Margaret Rumer Godden, OBE (December 10, 1907 â€“ November 8, 1998), was an English author of over 60 fiction and nonfiction books under the pen name of Rumer Godden. A few of her works were co-written by her sister, Jon Godden, who wrote several novels on her own. These include Two Under the Indian Sun, a memoir of the Goddens' childhood in a region of India that is now part of Bangladesh.
After eight years in an unhappy marriage, in 1942 she moved with her two daughters to Kashmir, living first on a houseboat, and then in a rented house where she started a herb farm. After a mysterious incident in which it appeared that an attempt had been made to poison both her and her daughters she returned to Calcutta in 1944; the novel Kingfishers Catch Fire was based on her time in Kashmir. She remarried in 1949 and returned to the United Kingdom to concentrate on her writing, moving house frequently but living mostly in Sussex and London.
In the early 1950s, Godden became interested in Roman Catholicism, though she did not officially convert until 1968, and several of her later novels contain sympathetic portrayals of Roman Catholic priests and nuns. Two of her books deal with the subject of women in religious communities. In Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy and In This House of Brede she acutely examined the balance between the mystical, spiritual aspects of religion and the practical, human realities of religious life.
A number of Godden's novels are set in India, the atmosphere of which she evokes through all the senses; her writing is vivid with detail of smells, textures, light, flowers, noises and tactile experiences. Her books for children, especially her several doll stories, strongly convey the secret thoughts, confusions and disappointments, and aspirations of childhood. Godden has been criticized for her class distinctions, which often involve unusual young people not recognized for their talents by ordinary lower or middle-class people but supported by the educated, rich, and upper-class, to the anger, resentment, and puzzlement of their relatives.