves in some great entertainment !
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2013
A community of tiny little 6 inch high people living on thier own island, with tiny little cows and sheep, befriended by an orphan girl living in a crumbling mansion with her cruel governess! Luckily she has a helpful friend in the classically educated and extremely eccentric professor who lives nearby and the dog who lives in the kitchen with his pet, the cook. The tiny 6 inch high schoolteacher also proves to be intrepid and together they triumph (I don't think this is too much of a spoiler!)

I wish I'd read this book as a child but it's fabulous for adults as well, there are loads of jokes I wouldn't have got as a child, I absolutely love it.
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on 16 December 2013
Bought it for a nine-year-old girl - I read it several years ago and loved it - I'm a big fan of T H White's - but on re-reading it, I think it might be a little difficult for the child. But five stars for my enjoyment - and the little girl is very bright and I am sure will enjoy it when she is a little older
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on 28 November 2013
This was one of my absolute, top favourite books as a child. Re-reading it, almost forty years later, I could still recite several passages, almost by heart.
Quality writing!
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on 23 February 2015
Playful, witty, exciting and unpredictable. I wish I'd discovered this book when I was 13; I would have read and reread it over again.
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on 11 July 2014
Beautifully written, of its period. A good read, I liked it very much.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 22 April 2013
This one's a bit on the long side, but an original idea. If you've read his other work you have to read this one.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 12 January 2014
will let you know when i get to the end I'm finding it a bit of a plod fhough sorry
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 6 September 2014
it's okay
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