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Showing posts from December, 2016

Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson

Monsignor R. H. Benson, Oct., 1912, age 40. Photograph by G. Jerrard
‘'Ministers of euthanasia’ on the scene quickly after a volor (high-speed plane) crash and there are Euthanasia centers for the disabled and anguished. Catholicism is regarded as the enemy and many of the faithful have gone to Rome, the last holdout. The others keep a low profile. England eagerly awaits the coming of Julian Felsenburgh, the new President of Europe who hAs united East and West. There are no wars in this Communist secular ‘utopia’.welcome to the dystopia world imagined by Robert Hugh Benson.
Oliver Brand is an official in the secular, ‘humanitarian’ government and determined to get rid of ‘ superstition and ignorance’,’ and his beautiful wife Mabel is heavily influenced by his views. Although Oliver is supposed to be enlightened, he really has a condescending attitude to Mabel who, he thinks, is inclined to be emotional because she is a woman. Imagine their horror when they find out that Mabel’s mo…

Erte's Theatrical Costumes in Full Color by Erte

This book is an absolute delight for any fan of costume design history, and it is sure to inspire budding theatrical designers. Brilliant and colourful, these costumes include designs for the ballet, the opera and famous actresses, such as Gaby Deslys. My favourites include the monster with three heads for the ballet Sheherazade, the pink and purple flowing octopus  and the fantastic clock with the 18th century lady and the cloaked man.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Lucie Aubrac. The French Resistance Heroine Who Defied The Gestapo by Sian Rees

By Paul Durand, photojournalist of Humanity daily (Humanity daily 16/9/1946) [Public domain or CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Lucie Aubrac, a heroine of the French Resistance, was certainly an amazing woman and this well-researched and interesting biography by Sian Rees   does her great credit and restores her reputation.  When Klaus Barbie claimed that Lucie and her husband Raymond became informers and betrayed their comrades, the news caused a sensation in France and they had a big struggle to prove that this was not true.  Even some of their former friends accused them, and they suffered for years from this betrayal.

Lucie began her life in Montparnesse in Paris which has become known as a 'poverty-stricken haunt of artists and intellectuals.' It was really an area of slums where Jean Cocteau said that poverty was a luxury. Lucie's mother had to support a sick husband and do laundry work even when she was pregnant. Life …

Confessions of a Convert by The Classic Spiritual Autobiography from the Author of Lord of the World Robert Hugh Benson

Robert Hugh Benson was the son of the Archbishop of Canterbury so imagine the scandal when he converted to Catholicism! It was long after his father died, otherwise the shock would probably have been even greater.

This is a lyrical but old-fashioned book in which Benson tells the story of his long search for meaning. Although he became an Anglican priest, the Anglican church never really engaged him. It had 'no spark in it of real vitality,' at least when he was young. He was brought up to think of Catholicism as 'corrupt and decayed' and the extreme Protestants as 'noisy, extravagant and vulgar'. Benson saw the life of a quiet country clergyman with a beautiful garden ahead of him.

However, when he went to Europe, he felt a sense of isolation as an Anglican and he was struck by the strength and continuity of the Catholic church.  These reasons for conversion don't apply so much today - there is much more division within Catholicism now, for example.  Howev…

A Right Royal Scandal Two Marriages That Changed History by Joanna Major and Sarah Murden

Richard Colley Wellesley, Anne's father. (Wikipedia)

What kind of scandals lurk in our Queen's past? What do the love stories of the Cavendish-Bentinck family have to do with her? The answers can be found in this delicious account of two marriages that shocked society in the Georgian and Victorian eras.  These were the marriage of Lady Anne Abdy, the Duke of Wellington's niece, to Lord Charles Bentinck, the son of the Duke of Portland, and his son's marriage to a beautiful gypsy girl.

When the imperious Lady Abdy ran away from her dull husband with the rather impecunious but handsome and charming Lord Charles Bentinck, her relatives were horrified. Her husband actually sued Lord Charles for Criminal Conversation, and she had to endure financial hardship and all sorts of problems.  It is sometimes a bit difficult for the reader to be sympathetic with Lady Anne, however, because of her fiery temper and the extremely high-handed way in which she treated her servants.


The Joy Model by Jeff Spadafora

I am quite religious, but I am afraid that this book by Jeff Spadafora did not work for me.  I may try it again later, but I didn't want to be bothered with the diagrams and it all seemed to be so much work that I decided that I would rather be miserable, or whatever I am! I am sure that Spadafora's suggestions will help people improve their connection with God and their lives and relationships and they are probably worth the reward. However, I don't want to take the time to do it right now.

Spadafora wants readers to carefully read the Bible and apply it to their daily lives, fasting and becoming more self-aware by finding out their strengths and weaknesses and getting rid of their 'false selves'. I will try to stop acting in any way that is based on negative emotions, such as anger and greed. This will be one of my New Year's resolutions!

Unfortunately, I couldn't finish this book. However, Spadafora's blog looks good, so I will read that instead.

I r…

Together at the Table by Hilllary Manton Lodge

Juliette loves her life in Portland, Oregon.  She runs a successful restaurant with her brother and she has a steady boyfriend, Adrian, and a loving family. However, she is still grieving her beloved mother when the book begins and she finds herself missing her ex-boyfriend, Neil.  When she connects with Neil again unexpectedly, she has to make a choice...A crisis at the restaurant helps her to decide what is really important in her life...

Julie is also researching a family mystery concerning her great-uncle which will lead her  to finding long-lost cousins, a château in France and a moving love story set in the horrors of the Second World War.  I found that there were several members of this family and it was quite complicated.  Perhaps, a family tree may have helped!

This was a charming  and romantic story with likeable, warm-hearted people, picturesque settings, a dramatic war-time tale and the bonus of delicious-sounding recipes!  Unfortunately, this is the third book in a serie…

Saints by Simon Yarrow

This is a fairly academic but interesting look at the saints.  Yarrow studies the origins of the saints, different types of saints and their sanctification and canonisation.  He explores the role that St Paul played in the history of the saints in great depth.

I found the section of the book about the section of the book about the Reformation the most fascinating part.  Here, Yarrow writes about Erasmus who criticised pilgrimage, the cult of saints and the veneration of relics under the guise of an erudite fool.  He discusses the drastic solution to idolatry of iconoclasm, or the breaking of images, a practice that was unfortunately pretty widespread during the Reformation and the 39 Articles of the Anglican church.

This is worth reading if you are interested in the saints or for an assignment about their history.

I received this ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.