Wednesday, November 14, 2007

In This House of Brede; Rumer Godden

Thanks to our church library, I found an original 1969 paperback put out by Fawcett Crest publishing. Miraculously it has survived bouncing around in the bottom of the tote bag I haul back and forth to work. Lately I have been drawn to fiction about women in a transitional period of their lives, and this book revolves around this theme. Link to the official site of the Rumer Godden Literary Trust in title above. Ms. Godden died in 1998 after a long and distinguished career, this is the centenary year of her birth. Image at right is of a pre-Vatican II Benedictine habit used at a monastery in PA.

Philippa Talbot is a woman in her mid forties who has decided to leave a highly placed, well paid position in the British government to become a cloistered Benedictine nun. Talk about transitions! LOL The book details Philippa's journey of self dicovery as well as the intimate inner workings of a community of women. As it turns out, Philippa must face the reality that despite being cloistered she cannot escape the workaday world the rest of us must cope with. Not only that she cannot avoid accepting essential aspects of her personality she thought to leave behind.

In This House of Brede deals with Philippa's efforts to make peace with herself. Bonus for romance lovers: there is an undercurrent in the story between Philippa and a man she loved but left behind to join the convent. I wonder just how much sacrifice is too much? How much did Philippa remain willfully ignorant of the depth of the relationships she was involved in before becoming a nun?

I enjoyed this novel quite a lot. It was an impulse borrow from the library, next time I feel introspective I may just borrow another Rumer Godden novel and give it a whirl!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That book is one of my favorites. Rumer Godden was an excellent writer. I think you will enjoy any of her books.