A Mile Of River

A Mile Of River

Monday, 30 April 2012

The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

An excessively fanatical Baptist minister called Nathan Price and his wife Orleanna and four daughters,  move to Africa on a mission.

Nathan feels overwhelmed with guilt as he was the only member of his army regimen to escape the  Batten death march. Nathan's mission is to save as many souls as he can as he feels that God despises him for being such a coward. He is so self-absorbed in this that he inevitably puts his wife and children at risk.

I liked that the book was set out with books from the Bible. Genesis,  Revelations and Judges.
The book is also narrated by the four daughters Rachel Price, who is known for her prettiness and vanity. Leah, who is a classic tomboy and is known for her devotion to her father. Leah's devotion is later transferred to Africa,  Adah, who is Leah's twin sister and was crippled from birth. Adah later finds a religion that she can truly believe in the religion of science. Ruth May Price the youngest daughter. Ruth May dies a tragic death. Their intertwined stories are compelling. Ultimately each of them must make their own paths to salvation.

This book was a fairly long read and I felt it could have been a tad shorter. The story and setting made me want to know more about this fascinating country.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Magnificent Obsession Victoria, Albert and the death that changed the monarchy.

I have got a bit behind with my blog of late. but I wanted to review a book that I had read earlier in the year and enjoyed.

The Magnificent Obsession and the Death that changed the Monarchy by Helen Rappaport.

 The book focuses on the grief that Victoria suffered on the death of her mother and her beloved husband Albert.  The author describes a number of set elaborate rituals of that time to commemorate the dead. Social behaviour was also curtailed for a set period of time. After Albert's death  Victoria became a virtual recluse and stayed in mourning for 25 years. On Albert's death Queen Victoria  commissioned a great many memorials in Albert's honour. British manufacturing went into mass production for mourning outfits.

Victoria was named Empress of India in 1878 but did not  start to reappear in public until after her Golden Jubilee in 1887

Victoria refused requests by her government to open Parliament in person she withdrew completely from the public eye , spending much of her time at Balmoral Castle, her home in the Scottish Highlands. Then the question was being asked was Victoria earning the money that the state payed her. The public and Parliament were losing their patience with the Queen who was neglecting her duties. Victoria's popularity was at that time at a very low ebb.

Over the years Victoria was again able to regain her popularity and she once again attended public functions and charitable causes.

The cause of Albert's death has said to have been Typhoid fever. Albert died at the age of just 42, years. Helen Rappaport has done a lot of research into this and believes he actually succumbed to a very modern affliction chrohn's disease.

The book is beautifully written and very well researched and one of my best reads of the year!