Reading the Classics: Review of T.H. White's "Mistress Masham's Repose"

Many know of Swift's "Gulliver's Travels", but not many know "Mistress Masham's Repose". As one is a political missive and the other a children's book, one should wonder what the two have to do with one another, but though Mistress has been hailed and marketed as a middle grade story, the writing style, historical themes, and allusions to Swift's work make it enjoyable for anyone with good sense and the willingness to enjoy historical fantasy.

"Mistress Masham's Repose" tells the story of Maria, a young girl of large fortune who is orphaned and forced to live on her parent's derelict estate. She is left under the care of a cruel governess and curator, and her only friends are the estate's cook and her Latin professor. She spends most of her time dodging her enemies and hiding around the estate, but one day while her nemeses are away, she discovers a remote civilization of Lilliputians, the same Lilliputians described by Gulliver in his celebrated travels. She endeavors to help them and makes a few blunders, but the real danger is presented when her two guardians discovered the exiled nation and contrive to capture them.

The book is just as excellent as White's other works, but for some reason seems to have slipped through the cracks of republication. It has been republished many times, and is always a success when authors such as Garth Nix and the Children's Laureate of Britain pronounce this book as one of England's finest. If you can find a copy of this book, I highly recommend it: it is a glorious achievement in middle grade literature: poignant, triumphant, and gorgeously written.


  1. i would love to get my hands on a physical copy! thanks Michelle for the rec. c",)


Post a Comment