I’m really excited to welcome author Angela Wren today who is here to talk about her favorite scene from a book called ‘In this House of Brede’ by Rumer Godden.
Angela has written her own book Messandrierre – the first in a new crime series featuring investigator, Jacques Forêt.
Messandrierre was published by Crooked Cat Publishing in December, 2015 and is currently available in Kindle format.
For background information on Angela, see her bio and book blurb below.
Having followed a career in Project and Business Change Management, I now work as an Actor and Director at a local theatre. I’ve been writing, in a serious way, for about 5 years. My work in project management has always involved drafting, so writing, in its various forms, has been a significant feature throughout my adult life.
I particularly enjoy the challenge of plotting and planning different genres of work. My short stories vary between contemporary romance, memoir, mystery and historical. I also write comic flash-fiction and have drafted two one-act plays that have been recorded for local radio. The majority of my stories are set in France where I like to spend as much time as possible each year.
I’d be hard pressed to say that the scene I want to talk about is my favorite because it is so very sad. Read on and you’ll understand why.
The book is ‘In this House of Brede’ by Rumer Godden. Published in 1969, it is one of around 60 that Godden wrote in her long career, which ended at the age of 91 in 1998. She is perhaps best known for her novels, ‘The Greengage Summer’, ‘Black Narcissus’ and ‘An Episode of Sparrows’. All of which, along with ‘In this House of Brede’ were adapted for film, although not all of the original titles were used.
Philippa Talbot is a successful businesswoman when the story begins in London in 1954. She has a history and a torn heart but, at this point in the novel, the reader does not know why. She gives up her job to join the sisters at Brede Abbey and the story of her new life unfolds gradually along side the very clever drip-feed of what happened to her son, Keith. In chapter 12 Philippa finally explains herself to Abbess Catherine.
‘It began with a nugget…’ she says. The nugget being gold and her son Keith and Darrell, a young friend, seeking adventure in an old mine whilst the adults were enjoying a lunch party in the garden. The ensuing description of Darrell’s return to the adults without Keith, the rush of grown-ups to find the missing boy, the realization in Philippa’s mind of what might have happened, the desperate search in the mine and the recognition of voices between separated mother and son is one of the most moving pieces of writing that I ever come across.
Keith was trapped at the bottom of a short shaft and over the three days that he was there with the local men who were trying to rescue him, Philippa never once moved from her spot at the top of the shaft and never stopped calling and speaking to her son. By the end of the chapter you know the child suffered greatly as he waited. And there is one very simple sentence, which I believe, absolutely no one can read without being brought to tears. It is at this point the Philippa admits that she should have left the mine and let the men recover the body out of her sight.
I have read this book several times and I have never been able to get through those seven pages in Chapter 12 without a hanky. However, the final outcome of the book is happier and Philippa had to exorcise her grief and this particular scene is a masterpiece despite the sadness of the content.
As you can probably work out from the cover, my copy is a first edition. I it picked up in an old bookshop for a fraction of its true value. But, if you want to read the book, you can get a paperback copy for as little as 1p on Amazon. A seriously insulting price, in my view, when you consider the artistry and word-smithing evident in chapter 12 alone!
I can only aspire to write as well as Godden, but my current novel is also available on Amazon!
Sacrificing his job in investigation following an incident in Paris, Jacques Forêt has only a matter of weeks to solve a series of mysterious disappearances as a Gendarme in the rural French village of Messandrierre.
If, like me, you are a fan of great detective stories, do yourself a favor and pick up this book, it’s that good! Amazon 5 Star Reviewer
But, as the number of missing persons rises, his difficult and hectoring boss puts obstacles in his way. Steely and determined, Jacques won’t give up and, when a new Investigating Magistrate is appointed, he becomes the go-to local policeman for all the work on the case.
Will he find the perpetrators before his lover, Beth, becomes a victim?
Messandrierre – the first in a new crime series featuring investigator, Jacques Forêt.
There are many twists and turns before the book ends … The author keeps us guessing throughout. Five Star Amazon reviewer
Why not visit Angela at her links below: