It is Scotland in the early 18th century. Fear and superstition grip the land. Robert Wringhim, a boy of strict Calvinist upbringing, is corrupted by a shadowy figure who calls himself Gil-Martin. Under his influence he commits a series of murders which he regards as “justified” by God under the tenets of his faith. Hogg’s book is a brilliant portrayal of the power of evil, and a scathing critique of the organized religion. Superbly crafted and deftly executed, it resists any easy explanation of events; is this stranger a figment of Robert’s imagination or the devil himself?
The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg at Susie’s house on November 2nd, 2011 September 22, 2011
Cool Women in Attendance:
Susan, Marci, Heidi, Karen, JoLynne, Ann, Danda
- Yummies from Boltini
- Welcome to our newest member JoLynne!
- Burial and Funeral laws-discuss
- Ann and Joe are breaking ground on their house!
Pope Joan by Donna Cross at Susan’s house on September 21st, 2011 September 21, 2011
Cross makes an excellent, entertaining case in her work of historical fiction that, in the Dark Ages, a woman sat on the papal throne for two years. Born in Ingelheim in A.D. 814 to a tyrannical English canon and the once-heathen Saxon he made his wife, Joan shows intelligence and persistence from an early age. One of her two older brothers teaches her to read and write, and her education is furthered by a Greek scholar who instructs her in languages and the classics. Her mother, however, sings her the songs of her pagan gods, creating a dichotomy within her daughter that will last throughout her life. The Greek scholar arranges for the continuation of her education at the palace school of the Lord Bishop of Dorstadt, where she meets the red-haired knight Gerold, who is to become the love of her life. After a savage attack by Norsemen destroys the village, Joan adopts the identity of her older brother, slain in the raid, and makes her way to Fulda, to become the learned scholar and healer Brother John Anglicus. After surviving the plague, Joan goes to Rome, where her wisdom and medical skills gain her entrance into papal circles. Lavishly plotted, the book brims with fairs, weddings and stupendous banquets, famine, plague and brutal battles. Joan is always central to the vivid action as she wars with the two sides of herself, “mind and heart, faith and doubt, will and desire.” Ultimately, though she leads a man’s life, Joan dies a woman’s death, losing her life in childbirth. In this colorful, richly imagined novel, Cross ably inspires a suspension of disbelief, pulling off the improbable feat of writing a romance starring a pregnant pope.