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Sunday, December 02, 2018

A Light So Lovely. The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L'Engle by Sarah Arthur

Madeleine L'Engle, the author of the beloved children's classic A Wrinkle in Time, wrote in Walking on Water that Christians 'draw people to Christ...by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it'.  She certainly did that in myriad ways. This book explores her spiritual legacy to her readers and fellow writers in several different areas, including faith and science and religion and art. Although Sarah Arthur writes extensively about Madeleine l'Engle's life, this is not a biography, but a study of her faith and her writing. It also details the criticisms of her writing and about why some of her books were sometimes banned. I found this book a bit scattered, until I got used to it, but the last chapter was so beautifully written that it made me cry!

l'Engle is probably mostly remembered for her ability to combine faith with science in her famous children's stories, but this was almost an accident! She had an unhappy childhood and she and her husband found it easy to talk about the arts but difficult to discuss feelings. As a young married woman, she struggled with a stalled publishing career, and had even greater travails with her faith, telling the minister that she didn't believe in God. but she wanted to live as though she did. She started to read the German theologians, such as Paul Tillich, but found them very dry.Then she started taking an interest in theoretical physicists and amazingly found her theologian in Einstein who helped her to believe in a loving God.  This began her journey to writing A Wrinkle in Time.

If you like Madeleine l'Engle's books, this is a must-read. Madeleine l'Engle sounds like a lovely woman who cared about her fellow writers and tried to help them and was concerned about her readers, especially children and teenagers and tried to find real meaning in her faith. Sarah Arthur doesn't shy away from l'Engle's flaws but after reading this book, it is easy to see why the author was so loved.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers  book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.





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