Controversy Over The Rosemary Tree Rumbles On

Controversy Over The Rosemary Tree Rumbles On

Martha Dayton

Dear Ms. Gaudin,

I have spent a very enjoyable hour reading the articles posted on the Elizabeth Goudge site. I am very appreciative of all the work that you have gone to, and am thankful for your efforts.

The work of Miss Goudge has meant a great deal to me, and I find myself rereading her works often, especially in moments of difficulty or when I need to have my own attitude of life expressed in her incredible language. Being a woman of faith, I am grateful for someone who can (with such naturalness!) convey intellectually and without that contrived, embarrassed, self-conscious air that so many authors have when introducing and explaining the normal haunting of God in their lives.

I do not find her plots and attitude to life saccharine or sweet – on the contrary, they seem to have much more in common with my own experience than much of what I read, or see on the television. I was introduced to her work by our county librarian, who recommended the Damerosehay trilogy as “a wonderful, feel-good read”, which is a great summing up. Booksellers that I have enquired for titles from have asked questions, saying that their patrons recommended her work as extremely well written, but usually do not know much beyond “Green Dolphin Street”. I have given my battered extra copies of her work away to friends, apologizing for their condition, but unable to obtain better, all the while haunting the second-hand stalls looking for hard-bound copies.

The recent controversy, involving the plagiarizing of her work by the Hindi author and the (embarrassing for them) gushing review of the pirated novel in the New York Times, would warrant an article on your site. Especially as, when printing their retraction when the plagiarism was discovered, the newspaper suggested in print that “perhaps the novels of Elizabeth Goudge would warrant a second look”. The language in those original reviews rightly belongs to Elizabeth Goudge.


Martha Dayton
Placerville, California



  1. Goudge enthusiasts might be interested in my 2020 article on “The Rosemary Tree”, ePublished at
    In the article I explore the Christian faith and prayer in the novel, as well as the love and sexuality, the despair balanced by the humour, and the existential issues of selfishness and selflessness.
    The article searches for the “moral” of the multi-stranded story, with no clear “hero” or “heroine”, but with satisfactory conclusions for most of the ensemble cast of characters.
    I also explore the many literary and Christian allusions and quotes that result in the novel functioning as a thoughtfully constructed collage.
    The article includes full versions, or substantial excerpts from the authors and sources the novel alludes to.

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