The Greengage Summer is Rumer Godden's tense, evocative portrait of love and deceit in the Champagne country of the Marne - which became a memorable film starring Kenneth More and Susannah York.
The faded elegance of Les Oeillets, with its bullet-scarred staircase and serene garden bounded by high walls; Eliot, the charming Englishman who became the children's guardian while their mother lay ill in hospital; sophisticated Mademoiselle Zizi, hotel patronne, and Eliot's devoted lover; 16 year old Joss, the oldest Grey girl, suddenly, achingly beautiful. And the Marne river flowing silent and slow beyond them all . . .
They would merge together in a gold-green summer of discovery, until the fruit rotted on the trees and cold seeped into their bones . . .
Rumer Godden was one of Britain's most distinguished authors, with many justly famous and much-loved books for both adults and children to her credit, including The River, Black Narcissus, The Peacock Spring and Coromandel Sea Change. She was awarded the OBE in 1993 and died in 1998, aged ninety.