The distinctive features of historical novelist and children’s Rosemary Sutcliff’s ministrel’s magic

Signature of Rosemary Sutcliff showing her name is not Sutcliffe with an E

Helen  posted  a comment on this blog about on “the features which make up the ‘sum of parts’ that are a Rosemary Sutcliff  novel” and  “the indefinable minstrel’s magic that makes it all alive”:

  • A hero, set apart from his peers both by his injury and his past
  • Landscape and the seasons as living entities in themselves
  • Friendship
  • Adventure
  • Scenes of slow tension and thrilling escape
  • Flashes of both humour and horror
  • The sense and quest for justice and fairness
  • The clash of two worlds and the places where the distance narrows to nothing between them
  • The relationship between man and dog, and to a lesser degree, man and horse
  • The slow romance
  • Understanding of a military world
  • A hopeful, ‘song of new beginnings’ ending
  • Devon!


Tulips in Rosemary Sutcliff historical novel for adults Lady in Waiting

At Sherborne, Bess had made a still-room out of one of the groined store chambers and gradually her shelves were filling; a hound bitch had puppies, and the new flamed and feathered tulips came into flower, and these were the things that contented her.

From Lady in Waiting by Rosemary Sutcliff

Daughter Number Three is reading all Rosemary Sutcliff

Blog Daughter Number Three calls itself a “filing cabinet of stuff I have stumbled upon”. The author writes “she is the third of four daughters, raised in a rural area outside of a small town. Now living in a moderately large city, making media and immersed in other people’s media”. One of her goals in life is “to read everything written by Rosemary Sutcliff, so I’ve been reading her 1957 novel Lady in Waiting, the story of Bess Throckmorton, who secretly married Sir Walter Raleigh (to the displeasure of Queen Elizabeth I)”. She writes that it’s an “oldie but goodie”, like her post here.