Rumer Godden’s Miss Happiness and Miss Flower

What’s the best book you’ve ever received as a gift?

When I was 8 years old, I received the book “Miss Happiness and Miss Flower.” It came at a good time in my life. The book is about a girl who received two Japanese dolls. In the book, when she was asked by a gruff bookstore owner, Young lady, can you read? She thinks, That’s one thing I can do well. That line really resonated with me because I felt the same way.

That is Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden in the New York Times feature, “By the Book.” My sister and I also absolutely adored Rumer Godden’s Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, most likely because, like the protagonist, we were often displaced — in our cases, living a year here, a year there, in various parts of Germany and the US. As a result, we connected strongly to Nona’s own feelings when moving to England after a childhood in India. Additionally,  we were intense dollhouse players and collectors and makers of tiny things. So the book spoke to us in a myriad of ways and I’m thrilled to see that it was a favorite of Carla’s too.

I loved the book so much I got my own doll and made things for her. I believe I followed instructions in the book, but my sister has our copy so can’t check.  Can you believe, I still have them?


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5 responses to “Rumer Godden’s Miss Happiness and Miss Flower

  1. I read Rumer Godden’s The River when I was about fourteen. I grew up in the India in the 60’s, and the books I read were all alien to my experience. This was the first novel I’d ever read that was set in India. It opened my eyes. It was a very different India from my own but it was not a patronizing viewpoint. It felt as if she’d given me permission to write in English about my country. I must have read that book through dozens of times. Even now, when I focus on some small detail in my writing–a slant of light or the sound of water–I’m aware that I learned to do that by reading this book.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the little things!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent website. A lot of helpful info here.
    I’m sending it to some pals ans additionally sharing in delicious.
    And obviously, thanks for your sweat!


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