Recommended Reads: China Court by Rumer Godden

15 February 2022

Diamond Crime author, Phil Rowlands recommends China Court.

Rumer Godden died in 1998 and wrote 60 books, adult, children’s and poetry. Nine of her stories were turned into movies and Black Narcissus, probably the best known, was made in 1947, starring Deborah Kerr and Jean Simmons. She wrote China Court in 1961. I love this book. It came along for me at a time when I was looking for stories to turn into screenplays. I had read an article about her death and started to delve into her life and work. This book is set in a country house in Wales and follows the lives of the Quin family who owned it from the early 1800s to the 1960s. The family had made their fortune out of the local white clay that was needed for the manufacture of porcelain and so named the house China Court. The style of storytelling was what excited me, moving seamlessly from past to present time to give continuity of life to the dynasty that lived or had lived there. It was the first time that I had read a story told from the understanding of an object that was a part of all those who inhabited it over the years. It is a wonderful saga that has passion, love, betrayal, conflict – and a resonance with the two young girls whose lives start and finish the story.

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