Monday, January 19, 2015

Elizabeth Enright; Children's Author Review

Elizabeth Enright (1909-1968)
Elizabeth Enright was the author of many children's books. Notably, 'Thimble Summer' which won a Newbery medal in 1938.

The book that started me on a quest to find more books by E.E. was called 'Gone-Away Lake'. it is an adventure story set in New York state sometime post WWII. (The book was published in 1957.)

When Portia and her little brother Foster go to visit their cousin Julian for the summer, they run into all sorts of adventures. Julian and Portia spend whole days wandering the woods around his home, and end up stumbling across a marsh that had once upon a time been a lake.

Ms. Enright had a real knack for creating characters that are well-rounded, and that feel like you would know them in real life. When she writes about older people, they are lively, young at heart, and always on the quirky side of the spectrum. Case in point - the elderly brother and sister who came back to live in the houses they remembered from their childhoods; now broken down from neglect and age. They talk, live and dress like they lived at the turn of the 20th century. But they display a quick sympathy and youthful zest for life, that makes you want to see more of them.

Young Foster is not neglected while his big sis goes on adventures. He finds a friend in the young next door neighbor, almost drowns in a bottomless portion of the marsh, and discovers a 'witchful' old house.

Well, I won't give away the ending of 'Gone Away', but tell you that even though I discovered the book and the author at 18 (if I remember rightly), I am still an enthusiastic re-reader of the Gone Away Lake duo of books as well as E.E.'s "Melendy Quartet". They are some of my favorite books, and always will have a place on my bookshelf.

Shared on:
Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth


  1. With all our reading adventures, we haven't read anything by Elizabeth Enright yet. I will have to look into her as I love quirky characters :) Thanks for sharing on the Art of Home-Making Mondays!

  2. JES, quirky is definitely the word to describe E.E.'s characters. Add full of life and sometimes side splittingly funny to the mix and they're grand to read. I particularly love listening to them on audio from the local library. Saves me a trip to the library and I can work on other stuff in the kitchen.