Glittering Images (Starbridge Series #1) [NOOK Book]

Overview

It is the 1930s, and Charles Ashworth is dispatched by the Archbishop of Canterbury to learn the truth about the flamboyant Bishop of Starbridge, Adam Alexander Jardine, and his mousy wife. Do Jardine's outspoken denouncements of the Anglican Church's strict divorce laws have a personal motive? When he meets the cool and beautiful Lyle Christie, Mrs. Jardine's companion, Ashworth believes they do. But as he struggles to understand the strange relationships in the household, Ashworth ceases to be an innocent, ...
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Glittering Images (Starbridge Series #1)

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Overview

It is the 1930s, and Charles Ashworth is dispatched by the Archbishop of Canterbury to learn the truth about the flamboyant Bishop of Starbridge, Adam Alexander Jardine, and his mousy wife. Do Jardine's outspoken denouncements of the Anglican Church's strict divorce laws have a personal motive? When he meets the cool and beautiful Lyle Christie, Mrs. Jardine's companion, Ashworth believes they do. But as he struggles to understand the strange relationships in the household, Ashworth ceases to be an innocent, objective observer. Slowly, he too is drawn into the secret drama that is being played out in the shadow of the cathedral, a drama that he could never have foreseen.

The first in Susan Howatch's acclaimed novels centering on the glorious Cathedral of Starbridge, Glittering Images is a masterful depiction of spiritual hubris, the seductions of power, and the moral dilemmas of England between the wars.

Behind the doors of a great English cathedral, the lives and loves of four people intertwine--a brilliant bishop, the wife he once loved, her enigmatic female "companion, " and the young man the Church has sent to investigate their unusual household. "A bold and exciting departure for Susan Howatch."--Los Angeles Times.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Howatch's outstanding gifts as a storyteller (Wheel of Fortune) are combined here with a new seriousness of theme; the result is a superior novel with bestselling potential. The ``glittering images'' of the title are those we present with pride to the world; in this case, the cherished images of charismatic, successful churchmen, elegant in their clerical robes, whose congregations are moved by their sermons. These are not the TV evangelists of the '80s, however, but clergymen of the 1930s, whose King has had to choose between his throne and marriage with a divorcee. A controversial speech on divorce reform in the House of Lords by the outspoken Bishop of Starbridge (a character based on Herbert Henson, Bishop of Hereford) provokes the Archbishop of Canterbury to dispatch his protege, Charles Ashworth, Doctor of Divinity, to look for any skeletons in the Bishop's closetor in his bedthat the gutter press could use to smear the Bishop and, by extension, the Church. Ashworth, a debonair widower, is immediately attracted to Lyle Christie, paid companion to Carrie Jardine, the Bishop's wife. Lyle first responds to, then flees from, Ashworth's admittedly forward embraces. When he discovers the reasons for her behavior he is hurled into a moral and spiritual crisis. There's no doubt that sex and religion can make exciting bedfellows; add mysteries within mysteries, scenes of charismatic spiritual healing and a deft creation of a middle-class milieu that disappeared with WW II, and you have an engrossing novel that challenges the reader's sense of the fine points of morality. Howatch succeeds in making the subtle and complex theological points of a spiritual transformation both credible and exciting in a narrative whose dramatic tension never abates. BOMC alternate. (October 8)
Library Journal
When brilliant young theologian Charles Ashworth is sent by his mentor the Archbishop of Canterbury to investigate the possibly scandalous conduct of Alex Jardine, the bishop who criticized his superior's position on Edward VII's marriage, he little expects to embark on an investigation of his own. His cathartic encounter with the hypnotically enigmatic Jardine and his unusual household forces Charles and the reader on an agonizing exploration of the psyche behind the seemingly flat character of a superficial clergyman. Howatch's psychoanalytical study may conclude more quickly and neatly than real life, but that does not detract from its brilliance or impact. Highly recommended. Cynthia Johnson Wheal ler, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, Mass.
From the Publisher
"A Terrific Story...Glittering Images is driven by passion, emotional and spiritual, and its spiritual antagonists are brilliant characters."

— San Jose Mercury News

"She May Well Be The Anthony Trollope Of The 20th Century."

— Andrew Greeley, The Washington Post

"A Superior Novel."

— Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307775917
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/24/2010
  • Series: Starbridge Series , #1
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 93,751
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Susan Howatch was born in Surrey in 1940. After taking a degree in law she emigrated to America where she married, had a daughter and embarked on her career as a writer. When she eventually left the states, she lived in the Republic of Ireland for four years before returning to England. She spent time in Salisbury - the inspiration for her Starbridge sequence of novels - and now lives in London.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 13 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 20, 2011

    Not All That Glitters Is Gold

    I read this first "Starbridge" entry based on Jacqueline Winspear's praise for it; I love her Maisie Dobbs series. I don't love Susan Howatch's Glittering Images. The structure of the book is promising: a mystery is put forth which reveals a deeper, personal mystery that must be solved in order to bring the first mystery to a final resolution. The protagonist is a widowed Anglican cleric in his thirties; the setting is England in the thirties between the World Wars. One meets a group of somewhat interesting but not very appealing characters, most of whom should be in custodial care of one kind or another. One learns more about Anglican theology, spiritual dilemma, and dysfunction than many will wish to learn, though I must say that the extended metaphor of "glittering images" is a good one and some of the spiritual insights offered are spot-on. The final resolution at the center of this maze may appeal to those who enjoy sticky romance; others may join me in finding it preposterous at best and unhealthy at worst. I won't be reading the subsequent books in the series.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 5, 2011

    amazing

    the beginning of the best series i have ever read. religious or not, these books are eye openers. beautifully written, characters to remember, plot thickens with every chapter...read them all.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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