Blue Remembered Hills

Blue Remembered Hills

4.16 (102 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

This is an autobiographical account of the influences and people who have helped Rosemary Sutcliff in her personal development as a writer. The author is a well-established historical and children's novelist who has been awarded several prizes and in 1975 was honoured with an OBE for services to children's literature. Sutcliff recounts her early years when, as a victim of Still's Disease, a rare form of juvenile arthritis, she was unable to walk. After the war and a love affair which left a lasting impression on her life, she started to write. This book ends when her first manuscript was accepted by Oxford University Press.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 142 pages
  • 128 x 192 x 8mm | 140.61g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford Paperbacks
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • forms transparencies
  • 0192814206
  • 9780192814203

Review Text

With the same no-nonsense vigor that is the hallmark of her historical novels for children, Sutcliff recalls her first 25 years - making only the most matter-of-fact references to her permanent crippling by Still's Disease, a rare form of juvenile arthritis. Born in 1920 in Surrey, Rosemary was forever shifting from place to place as a child: her quiet father was a naval officer, stationed in the Mediterranean ("To this day the name 'Malta' means bells to me"), then dockyards at Sheerness and Chatham. Her mother was Spartan, volatile, doting, difficult: "She was wonderful, no mother could have been more wonderful. But ever after, she demanded that I should not forget, nor cease to be grateful, nor hold an opinion different from her own, nor even, as I grew older, feel the need for any companionship but hers." Sutcliff remembers: sojourns with edgy relatives; beloved playmate Giles, imprisoned (like Rosemary at times) in his "spinal carriage," but peripatetic in his one hour of free exercise each day; terrible loneliness when isolated at home; useful stints at ordinary schools ("no child, I believe, should go to a special school who can possibly cope and be coped with in a normal one"); and grim/cheerful times at children's hospitals - where Rosemary was "the stranger whom the pack turns on." (Class-conflict was more primal than the shared experience of being handicapped.) Later came art school, with training - and technical success - as a portrait miniaturist. But "I could not cope with harsh realities in paint." So Rosemary, a late-reader who discovered book-ecstasy in L. M. Montgomery's Emily of New Moon, developed "the itch to write" - an itch that was seriously deepened by her odd 1940s love (wondrous, hurtful) for ex-RAF man Rupert, who was interested in a menage a trois. . . with a non-handicapped woman as the third party. Brief (140 pp.) but rich, frank but never sloppy: a crisp little gem for Sutcliff fans and connoisseurs of childhood-memoirs. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

102 ratings
4.16 out of 5 stars
5 39% (40)
4 40% (41)
3 19% (19)
2 2% (2)
1 0% (0)
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