Glittering Images

Glittering Images

3.3 13
by Susan Howatch
     
 

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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… See more details below

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.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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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.

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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:
NOOK Book
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
110,797
File size:
2 MB

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