Margaret Rumer Godden was born Dec. 10, 1907, in Sussex, England. One of three daughters, she was less than a year old when her father moved the family to India, where he ran a shipping line. Her Indian childhood had a strong influence on her writing. She returned to England at age 20 so she could learn how to teach children to dance, thereafter returning to India and opening a dance school.
She published her first book in 1936, Chinese Puzzle. She wrote many novels for adults, many of them quite famous, and some of which were later made into movies. Her books for children were equally respected, among them Doll’s House and Gypsy Girl.
Married twice, she gave birth to two daughters. Ms. Godden bought a Pekingese for herself when she was 16 and had 34 more dogs of that breed during her lifetime. She lived with one of her daughters in Scotland from the time she was 70 until she died at age 90 in 1997.