Mrs. Potts and some other Autumn Rambles...

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

#A Love that Never Fails
Hello, 'ello April. You took me a little by surprise, how quickly you're sweeping our way. Easter is upon us for a thing, and that is exciting, and wonderful, and I very much treasure this week! I love Easter time, the time when we can reflect on Christ's passion and sufferings and His resurrection. It is both a solemn and also a joyful time. This past Sunday, I was very blessed by attending the Palm Sunday church service; the message was upliftings, the worship, and the Scripture readings on the Lord Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem were really encouraging and a beautiful, special blessing.

"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass." - Zachariah 9:9

As to the season's elements, uhm... things could be better *cough, cough*... They say autumn holds a magic charm to it, a fleck of gold and scarlet to the leaves, and cozy, rainy-days and after-noon soft sunshine peeping through layers of silver cloud on bejewelled pavements; a sort of season that encourages the taking up of the pen, warm socks and a cup of tea! Alas, our Queensland autumns are like contrary children, whiny and disapproving and not quite ready to settle on any one thing - a chill breeze in the morn, followed by a humid heat all afternoon, that leaves you sneezing and sniffling, sweaty and gwumpy. Ooh, I won't say things aren't beautiful. They are, they are... the fields of willowing grass and hilly bushland, for instance, are crisply fresh and green from frequent rainfall. The cows and horses are to be seen grazing in their green pastures with contentment by the highway, and the sun, when it shines is pleasing and warming. The sky at night is alight with tiny glimmering, shimmering snow-white stars. But it is just that autumn (especially this one) has not decided on anything: it is this weird in-between. Summer is something ferocious too, but it is also a darling, for all its hot tempers. Spring is sensible, and fresh and new, even in the rain. But winter. Ah, I love our winters in Queensland and I am quite ready for it to greet us as soon as possible!

Meanwhile, here is a bit of eye-candy for your pleasure :). The other day, my sweet friend Emily, sent me a sort of 'fan' work for A Love that Never Fails that did not fail to bring the biggest smile to my face and cheered up my 'autumnish' mood :). It was so sweet of her! Right back when I first started to dabble in the novel, she sent me a fun mock-up book cover design she had made for the book which was beautiful and I dearly loved it... 
...But of course, as the story progressed I suppose tiny things slipped out of the bag about the novel, and so Emily updated the design with this gorgeous book cover which I totally love, and is more accurate and faithful to the story-feel, and era. A little historical detail: there were distinct changes between 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s in the way people both spoke and dressed up! Anyway, I love how the model of the girl is close in age to Jane during 1940 during the Battle of Britain,  and the title with the planes flying up is beautiful, and a big nod to the story's plot.... :). 
'fan' cover created by Emily Chapman. This is just for artistic, fan pleasure.
Thank you, Em!! <3 :)
How do you like it?

Talking about A Love that Never Fails, and stories, I actually got to write some scenes from later sections of the book, and that was a lot of fun to write, and just made me warm back to the characters, and foresee more character and plot developments which, in a rubbing-your-hand-gleefully sort of way, is very emotional, dramatic... and uhm, heart-breaking. In between the flurry of life, I am itching to get this book written. I really am!!

‘Jane—a war cannot stop you delighting in roses and music and stories’ George said, as the two of them slowly started walking back to the church. He stood an instant at the clearing of the grove. The shadow of a smile crossed his face. ‘But it will make you appreciate them more.’
- A Love that Never Fails

 The wind howled against the glass. Ernest drifted his attention to the drizzling trickle of rain outside through the large commons' window. It was a bleak sort of afternoon, dreary if one had nothing to look forward to but sterile injection needles and white-washed clinics!
- A Love that Never Fails

Besides the occasional scribble in my main novel, and dabbling in other story ideas, I've been keeping busy with all sorts of things this past month, - it probably isn't anymore hectic than normal, but just cramped enough to keep me on my toes. And I am fine with that. Never have to worry about a dull moment ;). Yr 10 is coming to a slow finish... but these last few PACE's demand a lot of perseverance to finish within the time I need it to be done. If you could somehow find the time to remember me in your prayers, that the Lord will help me get it all done, I would be so grateful!!
My current relationship with
 A-L-GE-B-R-A :p

I am also slowly getting back into the zest of things with my violin-playing, and that's fun though a deal of work to juggle and plow through all the same. I am working on 5 pieces at the moment, a 'Study', an 'Allegro' by Handel, a Spanish Tanz, a piece called 'Boy Paganini' and my current favourite 'Evening Prayer'... all of which are in turns a delight to play and a treble mess of hard-work!
Also, I have been doing theory, after an absence of over 6 years, and am returning with the feeling of motivation and interest :). 
.... :) what the staff meeting looks like!
 For blog happenings, you know, I want to assure you I still haven't forgotten those questions I was sent last year on my blog's birthday, and even though I have taken forever to get to them, I am working on polishing them up and posting them sometime soon :). I also have a few more book and movie reviews up my sleeve, so that should keep Fullness of Joy busy yet. As you may well have noticed, I've had the opportunity of doing some blog interviews with authors lately, and actually it has been a wonderful thing and a lot of fun as well. On a level of interest, how much do you enjoy these interviews on Fullness of Joy?  I have a feeling I will be doing more of that sort of thing in the future, and it will be interesting to gauge the enthusiasm you all have for stuff like that, and cover reveals, book/movie reviews, etc. I still want to keep my blog a 'personal' sort of blog, with theme posts, updates, tips and info on my writing, and stuff like that... so we will see how things pan out in the months ahead. School-work is definitely keeping me busy, and also I want to balance blogging time with more writing time. I have been feeling ever so restless and out of sorts these days without time for quality writing... *soft sigh*.
But it was such a GOOD story to be told...

Meanwhile, I have been having been conquering many a delightful book. Which reminds me... I have a bit of a quandary concerning some authors I am keen on getting into; I have the opportunity of acquiring a few books this month, and I am in a muddle on which ones to choose. So, perhaps you'd care to help? Here are some books I really want to read, but I don't know which to pick out for starters (you know, the cream of them, or in some cases the introduction to a particular author/series). Please, if you happen to have read any of these authors or their books, I would be eager for recommendation!
Authors:
Dorothy L. Sayers: ... which book of her Lord Peter Whimsy should I start with?
Flannery O'Conner: The Violent Bear it Away, Wise Blood, Complete Stories, etc??
Madeleine L'Engle: ??
Elizabeth George Speare: The Witch of Blackbird Pond, The Sign of the Beavers, or Calico Captive?
Rosemary Sutcliff: I have read 'The Eagle of the Ninth' 'The Silver Branch' and 'The Shining Company' and own copies of 'The Shield Ring' and 'The Lantern Bearers', so do you know which of Sutcliff's other books might be a favourite with you... Outcast, The Mark of the Horse Lord, etc ??
Separate books I want to pick from:
The Railway Children - E. Nesbit
Little Dorrit - Charles Dickens
Seven Little Australians - Ethel Turner
Ivanhoe - Sir Walter Scott
The Princess and the Goblin - George MacDonald
Beowulf  - (which translation??)
Never - J. Grace Pennington
Citadel - A. J. Cronin
Fall of Arthur - J.R.R. Tolkien
Mrs. Meades Mystery, Volume 1 - Elisabeth Grace Foley
Dante's Divine Comedy
The Gammage Cup
To Kill a Mocking Bird - Harper Lee
Till We Have Faces - C.S. Lewis
The Thief, King of Attolia, Queen of Attolia - Megan Whaler Turner
East of Eden - John Steinbeck
The Scarlet Pimpernal 
Old Fashioned Girl - Louisa May Alcott
War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
All Things Bright and Beautiful - James Herriot
Queen's Handmaid - T. L. Higley
Petra: City of Stone - T. L. Higley
Shadowed by Grace - Cara Putman
Firmament: Radiolly - J. Grace Pennington
Firmament: In His Image - J. Grace Pennington

Which five books would you pick out of this list?
Mrs. Potts:“Cheer up, child. It’ll turn out all right in the end, you’ll see.”

*sorry for this rambly post, I promise for more 'substance' posts in the near future =).

13 sweet note(s):

  1. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comments on my blog. : ) Oh, you do sound busy! The Staff Meeting picture made me smile. : )
    That is quite a list of books, but I know the feeling. Here are two of my picks for you from your list!

    Elizabeth George Speare: The Witch of Blackbird Pond If you read any of her books it must be this one! The plot and characters are wonderful. This is one of my personal favorites and one you can read over and over.

    Ivanhoe: Sir Walter Scott I read this for school last year and loved it! I laughed allot while reading it! Definitely a must read.

    Madeline

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    1. Thanks for your sweet comment, Madeline, I enjoy reading your blog and your comments :).

      I value your recommendations too - I read Speare's Bronze Bow, and enjoyed that so I am glad to know which book of hers to dig into next :).

      Done, I am gonna get and read Ivanhoe if I can ;).

      Blessings and Happy Easter!

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  2. Many of the books on your list are books that I have not read so I cannot give experienced advice. However, I have read Old-Fashioned Girl by Alcott and love it, and I have read some of James Herriot and very much enjoyed him (although I have not read that particular one).
    Also: I LOVE the new cover!

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    1. Thank you, Bound and Freed :) - I have Old Fashioned Girl is a really lovely book, so I would be eager to read that. As for James Herriot, everyone seems to have read SOMETHING for him, I hate being so ignorent of his works !!

      Blessings and I hope you had a lovely Easter.

      P. S. I am glad you lovethe new cover, I love it too :)

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  3. Lord Peter: "Whose Body?" is the first of all his tales, so perhaps best start with that one. Bear in mind: Sayers - for all her stalward and brilliant articulations of spiritual matters in her non-fiction writings - does not intend for Lord Peter to ever come across as a 'Christian' character. The author fulfills her responsibility as a writer before God by writing a rip-roaring good mystery with a brilliant human-frail hero, not a paragon of spiritual virtue. Just a warning to moderate your expectations, in case you have read any of her non-fiction.

    Flannery O'Connor: If this is your first exposure - especially given what I've seen of the majority of your preferred readings and some of the reviews - then I would caution you to be very ... I don't know if careful is the word. I suppose what I mean is, BRACE YOURSELF. Don't go into it cold turkey. Flannery is haarrrrd. I have avoided her most of my literary life because she is almost impossible to do justice to as a reader. It might be worth it to delve into the identity of the author before you sink into the (seemingly) bottomless slough of her fiction. I recommend "Mystery & Manners," any of her letters, or even a biography - Jonathan Rogers has written a smashingly good one called "The Terrible Speed of Mercy" which is a fairly easy, light read as far as biographies go and deals a lot with her writings and perspectives. Her trademark explanation of her own works was to show grace through the absence of it. Naturally, this does not make for the most pleasant or understandable read. Also, she writes with the honesty of a post-US-Civil-War southern writer during a period of bigotry and spiritual poverty, and she can be painfully true to her time on this point. She calls it the "Christ-haunted South," and many of her works are just that: haunted by spiritual truth, rather than beautifully illuminated (which, let's be honest, most of us would prefer to read). But if you can take it easy and try to get to know her a little first, I think maybe she would be a little more understandable. I would go for "Mystery & Manners" first myself.

    I am not overly fond of Madeleine L'Engle. I like "A Wrinkle in Time" best, and most of that is sentimental attachment. But it is considered a classic, and definitely her best work (which, I am sorry to say, does speak very highly about her other works - the more obscure they are, the more the reason for their obscurity).

    I cannot recommend "Little Dorrit," "The Princess & The Goblin," or "The Gammage Cup" from the second list highly enough.

    Also, have you heard of Elizabeth Goudge? She strikes me as being just down your alley - her style and subject-matter are lovely, and she maintains a level of clear spiritual-truth throughout her books without being tedious or overbearing. I have read her "Green Dolphin Street" and "The Scent of Water" and recommend them both, if you can find them; they can be difficult to obtain. I have a few other of her works I have not yet read; at a glance-through, they appear equally charming and worthy to the two I have read, and I think most (if not all) her works would suit you. ^.^

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    1. Wow, thank you so much for your thoughtful and helpful comment/review of these books, Anna - you don't know how I appreciate that :). Also, many of your thoughts, especially on Flannery O'Conner's writings brought a smile of understanding to my face, and I even showed your comment to my Daddy who first introduced me to her (we both have yet to read any of her fiction works). Ah, that is a vivid image right there - I can see where O'Conner was coming from, and knowing the background of her era helps too I am sure, but I am now revaluating my idea of reading her stories at this stage of my literary journey. As to her own life I know my Daddy has got that biography for her by Jonothan Rogers in his library so I will try to pick it up sometime. I appreciate your warning about the difficulty of reading O'Conner's works, though. I can see I really have to be emotionally ready to get my soul a little scuffled, disturbed and breathless first ;). I don't know if I currently have the courage for that !!. Yes, it is a fascinating method she used to witness to her faith, though I agree it is not the way we'd all prefer reading about God's grace in a story. I read/heard somewhere also how she wrote the grotesque in her stories to give the reader the thirst for beauty. Is "Mystery and Manners" a work of fiction or nonfiction? I will try to look that up!

      As for Sayers' Lord Peter stories, I will definitely keep that in mind. I am currently reading "The Mind of the Maker" (a brilliant book and very inspiring), and in it Sayers herself brings up the issue of her character's morality. I am not vexed he is not a Christian, but I am curious as to how far things go in reference to morality (affairs and how much details given)...? Perhaps that would be my one concern for my eagerness to read her 'rip-roaring' mysteries!!

      Though I have never heard of Elizabeth Goudge till you mentioned her here, I did a bit of a search online for her and her works, and I became very excited! Ah, indeed, she definitely seems to be the kind of author I would find an affinity with and be just my sort :). I love novels of courage, faith and sacrifice and love, and when written for youth and by a twentieth century author from England... Hmm, yes, I will definitely have to look her up!! I feel like you have drawn a pretty accurate picture of my general book-tastes, Anna :). I am a classic at heart, but neither am I a fluffy-Anne-of-Green-Gables-Type of reader (my favorite heroines are such as Margaret Hale, Arwen, Eyown, Jane Eyre, Molly Gibson, Pollyanna, Avaris ... :). Reading of suffering characters is something I am familiar with and learn the best from! If it is anything to go by, I grew up having Dad and Mum read to my sisters and me biographies such as The Hiding Place, God's Smuggler, The Diary of David Brainard, and Richard Wurmbrand's Tortured For Christ....

      Fiction had to be exceptional to measure up!! :)

      But I am glad to discover those that come close :)!!

      God bless and thank you again so much for commenting and giving me those hints. It is lovely to have you on Fullness of Joy!!

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  4. (This is the third time I've tried commenting. O.o)

    Happy Easter, Joy m'dear!

    I still occasionally forget that your seasons are opposite to ours. I'm sitting here thinking, "Autumn?! Whaaat??!!!". Our weather up here has been ridiculous lately too. What with tornadoes, 80 mile hr. winds (128.74752 km), and snow... I can hardly wait 'til the regular rainstorms start and everything begins to grow and turn green. :) *is quite fond of winter too* Though ours are very different from yours. ;)

    Oh, my goodness. That. Cover. Is. Gorgeous. O.O Talk about eye-candy... it's perfect, Joy! I would buy a book with a cover like that. Hands down. Emily did a beautiful job. :) ^_^

    I loved the ALTNF snippets! Maybe you could share some more with your Samwise? :kitteneyes:
    "I actually got to write some scenes from later sections of the book... and it just made me warm back to the characters, and foresee more character and plot developments which, in a rubbing-your-hand-gleefully sort of way, is very emotional, dramatic... and uhm, heart-breaking."
    I know what you mean, girly. That's exactly how I feel about the Runners series right now. I've thought up some thrilling, heart-wrenching plot twists and I can scarcely wait to sink my teeth into them. Figuratively speaking. ;) I'm looking forward to finding out more about ALTNF and Jane and Ernest. ^_^ I also find Amelia's character very intriguing. :)

    To answer your question: I've really enjoyed the blog interviews, and, I for one, would be happy to see more.
    *loves the Snoopy comic* xD I'll be praying you'll get the chance to do more writing, dear. =) <3

    Ahhh, book stuffage! *happy sigh* I haven't read any of the works by any of the authors that you mentioned, other than "The Sign of the Beaver" by Elizabeth George Speare.
    Five books?

    • The Railway Children. (One of my comfort reads. So charming, and British. ^_^)
    • Never. (Must. Read. This. It's thought-provoking, inspiring, intriguing, heart-wrenching.... be prepared to cry. Also have a glass of water nearby whilst you read it.)
    • To Kill A Mockingbird. (Oh, Joy. Read it. Just read it. It's that good. But, be warned Scout does tend to swear.)
    • The Old-fashioned Girl. (Another one of my Comfort Reads. Give it a whirl, lovely. You'll like it. :))
    • Firmament: Book One and Two. (I want you to meet August and Andi. *nodsnods* Especially August. ;))

    Random, rambly posts make me happy, mon Joyful-ness. ^_^ *huggles* <333

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    1. Heheho, here I am to reply to your sweet comment at long last, Annie sweet :).

      Yes, it is a little confusing with the Topsy-Turvy weather differences between us! But since writing this post, the weather has cooled down a great deal, and from checking your weather forecast and ours, we are often very similar, you in late spring and us in late autumn. We had a real cold chill this past week!

      Don't you think Emily did a smashing job with that cover image for ALTNF? I agree!! And I am so glad that you think so too. . . I am definitely gonna keep this cover for inspiration in the future if/when I ever need to decide/choose/work on a cover image. I am in love with the planes ;).

      Aww, it makes me so very happy that you liked my few ALTNF snippets! I would definitely love to share more with you, though I am in a quandary over which ones would be best. :p I am considering participating in a Chatterbox post involving either a scene when Jane is little, or a scene with Ernest and his friend. :) maybe I can send that along to you!! Okay, dear? <3 Amelia is a bit of a pickle to understand by the way ;)

      Yayy, "heart-wrenching plot twists" in the Runners series? Hurrah! :) I am mighty happy you are enjoying working on this series, Annie. 'Tis a story that makes me long to read it!!

      And now to the book-business, :)

      I have watched The Railway Children several times, and totally love the story! I also once borrowed the book from the library but had to return it before I had the chance to read much into it. It is a book I definitely want to own/read!!

      I long to read J. Grace Pennington's stories - Never has especially intruiged me, so, yes, I would love to try that one out. Also her science-fiction books. I sure want to read them, especially when my lovely friends keep on highly recommending them to me ;).

      Annie, Annie! I just bought 'To Kill A Mocking Bird' from my local bookstore, and I am very excited about reading that! Onlyvthing was that i bought it at rather a dear price, and it has deprived me from getting Little Dorrit, which I had been meaning to buy. . . :p. I bet it must be worth it though!

      I really should read Louisa May Alcott's other stories. Thanks, Annie, yes I am definitely going to try reading Old Fashioned Girl sometime.

      Thank you so much for your lovely book recommendations. It helped so much :).

      Love you, my sweet friend <3!!

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  5. Lovely post, Joy, dear! :)
    I agree! It's high time winter proper came along...But it's not that bad now. There's lots to be grateful for, especially for the rain!

    Love the pictures you put in this post...the staff meeting...Snoopy...the girl with glasses and the cat...yes, that's so much like you :) ...oh, and that book cover...It.Is.Amazing! Great Job, Emily :)

    My! What a book list! *sigh* can't wait to get the time to do more reading...I know I've been saying that rather forever! :)

    ~Sarah
    ofsimplethings-sarah.blogspot.com

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  6. Rambly posts are good, so you needn't worry, dear. ^.^ I love the random Pinterest pictures thrown in. And I'm so happy you like the cover! I'm looking forward to more Fullness of Joy posts. ^.^ And five books? Challenge accepted.

    :: The Railway Children. (I second Annie's comment--definitely a comfort read; charming and British.)
    :: Never. (I haven't read this yet, but I want to!)
    :: Radialloy. (Love. this. book.)
    :: To Kill a Mockingbird. (Just 'cause. And I'm going to call my future daughter Scout.)
    :: The Witch of Blackbird Pond. (I really love this book. And Nat. I love Nat.)

    Now I'm really longing to go drag out our worn down copy of Sign of the Beaver. I haven't read it in the longest time, and I don't remember exactly what all happens in it. ^.^ Except the bees. I remember the bees. But I'll hush now and let you read it peaceably. ;)

    Have a happy day, my dear Joyfulishness!

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    1. Emily dear, I took the liberty of reposting your comment here through an open ID/URL. Hope you don't mind but I really wanted to respond to your lovely comment!

      You know, I have watched The Railway Children films, and it is such a sweet favorite story. I love it! I really want to buy/read that one ^_^.

      Radiolly. I really must read that book, mustn't I? :)

      You will be jolly happy to know I have got my own copy of To Kill A Mocking Bird now :). I can't wait to read it!! Woaw, isn't Scout the father or is it the little girl? Is the black-and-white movie adaption with Gregory Peck good too?

      I loved Elizabeth George Speare's The Bronze Bow novel, so I definitely want to read more of her books!

      Thanks, Em darling! I highly appreciate your commendations <3 :)

      Aww, thank you so much! You are a beautiful and very special friend, Emily! <3

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  7. Well, hello, Joy! It's been a while since I've been around--and I wanted to comment on this one! So I hope you'll forgive my tardiness.

    Choosing books--so hard. I'm currently agonizing over several, and I made a list of all the books I want to read right now which came to the staggering total of 72. Or maybe more. Must keep on truckin'--and I'm currently enjoying a re-read of Cranford, by Elizabeth Gaskell. A most delightful book.

    Here are my five recommendations from your list:

    Little Dorrit
    The Princess and the Goblin
    James Herriot
    Old-Fashioned Girl
    Ivanhoe

    And James Herriot (though he has some language), or Little Dorrit would be my top two suggestions. James Herriot is so charming, and has such beautiful characterizations--he constantly has you in stitches, or near tears (in a good, cozy, non-gut-wrenching kind of way.) Actually, I've never read the Princess and the Goblin, come to think of it, but I did read its sequel, the Princess and the Curdie, which I enjoyed very much. Someday maybe I'll get around to the Goblin one. But Curdie was very good, as far as I recall. :)

    Oh, I read a lot of the Lord Peter books. To quite honest, I personally decided to stop reading them. Every story I read had mention of an affair/adultery in it to varying degrees, even his brother at one point I believe. So that's a theme you'll want to know about going into it. He's funny--but he likes to spice up his language quite often as well. So just an fyi!

    Looking forward to your Stengl review in a few days! :)

    Love,
    Schuyler

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    1. Dear Schuyler, I am always loving your lovely, in-depth comments, and I am always looking forward to your thoughts ;)

      (P. S. I have been a bit of an online hermit these past two weeks, but I hope to comment on yours soon, Lord willing!)

      Wow!! I definitely know the feeling. Talking about the books I own that are high on my to-read list are about 50 books. . . the ones including those I don't own go into the hundreds, I fear ;). Ah, Cranford!! I read your excellent review on that by the way. I have that book resting on my shelf and I hope to pick it up sometime. I love the BBC miniseries Cranford, and Return to Cranford. They are so special! Only. . . there so many of my favourite characters who die (wails sadly).

      I love the selections you have given, Schuyler. They are among my own special 'wish-lists' as well- especially Little Dorrit (I KNEW you'd mention that one ;), Ivanhoe and The Princess and the Goblin! Oh, I need to read his works more too.

      I really want to read a James Herriot book - thanks for the thumbs up for him! I have had more than once a friend recommending his stories. I shall try to get my hand on one of his books soon ^_^.

      I have been aware about the 'secular-ness' of Dorothy L. Sayers' mysteries. . . and I am meaning not to enter her stories in cold turkey, as they say. And yet, if the language is not too lurid, and morality not taken to a too great detail, I would really like to try out her works. Have you read any of Sayers' nonfiction books? I just finished reading 'The Mind of the Maker' and I highly recommend that. It takes a good look on the creative mind, the Trinity, and how man has been created in God's Image, and his desire for creativity is a reflection of the divine and a God-given desire. It was really thought-provoking. But still, she herself admits she did not make the character of her pen a model of Christian virtue!

      Thank you so much

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"Gracious words are like a honeycomb; sweetness to the soul and health to the body..." ~Proverbs 16:24

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