The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy
By: Rachel Joyce
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
When Queenie Hennessy discovers that Harold Fry is walking the length of England to save her, and all she has to do is wait, she is shocked. Her note had explained she was dying. How can she wait?
A new volunteer at the hospice suggests that Queenie should write again; only this time she must tell Harold everything. In confessing to secrets she has hidden for twenty years, she will find atonement for the past. As the volunteer points out, ‘Even though you’ve done your travelling, you’re starting a new journey too.’
Queenie thought her first letter would be the end of the story. She was wrong. It was the beginning.
Ideally I had planned to re-read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (review) but as I was partly in a reading slump and just started reading the first pages of a few books on my TBR pile, this book grabbed my attention from the get-go. The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy I should note is a companion novel of sorts, unfolding simultaneously as Harold Fry is making his pilgrimage to see Queenie in person.
Mini-reviews seem to be my friend these days 😛 Included in this post are reviews for the following titles:
Sonnets from the Portuguese
By: Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase
Elizabeth Barrett Browning was a prolific writer and reviewer in the Victorian period, and in her lifetime, her reputation as a poet was at least as great as that of her husband, poet Robert Browning. Some of her poetry has been noted in recent years for strong feminist themes, but the poems for which Elizabeth Barrett Browning is undoubtedly best know are Sonnets from the Portuguese.
Written for Robert Browning, who had affectionately nicknamed her his “little Portuguese,” the sequence is a celebration of marriage, and of one of the most famous romances of the nineteenth century. Recognized for their Victorian tradition and discipline, these are some of the most passionate and memorable love poems in the English language. There are forty-four poems in the collection, including the very beautiful sonnet, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”
I first read this collection two years ago (review) when I was first making a serious foray into poetry. Revisiting it now after having read quite a range of poetry, I find her poetry evokes a lot more emotion out of me with the passion conveyed about her love for Robert Browning and how that love affects her. I suppose you could say I appreciated this collection a lot more than I did the first time around 😛
Silence: A Christian History
By: Diarmaid MacCulloch
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase
In this essential work of religious history, the New York Times bestselling author of Christianity explores the vital role of silence in the Christian story.
How should one speak to God? Are our prayers more likely to be heard if we offer them quietly at home or loudly in church? How can we really know if God is listening? From the earliest days, Christians have struggled with these questions. Their varied answers have defined the boundaries of Christian faith and established the language of our most intimate appeals for guidance or forgiveness.
MacCulloch shows how Jesus chose to emphasize silence as an essential part of his message and how silence shaped the great medieval monastic communities of Europe. He also examines the darker forms of religious silence, from the church’s embrace of slavery and its muted reaction to the Holocaust to the cover-up by Catholic authorities of devastating sexual scandals.
A groundbreaking work that will change our understanding of the most fundamental wish to be heard by God, Silence gives voice to the greatest mysteries of faith.
I think I first heard of this book from a review or mention made by The Economist. The premise sounded really interesting–silence and religious orders do make up a facet of Christianity and Catholicism–so I had added it at the time. This was one of my whim buys as I did see it for a very good price at the bookstore earlier in 2016 and just snatched it up immediately. This is one of the last reviews I have leftover from 2016 😉
As Samwise Gamgee said when he returned from the Grey Havens, “Well, I’m back.” 🙂
So after two weeks wandering around Iceland and Denmark, I’m back home, more or less settled in and nursing the remainder of a cold away (bleh, fun story, that. Actually, I have a few fun stories from this trip, all of which I will relay + post some photos from as soon as I’ve actually sifted through the folders (I took quite a number of photos on this trip, naturalemente). I’ve posted some recap photos of how I spent my days over there over at Instagram but yeah, I dunno how soon I’ll be posting my travels here. Fingers crossed in a few weeks!
In the meantime, regularly scheduled blog posts will continue. And for now I’ll leave you with this:
Wow, and here we are more or less at the end of another month…well, there’s still a few days to the month, but there’s a reason why this post is going live early. I guess what really struck me this month was how Easter has already come and gone; seems like yesterday it was the start of Lent. Well, the weather is slowly but finally getting nicer outside, which is a plus.
- Books reviewed this month include: Kate Clanchy’s Selected Poems (review), Federico Garcia Lorca’s In Search of Duende (review), and a re-read of Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach (review). You can check out all the books I’ve reviewed recently in the book review tag.
- No ARCs were reviewed this month! You can check out all of the ARCs I’ve read and reviewed to date in this tag.
- For this month’s So You Want to Read…, I focused once again focused on Poetry as part of National Poetry Month. You can check out that post over here. For all my previous recommendations under this feature, check out this tag.
- On a final note, you may have seen this post go live on your feed earlier today but I am going on hiatus as of today, April 25th until May 8th. I’m actually hopping on a plane later this evening and will be on vacation during that time. So no new posts until May 9th. In the meantime, you can follow me on Instagram as I will occasionally post photos as to what I’m up to across the Atlantic 😛
And that’s about it from me and the blog for the month of April! Wishing you all a wonderful May, and be good while I’m away 😛