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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Gospel in Dorothy L. Sayers: Selections from Her Novels, Plays, Letters, and Essays Dorothy L. Sayers, Carole Vanderhoof (Edited by), C. S. Lewi

I read Dorothy L. Sayers’s mysteries a long time ago, and enjoyed the stories, without realising what
Tortured consciences Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane actually had, or really noticing the Christian values of the books. This book shows how the Gospel shines in her mystery novels, cleverly interspersing the relevant extracts from her religious plays and essays, so that you can see how she wrote her beliefs into her novels.

In one example, Lord Peter sees an Anglican minister, troubled about whether he should bring a person guilty of hastening someone’s death to justice. The minister is much more practical and gives excellent advice, but doesn’t dwell on the situation like Lord Peter! He thinks to himself how scrupulous someone of Wimsey’s class, but how vague they are outside their ‘public school code’.


The essays and even the extracts from the plays can be convoluted and sometimes a bit difficult, but in many of them, Sayers shares her enthusiasm for Christianity. She points out that many people who sneer at it have it wrong. If they knew how interesting, exciting and dramatic the Creed really is, they might think again, but they ‘heartily dislike and despise Christianity without having the faintest notion what it is’.

She can also be extremely prescient. In one essay, she studies feminism, and although she agrees in women’s equality, she concludes that we should be treated as individuals in the end, and not put into categories. She argues that we shouldn’t fall into the ‘aggressively feminist “point of view” about everything’ because opposing one class perpetually to another can ‘split the foundations of the State and if the cleavage runs too deep, there remains no remedy but force and dictatorship’.  

This is worth reading if you want more of an insight into Sayers’s Christian beliefs and how she included them in her novels.

I received a free copy of this ebook from Edelweis in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters. The Tragic and Glamorous Lives of Jackie and Lee by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger





Gore Vidal once said about Jackie and Lee Bouvier that they ‘were brought up like geishas, to get money out of men’.  This book is fair, but, unfortunately, both sisters do appear to have been rather mercenary, according to the writer. Lees, for example, Lee wanted to live well beyond the means that her first husband could provide. (There were other worse problems in the marriage, however). Jackie allegedly sold second-hand clothes to get extra money when she was married to Onassis.


Kashner and Schoenberger tell an account of the cultured sister’s fierce rivalry – even over Ari Onassis - and fascinating lives which anyone interested in the Kennedys will enjoy.  He also provides a lot of strange anecdotes, such as how someone thought that Lee was actually Jackie because she looked so like her when she visited her when she was dying – even being dressed like her!  I also found the opinion of one of the “friends” that Jackie chose some of her husband’s mistresses odd. Jackie set such a wonderful example at her husband's funeral, though, that my opinion is that this makes up for any flaws in her character!

It’s a gossipy book, but the writer does give the sisters credit for their career achievements, describing Jackie’s work as an editor and Lee’s luxurious interior design business. It’s a good character study and an interesting glimpse into the era. It was a good read, but the writing was a bit staid.

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

Friday, September 07, 2018

None of My Business by P.J. O'Rourke

I love to listen to P.J. O'Rourke but I didn't like reading his writing nearly as much, although he makes a lot of sense and the book is amusing. However, I didn't finish it.

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

The Murder of My Aunt by Richard Hull

Although I usually like Poison Pen Classics, this one was very wordy and I just couldn't get into it. I may try again later.

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

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

An Inspiring Story by Rachel Hauck. The Love Letter


Broken-hearted actress Chloe is on the verge of despair. Her last boyfriend betrayed her and she thinks that she is ‘the Queen of Death’ because she has died in so many parts! However, she decides that she is going to be assertive for once, and actually ask for a role which she really wants…

Jesse, the young screenwriter of Chloe’s new film, has also had his heart wounded, but he regards it as his own fault and he has a big burden to bear. Attracted to Chloe, he finds it difficult to get close to a woman again. He wonders whether he can ever find a love story like the one in his family past, that of Hamilton Lightfoot and Esther, star-crossed lovers on opposite sides of the American Revolutionary War.

Rachel Hauck deftly combines the modern story of Chloe and Jesse with the historical one of Hamilton and Esther. The main characters are all likeable and engaging and the intriguing story keeps one reading, although I found the book a bit long. Hauck also shows how a strong faith can help her characters and the importance of trust and forgiveness and believing in true love.

I preferred the modern story to the historical one, however. I thought that it was better written and more believable.

I received this free ebook from BookLook Bloggers in return for an honest review.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen by Sarah Bird

Although this book vividly described the Civil War and Sarah Bird cleverly depicted her heroine's life, this wasn't my kind of book because it was written in the vernacular. This is a brilliant idea but I didn't go on with the novel.


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

Constance Garnett

Janet Malcolm defends Constance Garnett's translations: Socks by Janet Malcolm,

Gaze Upon Jesus Experiencing Christ’s Childhood through the Eyes of Women by Kelly M. Wahlquiest Ave Maria Press

Have you ever wondered how Mary felt at the Annunciation? Have you ever wondered how Elizabeth felt? This book is full of lovely stories and exercises to help women realise the significance of Mary and to follow her example.  These exercises include many examples of the ancient spiritual practice of visio divina using beautiful medieval paintings and there are also discussions for groups and refelctions on praying.

Many people today regard Mary as passive and submissive, but she is actually a figure of "cosmic significance," according to this book by Kelly M. Wahlquiest, and, in choosing to be like her, we can become more powerful as well, and live lives of freedom and authenticity. One way to do this is to imagine going back in time, and imagining what it was like for her. This us to see Jesus as she did and to be closer to God in our hearts and lives. This is a book worth reading for all Christians, not only Catholics, although Catholics may find it easier to understand.

I found the exercises of visio divina difficult on my black and white kindle, so I am certainly thinking of buying Gaze Upon Jesus.

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

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Princess The Early Life of Queen Elizabeth II by Jane Dismore

By Ministry of Information official photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Unfortunately, I found this book a bit dull except for some interesting snippets of gossip, such as whether the Queen Mother was nicknamed 'Cookie' because she was really the daughter of a French cook and Edward VIII's attraction to the Nazi's. (You only have to look at the Queen Mother with her mother to see that this is not true). The book became livelier when Prince Phillip started courting the Princess.

It's certainly well-researched and worth reading if you like to read about the Royals or biographies in general.

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

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Monday, August 20, 2018

Playing to the Gods Sarah Bernhardt, Eleonora Duse, and the Rivalry that Changed Acting Forever by Peter Rader

Mark Twain once said, 'There are five kinds of actresses, bad actresses, fair actresses, good actresses, great actresses -- and then there is Sarah Bernhardt'. The very name still fascinates many people. This charismatic and beautiful actress was courted by royalty, inspired works of art and stunned her eager audience with her antics, such as travelling with a chimpanzee named Darwin, having a pet alligator which drank champagne and sleeping in a coffin. She loved publicity.

Eleanora Duse was the opposite of Sarah in several ways. The shy actress kept away from publicity, was rather reclusive, and she liked a more natural form of acting rather than Sarah's artificial posing, which was rapidly becoming dated. However, she was just as ambitious, if not more, seeking to grab the limelight from the 'Divine Sarah' at every opportunity.

This is an enjoyable book to read, sympathetic to both great women, but not sentimental and always interesting. It is a must-read for history and lovers of the arts!

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

EDITION        Other Format
ISBN               9781476738376
PRICE             $26.00 (USD)