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Elizabeth and Her German Garden (1898) Paperback – July 13, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
Since it was written in 1898, it tells of a life very different than any today. As an Englishwoman, it was difficult for her to live in the stuffy German society in the city. Having a garden and house in the country where she did quite what she wanted kept her sane. Of course, having a houseful of servants helped.
She has a wonderful sense of humor while describing all the little things that she cannot do as the lady of the house. It must have been a very difficult situation.
I loved the term she gave her husband, "The Man of Wrath". I'm going to look for more books by this author.
Her tone is anything but dusty. A top-selling author of her day she seems to have more in common with - the best - Sunday newspaper columnists of today than with her contemporaries. She battles both with chauvinism and the demands of running a country house which threaten to quell her free-wheeling attitude to life, in a style as fresh as it was at the turn of the century.
It began with the statement: May 7th - I love my garden. Well, so do I.
The story was first published in 1898 but the years soon melted away. Her memoir was loaded with those funny long sentences containing plenty of commas, semi-colons and dashes that were in fashion back then. It covered one year in the life of Elizabeth von Arnim. The moral to this story? Truth is often stranger than fiction.
Elizabeth married a widower twice her age and referred to her first three children as the April baby, the May baby and the June baby. Her husband was called the Man Of Wrath. Elizabeth was considered by the villagers to be an eccentric because *gasp!* she could spend her day out of doors with a book. Apparently, during this era, reading was an occupation for men; for women it was a reprehensible waste of time. Shhh, don't tell anyone but I have been guilty of this.
Like Elizabeth, when I am outside, my thoughts sometimes drift to my childhood. For her it was about daisies and daffodils and her eleven o'clock bread. Her father whom she passionately loved, her grumpy grandfather and her enchanted years between two and eighteen.
In her garden she reminisced about happy frogs, owls having conversations and roses. In my garden you could find a murder of crows, a knot of toads and some gopher tortoises digging holes. With some beetles, crickets and spiders.
I loved the author's first lesson on buying (too much) seed and trying to grow morning glories. The invention of cabbage salad and the superiority of the Teuton (her husband?) and 'the music he makes after eating his meal'.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was a little surprised the it wasn't a story, but literally about her garden.Published 7 days ago by Kathy Perrins
I really didn't know what to expect from this book; I only knew of van Arnim because she was related to the short story writer Katherine Mansfield. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Marcus Aurelius
It's for peaceful reading. Transporting you to another time, albeit one that is likely not entirely accurate.... total escape!Published 10 months ago by lumindanu
I didn't finish the book-- it was boring. I didn't disagree about how she felt about garden, I just needed more action. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Delano Bradford