The majority of the book describes the romance and the author's everyday life, running a large household and farm, learning the Hungarian language, rearranging the castle to suit their needs, interacting with the locals, the farm workers, society, and family, and the complexities of the changing borders. I don't know that I ever fully understood or followed the the intricacies of what was going on around the castle and the reasons it came in and out of the family's ownership (although I got the gist of it) because I'd never heard of some of the ethnic groups in the area. It was a little challenging to sort out their characteristics and the details of the changing political situation. But, I found More Was Lost immensely entertaining.
Highly recommended - Eleanor Perenyi was one determined and impressive woman. For a 19-year-old to marry the man of her dreams, in spite of expectations, and not only learn the language and how to run a farm and maintain a castle but deal with the coming war and the changing political situation was pretty astounding. The ending is fairly sad, but I found this memoir charming and a very enjoyable read.
Recommended, if you happen to be in South Africa. There's not even an image of The Goddess of Mtwara at Goodreads, so I presume it's not an easy book to get hold of outside of South Africa, but I would definitely recommend it to those who are interested in reading some uniquely African writing.
The resulting children's book is beyond impressive, a book of words in which each letter of the word has a sentence of its own. Kingfisher, for example:
Kingfisher: the colour-giver, fire-bringer, flame-flicker, river's quiver.I don't have a photo of the kingfisher spread but here's an interior shot of one of the other illustration spreads -- some of the artwork is across a single, facing page, some spans two:
Ink-black bill, orange throat, and a quick blue, back-gleaming feather stream.
Neat and still it sits on the snag of a stick, until with . . .
Gold-flare, wing fan, whipcrack the kingfisher - zingfisher, singfisher! -
Flashes down too fast to follow, quick and quicker carves its hollow
In the water, slings its arrow superswift to swallow
Stickleback or shrimp or minnow.
Halcyon is its other name - also ripple calmer, water nester,
Evening angler, weather-teller, rainbringer and
Rainbow bird - that sets the stream alight with burn and glitter!
This is an oversized book, probably what one would call coffee-table sized and it is absolutely breathtaking.
Highly recommended - Spectacular in every way, with beautiful, poetic wording and stunning illustrations. The book is British and a bit pricey (I ordered my copy from Book Depository) but worth it. There are some British spellings (like colour in the kingfisher wording, above) and at least one word that may not be familiar to Americans: "conker". A conker is a kind of nut that you'll occasionally read about in British lit, mostly in regards to children playing games with them, but I can't say I know what kind of nut it is - from what tree, that is. No biggie; it's an excuse to learn something new and I can't imagine any word-loving, reading fanatic child not falling instantly and deeply in love with this book.
OK, this is all the leftovers but one. I just noticed I missed one book. I don't want to make this post any longer, so I'll save it for another day.
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