Glittering Images by Susan Howatch (Church of England Series #1)

Glittering Images by Susan Howatch (Church of England Series #1)Summary: Internal Church of England political intrigue from 1937.

This is another one of those books that someone recommended (Rhett Smith) and I bought, but then I waited 2 or 3 years to actually get around to reading, and then I absolutely loved.

I would chalk up the delay to divine intervention, but that is too strong.  The main character, Charles, is a professor of Theology at Cambridge and protégé of the Archbishop of Canterbury (head of Church of England.)  He is asked, very privately, by the Archbishop to go investigate Bishop Jardine.  Bishop Jardine has been publicly speaking out in favor of liberalizing the divorce laws and against the official teaching of the Church of England.

Charles is being sent to see if the rumors of Bishop Jardine being a womanizer have any truth.  Charles, with trepidation about undertaking the mission, goes and immediately falls for Jardine’s wife’s secretary  This leads to a myriad of issues, both with Charles’ official mission and his internal issues that the investigation dredges up.  Eventually, Charles breaks down and seeks the help of a spiritual director and Anglican monk, Jon Darrow.

This is a unique book because it is not ‘Christian Fiction’, but it takes the Christian faith very seriously.  Fans of Downton Abbey will enjoy the period feel.  Christians will enjoy a book that engages real issues of faith, repentance, forgiveness.

But what struck me most, is the realistic portrayal of spiritual director through the power of the Holy Spirit seeking to draw a spiritually bankrupt clergy member back to faith.  There are points when the book can be a little melodramatic, and times when it is a little intellectually or theologically dense, but it is completely appropriate as a character driven exploration of a Cambridge Theology Professor and Anglican clergy member.

This is the first of a series of six books.  I have since read the next two and then read a book on spiritual direction because I was so intrigued by this book.

One little note, I originally purchased this as a used paperback because the Kindle version was not available two or three years ago when I picked it up.  When I started reading I felt my age and bought the kindle version.  The print was just too small to read the paperback comfortably.  But with the kindle version I cranked up the print size and was good to go.

Glittering Images Purchase Links: Paperback, Kindle Edition

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