A blog where families who love and live the Catholic Faith can share, encourage and support each other.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sharing Adult Fiction: In This House of Brede

Written by Sue Elvis

I'm always on the look out for good books to read. Maybe you like to hear other people's book recommendations too. I am hoping we can share a few of our favourite adult fiction novels here on this blog . To start us off, I'd like to tell you about one book I recently read and enjoyed: In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden

Firstly, I have to admit that sometimes I find it difficult to sit down and concentrate on a novel. I never used to be like this. Unless the story is gripping, my mind wanders away. But Rumer Godden's novel certainly held my attention. 

I’d heard of the movie version, and even bought the DVD, but I didn’t want to watch it until I’d read the book.  I always like to read books versions first. Does anyone else like to do this?

I discovered the book was available from The Book Depository so I ordered my copy and waited for its arrival with anticipation. Here’s the book description from The Book Depository website:

"A novel of sensitive dedication." --"The Atlantic Monthly""Rumer Godden deals precisely with the theme of the religious life . . . as representing 'the heart of holiness of the Church.' It is at once a life of great peace and often equally intense struggle." --"America" magazine This extraordinarily sensitive and insightful portrait of religious life centers on Philippa Talbot, a highly successful professional woman who leaves her life among the London elite to join a cloistered Benedictine community. In this gripping narrative of the crises surrounding the ancient Brede abbey, Rumer Godden penetrates to the mysterious, inner heart of a religious community--a place of complexity and conflict, as well as joy and love. It is a place where Philippa, to her own surprise and her friends' astonishment, finds her life by losing it.

I was especially interested in the setting of the book, the Benedictine Abbey, as our eldest daughter spent two years with the Benedictines, and I know a little about the life of these contemplative nuns. The book, however would appeal to everyone, not just readers interested in the religious life. It contains truths we all seek. I think we can all identify with its themes.

The characters are so very interesting. Although the main characters are nuns unlike most of us, they are dealing with the same issues as lay people: They have their virtues but also their faults; they strive for holiness, they sometimes fall, they pick themselves up, they have their moments of success and of joy; they experience sorrow and love; they have to live and work together which is not always easy...

I am not going to tell you anything about the actual plot. I'll let you discover that for yourself. I will just say it is an involving story.

I hope you’re thinking, “That sounds a wonderful read. I must find a copy!” Before ordering one though, check your local library. Ours has a number of Rumer Godden's books stored 'out the back' in the stacks.

Now that I've finished the book, I must get around to watching the DVD version. I just looked at the Amazon site and they are advertising the DVD for $59.99 which seems enormously expensive. If you're in Australia though, The Mustard Seed Bookshop has copies for only $9.95.

If you do read the book, let me know what you think. And please share your own favourite fiction books. 

I know Erin at Seven Little Australians and Counting is a huge book lover. Maybe she would like to tell us about one of her favourites.

You can find more of my posts at my blogs Sue Elvis Writes and The Elvis Homeschool Journal. Please visit!


  1. Absolutely LOVED This House of Brede!
    Aw gee, are you after religious themed? Cause I love Louis de Whol's saints books. Or if you are after a similar feel to Rumer Godden I'ds suggest Elizabeth Goudge's books.

    1. Erin,

      Please share ANY fiction book you have enjoyed (if you have time!)

      I love Elizabeth Goudge's books too. I think any Catholic can identify with the thoughts and themes in her novels despite the fact she was an Anglican clergyman's daughter. Actually I was quite surprised to find out Elizabeth Goudge wasn't a Catholic!