Wednesday, the 25th of August, and time for Shelf Control once again! Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. To participate, simply pick a book from your TBR pile, and write a post about it–what its about, why you want to read it, when you got it, and such. If you participate, don’t forget to link back to Lisa’s page, and do also leave your links in the comments below as I’d love to check out your picks as well!

Today my pick is from another author that I’ve been meaning to read for a while but still haven’t gotten down to, Rumer Godden, and the book is An Episode of Sparrows. Margaret Rumer Godden or Rumer Godden was an English author, born in Eastbourne, Sussex. She grew up, however, in Narayanganj (now in Bangladesh), where her father worked as an executive in a shipping company. Her education (back home in England as was customary then) was interrupted by the First World War but resumed in 1920, and she trained as a dance teacher. She opened and ran a dance school in Calcutta in 1925, for about 20 years, and during this period also started her writing career including her first best selling work, Black Narsciccus (1939). She wrote both fiction and non-fiction, and books for both children and adults. A number of her works are set in India. In 1993 she was appointed an OBE.

An Episode of Sparrows (1955) is described as a novel much like A Secret Garden. In the book, Miss Angela Chesney of the Garden Committee finds buckets of soil taken from a private garden and believes a gang of boys from Catford Street to be responsible. But her sister Olivia, doesn’t not think so. But neither Olivia nor Angela can imagine why anyone would want the soil. In fact, little Lovejoy Mason, the neighbourhood waif, and (later) her friends are planting a small garden in a wrecked churchyard filled with rubble from the Blitz…

This sounds like a really charming read, somehow reminding me from its description of a poem I read, ‘A City Sandpile’ (post here) about the joy that a left over pile of sand brings to little city children who have never been to a beach or are likely to get any opportunity to go there. This book sounds like a similar situation for a group of working-class children who have access to few beautiful places, making an attempt to create a little space of their own. Since the book is compared to A Secret Garden, I’m hoping in the story their garden will work some magic for them and bring them the joy their life lacks.

Have you read this one? Or any other titles by Godden? Which one/s and how did you like them? Looking forward to your thoughts and recommendations!

Book and author info, also cover image from Goodreads and Wikipedia, as always.

Lisa’s pick this week is a family saga with a bit of a mystery, As Close To Us As Breathing by Elizabeth Poliner.

10 thoughts on “Shelf Control #148: An Episode of Sparrows by Rumer Godden

    1. Me neither so far but both my mom and a friend have loved her books including The Doll’s House and Miss Happiness and Miss Flower so I’ve been meaning to try something by her for ages.


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