24/05/2001

Glittering Images (by Susan Howatch)

It's not often that I re-read a book only a year after I first read it. But Susan Howatch is a brilliant writer, with amazing depths that can be explored more fully on further reading. Knowing the plot, I was able to read more slowly, and appreciate all the more the clever way the book was written, and the incredible understanding of human nature that pervades it.

'Glittering Images' is the first of the wonderful Starbridge series of six books about the Church of England in the early part of the 20th century.

Charles Ashworth is a young, widowed clergyman, who goes to stay with an outspoken Bishop. He is acting as an undercover spy for the Archbishop of Canterbury. Charles quickly gets involved with the Bishop's wife's companion, Lyle, as well as getting to know several of the Bishop's guests and friends.

Charles' past catches up with him, leading to a major crisis before he meets Jon Darrow, an intelligent (and possibly psychic) monk who becomes his counsellor.

Absolutely wonderful.

(When I re-read again, six years later, I wrote a longer review of Glittering Images)

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