The Child from the Sea

child from the sea goudge coward-mccann 1970The Child from the Sea by Elizabeth Goudge, 1/5

This tedious attempt to legitimize the relationship between King Charles II of England and Lucy Walter, one of his numerous mistresses, is painfully contrived.  The dialogue is stilted, the characters unlikeable, the romantic scenes unbearably sappy, and the whole thing suffers from a pervasive moral ambiguity that causes painful cognitive dissonance.  For example, Lucy and one of the king’s good friends have a one-night fling that results in pregnancy, but according to the author “both had the gift of a dedicated loyalty” and “were faithful to the core” (473).  I guess I’m just one of those who “would not have understood, if they could have seen it made visible, the quality of the integrity that despite their failures gave such distinction to Lucy and her lover” (473).  Integrity?!  Is this backwards day?

Despite constant attempts to make Lucy appear the victim of malicious gossip, the political climate of the times, and her own big-hearted, “Welsh” emotionalism, I felt that even the author no longer liked the main character by the end of the book.  And that was the romanticized, fictional version of her…

[Why I read it: my friend, Alison, passed it along to me, [rightly] thinking that I would enjoy the Welsh references.]

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