Read Towers in the Mist by Elizabeth Goudge Online


Christ Church, Oxford is the location of this tale of the Leigh family, set in the days of Queen Elizabeth I.In her notes about the origin of the book Elizabeth Goudge writes: "It is impossible to live in an old city and not ask oneself continually, what was it like in ages gone by? Who were the men, women and children who lived in my home centuries ago, and what were theiChrist Church, Oxford is the location of this tale of the Leigh family, set in the days of Queen Elizabeth I.In her notes about the origin of the book Elizabeth Goudge writes: "It is impossible to live in an old city and not ask oneself continually, what was it like in ages gone by? Who were the men, women and children who lived in my home centuries ago, and what were their thoughts and actions as they lived out their lives day by day in the place where I now live mine?""Goudge brings to life a number of traditional Oxford legends. The book has that indescribable quality, charm." (B-O-T Editorial Review Board)...

Title : Towers in the Mist
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780715603635
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 376 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Towers in the Mist Reviews

  • Sarah Clarkson
    2019-04-14 06:33

    One of Goudge's wordier books, not my top favorite, but with a fun sketch of Oxford history and a lovely tour of the town as part of the story. (Having just been there, I felt it quite good.) I liked her capture of the spirit of the Elizabethan age in the way she brought a young Sidney and Raleigh to life and evoked some of the golden possibility of the time. I think book's like this add flavor to my perception of history.

  • Meg
    2019-04-16 07:20

    I might have been introduced to Elizabeth Goudge by falling in love with the Little White Horse but Towers in the Mist is my absolute favourite of her books. Oxford's early days as England's great university are brought vividly to life in a golden, magic book teeming with wonderful characters and Goudge's trademark enchanted touch. On the eve of the visit of Elizabeth 1, one family's life is touched in so many different ways; there is romance, transformation and mischief. I must have read it a gazillion times, I will continue to do so!

  • Patrice Fischer
    2019-04-19 06:21

    Although this was written in the 1930's, I wanted to read this because 1) It's about Oxford & my husband & daughter & I have all had many happy days there; 2) I read 'Green Dolphin Street' as a HS'er on a recommendation from my mother(!) & enjoyed it.It's written in a different style than what I regularly read now--more flowery & poetic than modern murder mysteries (imagine that!) so it took me a little while to slow down my reading rate. After I had adjusted my reading, it grew on me.Her story consists of a "snippet" of Oxford's history while Queen Elizabeth I had just recently been made Queen. [I was really glad that I had recently seen 'Wolf Hall' on PBS so that I was able to follow some of the historical details she brings up.] She follows (mainly) a rector's family who are part of Christ College, & yet are typical Oxford townspeople of the time. The children are very lovable as the oldest sister steps in for her dead mother to raise the youngers & run the household. Great descriptions of family life @ that time. I love that she included youthful portraits of (Sir) Walter Raleigh, Philip Sidney, & other Oxford students @ the time, plus the Duke of Essex, all of whom would go on to play major parts in QE1's reign. She also begins her chapters with examples of actual poetry written @ that time by Raleigh, Sidney, & others within her story. What a treat! I found it well worth the time I invested.

  • Janet
    2019-04-17 01:29

    I adore Elizabeth Goudge and everything she has written! A few of my favorite quotes:p. 141 "They had more star-shine in their souls than most men. It shone out of them like light of another country."p. 157 "Somehow it did not occur to her than he might not love her; she took for granted that what she gave to him he would be able to give to her; she did not know yet that out of the depth of her own nature she made demands upon others that could not be satisfied unless their depth equaled her own...To be happy. To be satisfied. To be fulfilled."p. 163 "If love for the one person in the world could be like this, a cool fragrant hiding place built round the well of life into which one could creep and be refreshed when the storms of this word became more than one could put up with..."p. 166 "Her capacity for love was large."p. 175 " keep in her sight the portals of those gates that led into the country for which she longed."p. 247 "For herself Joyeuce had not dread of death, for she was one of those anxious pilgrims who look towards it as to a resting place where there is no more need for endurance."p. 249 "She had discovered that in the long run we bear our own burdens. Others, as they pass us, can put a hand beneath them for a moment only, but they do not stop for long, and at the turn of the road the whole weight is back on our shoulders again."p. 254 "News of a far country."p. 255 "You must not grieve. There is another country."p. 260 "It's not as bad as you think. The deeper you go into pain the more certain are you that all that happens to you has an explanation and purpose. You don't know what they are but you know they are there. You don't suffer any less because of the certainty but you would rather suffer and have it than just enjoy yourself and not have it."p. 268 "It seemed that suffering of any sort made one lonely."p. 269 "As the body turns always homeward at evening when the crowds are gone, so perhaps there is a country of the spirit to which the spirit turns in desolation. Perhaps one needed to be desolate to find that country, for if one were always happy one would not bother to look for it...what was that country?...Heaven. Fairyland. The land beyond the sunset. The land above the stars where the great multitude which no man can number stand before the throne, clothed with white robes and palms in their hands. The land behind the tree trunks where Queen Mab and her fairies leave the track of their passing in flowers upon the grass. Raleigh's land where birds of white and carnation perch in tall cedar trees, where the stones are of gold and silver and rivers fall down crystal mountains with the noise of a thousand bells clanging together...They gave it so many different names, but he supposed it was the same place and that the spirits of some lucky people, saints and little children and dreamers like Raleigh, could follow the road of loneliness until they reached their home...He opened his eyes and found himself gazing straight at a blazing star. His blood tingled through his veins and he felt himself gripped by a strange excitement. Was this his star, whose face he had thought was turned away from him? Was it at last pointing upon him graciously? It shone so brightly straight into his eyes that for a moment, he put up his hand to cover them. It was surely speaking to him. It said, "come."The young man who stepped out of the porch...was no longer lonely and unhappy. HE was Saint Nicholas, the Christmas saint, come down from heaven, or Oberon kind of the fays, or a sailor sailing towards the sunset. He was caught in a fairy tale and the glory of it swept him along as though his feet were winged.p. 272 "The love of God is with man...That, Nicholas knew suddenly, is the news of the far country, the mystery like a nugget of gold that men travel so far to seek, the fact that is stated but not explained by all the pictures that have been painted and by all the music and the poetry that has been written since the dawn of the world. It was as easy as that, and as difficult."p. 285 "Grace, the boys, and the twins stared sadly and a little sullenly into the fire, for they felt that happiness was their right at this season and they could not but feel bitter against the fate that had snatched it away from them."p. 291 A love poemp. 295 "...he realized that in spite of all assertions to the contrary, it is in this world the old who must serve the young; they are wasted by them, despoiled of their riches and wisdom by them, grateful if they can win their liking and allegiance, thankful at the end to be given, as reward for their sacrifice and labors, a small portion of a warm chimney to end their days in."p. 299 "I think my love permeates her life, and hers mine. It is to me what light is to the sun and perfume to the rose; I am valueless without it."p. 300 "I think that she is not happy in a humdrum life...She wants unordinary experiences and it is not good for her that she should have them only in her spirit. She needs to laugh and sing and dance. She needs to wear a new dress every day and have all the men at Court writing verses to her eyebrows. She needs to be so very happy for a short while that the whole of the rest of her life will glow with it."p. 358 "And then she died; died as a wild bird will die who is shut in too small a cage."p. 376 "It is always love of something that brings joy; love of some human being, of beauty or love or of learning. Love is the unchanging landscape at which, among the changes and chances of this mortal life, we sometimes look through the peephole of joy; the love of God of which human love is a tiny echo. To be lost in it will be to have eternal life. One can know no more than that."p. 386 "...years of unceasing work and anxiety that would never break her spirit but would strip of her beauty and make of her a weary old woman."

  • Christina Baehr
    2019-04-19 07:23

    This paean to Elizabethan Oxford is an early work of Goudge's -- all her usual good stuff is there in embryo form, but it never really comes together into a satisfying narrative. Still, enjoyable to fans of Elizabethiana (if that's a word).

  • Adrienne
    2019-03-22 08:21

    I love Elizabeth Goudge. I have read at least 5 other books by her and this one was a bit harder for me to "get into", but I am so glad I did. The last 3 chapters got so good and so rich that it made it worth the effort to read it. I blogged a short synopsis of what I got out of it and why I liked it here:

  • Joy
    2019-04-01 05:17

    Delightful! A good book for a rainy afternoon with cup of tea. I loved the character development, the lyrical, poetic writing style, and the frequent rabbit trails that are complete stories in themselves, though still linked to the main story and adding depth and richness.

  • Kathy Weitz
    2019-03-25 02:06

    Loved this book!

  • Susan
    2019-03-29 00:18

    This one took me a while to plow through, which is unusual for me with a Goudge book, hence the3-star rating. Thinking that this was #2 of a trilogy, following City of Bells, I was expecting a continuation of that story, or at least something set in the same time frame. It was a bit surprising to find myself in 16th century Oxford instead. The story itself is interesting, especially the early history of Oxford (both town and university), and the description of a visit from Queen Elizabeth. The plot is pretty mild - Faithful leaves the gypsies with whom he has been staying and walks to Oxford, hoping to become a scholar; he is fortunate to be taken up by Canon Leigh and his family. To solve the financial problem, Faithful is made a sort of equerry to the oldest Leigh son so he will have a place to live and be allowed to study. The Canon has a number of other children, all of whom are so well described that they seem totally real. Among the scholars that Faithful meets are Walter Raleigh and Philip Sydney. There are two low-key romances that begin to build up throughout the book. There was a bit too much description of the countryside, gardens, etc., for my taste; but this is typical of Goudge and it does add to the overall ambience of the story. Interesting enough to keep me reading, but not one I will reread any time soon.

  • Eleanor
    2019-04-06 00:13

    This is one of Goudge's adult novels; she wrote other books, for children, including Linnets and Valerians and The Little White Horse, both of which I loved as a kid. Towers in the Mistis set in Elizabethan Oxford and follows (more or less) a poor but very promising scholar called Faithful Crocker, who gets himself to Oxford in the hope of acquiring learning. He's quickly adopted by the family of Canon Leigh of Christ Church, and becomes the servitor of the eldest Leigh son, Giles, also studying at Christ Church. Over the course of a year, the fortunes of Faithful and the Leighs rise and fall. There is a love story (there are two, actually), but two things really make the book: its stunningly vivid, detailed, loving descriptions of Oxford city and the surrounding countryside, and its funny, chatty, interesting asides about the real-life historical figures that people its pages. (The book features not only a young Walter Raleigh but a clever, thoughtful Philip Sidney, and Elizabeth I, amongst many other characters whose lives are a matter of record.) Goudge, of course, propagates a mid-twentieth-century view of Tudor England, one that holds up Good Queen Bess and the return of religious moderatism and Raleigh's patriotic imperial yearnings as models of behaviour. But her characters are vivacious and irresistible, and the whole book comprises a love letter to Oxford that is more charming than I can say. She also handles religion rather well, I think; the practice and accoutrements of Christianity—prayers, relics and so on—are omnipresent in her characters' lives in a way that feels entirely faithful to the period, probably because they were very present in her own life, too.

  • Elizabeth Wooten
    2019-04-03 06:35

    Sadly I did not care much for this book. Some parts were interesting to me but mostly I was bored with it. I’m surprised too because it’s grouped with 2 other Elizabeth Goudge books and called the Cathedral Trilogy, and I love those other 2 books so much , I thought I’d like this one too. And although they’re called the Cathedral Trilogy, they’re actually 3 separate stories.

  • Lynne
    2019-04-06 00:16

    Lovely story and a wonderful opportunity to get some great history of Oxford down through the ages, along with Philip Sidney, Walter Raleigh and even Queen Elizabeth, all before they had even begun to leave their mark

  • Ruth Chatlien
    2019-04-01 05:18

    Not to my taste. Too sugary, idealistic, and long-winded.

  • Rosemary Morris
    2019-04-04 04:21

    Goudge wrote: “It is impossible to live in an old city and not ask oneself continually, what it was like years ago. What were the men, women and children like who lived in my home centuries ago and what were their thoughts and their actions as they lived out their lives day by day in the place where I live myself now? This story is the result of such questions.” She explains: “The Leighs are an imaginary family, whom I have set down in the house at that time ouccupied by Canon Westphaling.” I first read Towers The Mist as a teenager and from then on the characters stayed with me. Joyeuce a young girl obliged to manage the house and family after her mother’s death. Her aunt, a termagant, and her wicked little brother Dicon who has a shocking temper and literally bites the hands that feed him. Apart from imaginary characters, Goudge gives the reader glimpses of Philip Sydney, Nicholas Campion a Roman Catholic, Sir Walter Raleigh, and the first Queen Elizabeth. Oxford, with its towers in the mist, assumes a personality that dominates the novel from a gypsy camp, to the Leigh’s home to a hidden Roman Catholic chapel with an exquisite, but forbidden statue of the Virgin Mary and her son. Goudge’s skilful prose reveals the deep religious faith and relief in the era that followed Mary Tudor’s bloody attempt to restore the Roman Catholic faith in England. Towers In The Mist, with exquisite descriptions of town and country, is a novel which deserves to be read more than once.

  • Carl
    2019-04-01 02:28

    This is a great ride through Elizabethan Oxford and really interesting as an early Goudge novel--exuberant and a bit experimental. Her later books are quite good on their own merits, more refined expressions of the unbridled style that she uses here. The writing here is really colorful and fanciful and a bit undisciplined, but I'm a lover of Oxford, so getting that take on the city was really fun. Thematically, the story is interesting as a meditation on ambition and the relationship between inner peace and social order. The Goudge Society page notes its nostalgia and optimism as markers of pre-WWII British sentiment, which adds another layer of interest to her thoughts on patriotism and her adventurous Raleigh.The best thing here, Goudgewise, are some great characters that start to establish her family types--the bedridden matriarch, the rascally twins, the priest who struggles to connect with his household. Goudge goes on to use these figures again and again in her mature work, when her energy and optimism have come through the war. The contrasts between the characters here with Herb of Grace and Rosemary Tree's casts is really interesting.Highly recommended to Goudge fans, Oxfordians, and lovers of baroque stylistics. Not so highly recommended for sticklers of either simple prose or faithful history. Energy over economy, friends!

  • Clare
    2019-04-01 02:22

    First published in 1938, Towers in the Mist, is unapologetically flowery in places. If you can't stand long-winded passages describing flower strewn meadows and glittering diamonds in Queen Bess' hair then this is probably not for you. However, I must admit I often feel the need to leaven my bookshelves of achingly hip writers enthusiastically pursuing gritty realism with the more soothing "Madeline Bassett" school of writing whose authors like to write about "rose entwined arbours" and "babes" with "bell-like voices". I would describe this book as enveloping. The story line meanders along pleasantly enough but the real aim of the book seems to be to immerse you in time and place with the characters. Loosely based on a year in an Oxford college, Goudge used all her knowledge of the cathedral town and her understanding and love of Elizabethan poetry to give a real sense of historical time. For the most part it works - she may have a distinctly parochial view of English history (all pageants and fine English archers) - but a warm hearted romance(in the widest sense of the term) emerges that kept me happy right till the end.

  • Jenne
    2019-04-14 02:06

    Having read and loved “The Little White Horse” by the same author, I was pleased to come across another of Elizabeth Goudge’s books. Unsure of what to expect, as my library copy had been rebound with a plain cover I embarked into the unknown.The story is set in Christ Church, Oxford, in the 16th century and follows the Leigh family for a year, through love and grief, joy and loss, culminating with Queen Elizabeth’s visit to that illustrious city.Although a charming read, and involving many well known characters from history, include Sir Walter Raleigh, I was a little disappointed with the simplicity of the tale. At each turn of the page I was expecting the story to take off. Perhaps if I had known more about the book, I would have found it more enjoyable.I also later found out it was the second book of a series. As I intend to go back and read the first book, “A City of Bells”, perhaps it is a series that will grow on me.

  • Shayne
    2019-03-26 03:31

    "Towers in the Mist" didn't really grab me. In fact I very nearly left it unfinished, something I rarely do with a book once I've started. There were a lot of characters, and the author didn't seem particularly interested in any of them. There were long passages of historical musings put in character's voices in ways that stretched my credibility ("He looked into the sky, and it was as if he saw [insert several centuries' worth of history here]"). There were lots of references to clichéd gypsies doing things like stealing children. People dropped dead at convenient moments. I only kept reading because one character did involve me, but she drifted off the page towards the end.

  • Bridget Blanton
    2019-03-29 00:17

    An elegant, historically-grounded novel centered on a family living on the grounds of Oxford, in England during the Elizabethan time period. Elizabeth Goudge is an accomplished, prolific writer whose command of the English language is unrivaled. The plot moves along naturally, as it gently pulls you in. Her descriptions of nature, the weather, the grounds of Oxford are not only breathtaking, but integral to the forward movement of the story. As always, Goudge lightly weaves in concepts of faith and insights into human nature. It is a rich, beautiful novel and left me in awe of this remarkable author.

  • Thao Huong
    2019-04-16 02:21

    I don't remember reading a book with such beautiful imagery for a long time ... It brought back feelings that I had reading books as a child, the anticipation to emerse oneself in the same book over and over again... not like now, when I can't help but wanting to finish reading a book quickly so I can finish as many books as possible.

  • Tabitha
    2019-03-24 04:13

    Gorgeous as always, but took me a while to get into. I'm not a big poetry or historical fiction person, so that's why I'm just giving this 3 stars. But I'm looking forward to reading more of her work!

  • Denise
    2019-03-27 04:32

    Oxford, England during Elizabeth I

  • Cheryl
    2019-04-02 04:16

    This book was beautiful. It takes the history of Oxford and weaves it into the story of a family living in Christ Church and those that surround them. One of my favorite reads of the year.

  • Willowwind
    2019-03-25 03:25

    I was looking for something gentle to read and found this old favorite on the self. 16th century Oxford. Just lovely

  • Jenny
    2019-04-06 07:19


  • Sskous
    2019-04-11 08:36

    one of the 3 cathedral city books. somehow she makes the cathedral a character in the book.

  • Mrs. Danvers
    2019-04-12 06:36

    Very sweet and very much of its author and time.

  • Catie
    2019-03-22 07:29

    *3.5 Stars* Buddy read w/ @pagesandcup - September 2016

  • Jennie Nelson
    2019-03-19 02:28

    loved. loved. loved. Oxford, Elizabethan England, great characters, May Day.