Kingfishers Catch Fire by Rumer Godden (1953)

Kingfishers Catch Fire by Rumer Godden

From the 1953 Viking Press edition of Kingfishers Catch Fire by Rumer Godden: returning to the scene of her best love books, Rumer Godden now brings us another moving story of India.

Kingfishers Catch Fire has all the color, tenderness, and humor, and the feeling for the local inhabitants’ ways, that marked The River as a book and a film.

It also has the kind of the emotion that Miss Godden’s peculiar gift — the emotion of an individual threatened by mysterious alien forces.

Sophie Barrington Ward, without a husband, with two children and very little income, it Is faced with making a new life for herself. Friends beg her to go back to the security of Camberley. But the aunt who knows her best says, “Sophie will do as she likes. She always does.”

What she likes, in this case, is to stay in India — and not in the Westernized India either, but in a little Villa in the beautiful Vale of Kashmir. Sophie is determined to make a home in this Eden, and live with Indians harmoniously.

Pundit Pramatha Kaul, her wise landlord, shakes his head. Prophet David, for merchant friend, warns her. But Sophie remains unruffled.

. . . . . . . . . .

Rumer godden in window

Learn more about Rumer Godden

. . . . . . . . . .

Then matters quietly begin to go wrong. Things disappear. One day there is ground glass in her food. Two local clans start feuding. Ultimately, when Sophie’s daughter Teresa suddenly vanishes, the near tragedy becomes a major incident.

Whether Sophie can save this situation, whether she will weaken and escape on the arm of an old admirer, makes the final drama of the book. It leaves the reader with a sense of having lived an actual life in a baffling and beautiful land.

. . . . . . . . . .

More about Kingfishers Catch Fire

. . . . . . . . . .

*This post contains affiliate links. If the product is purchased by linking through, Literary Ladies Guide receives a modest commission, which helps maintain our site and helps it to continue growing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to The Literary Ladies Guide weekly newsletter

Celebrating women’s voices
with inspiration for readers and writers

  • Find your next great read
  • Get writing advice from authors you love
  • Enjoy fascinating facts and quotes
  • Discover women’s literary history

... and lots more (look for a bonus in your welcome letter!)
Email address
Secure and Spam free...