Never read anything like it

January 15, 2010 | My Jottings

I started a book a few weeks ago on the recommendation of someone whose book taste I like. The book is over 600 pages long and began slowly, but I persisted because of the referral. I just finished it last night. I couldn’t get to sleep right away so wanted to read the final two chapters without disturbing Michael sleeping beside me. I reached over and quietly took out a little flashlight in my nightstand drawer, put on my glasses, and read in bed until just after midnight, when I regretfully turned the last page.

In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden, was like no other book I’ve ever read. A work of fiction based on a real abbey in England, it’s a detailed and fascinating look into the monastic lives of contemplative Benedictine nuns. The women entered the abbey prepared to give their lives completely to God, and lived literal lives of prayer, which I find intriguing and compelling, even though I’m not Catholic.

The various nuns the reader becomes acquainted with are young and virginal, older and widowed, selfish and prideful, homely and insecure, formerly rich and powerful, beautiful and angelic, gifted and wise, and all in process of learning what it means to serve their God above all else. Some find that they cannot make the sacrifices, and leave Brede Abbey before taking their solemn vows.

It took over a hundred pages of reading before I began to understand how the author was crafting this book and developing her characters, but once I got the feel for it, I couldn’t put it down. I was deeply touched and awed many times, and had to lay the book on my chest, close my eyes and let a few tears fall.

Whether or not you’re a believer, if you would like a rich, different reading experience, your library should have this book, and you should check it out soon.

Strange and silly as this sounds, I feel almost bereft at the thought of no longer being able to savor this book at the end of the day.



  1. laurie says:

    this book was also made into a movie, years ago, starring Diana Rigg. i remember it as an exceptional film, but i don’t know if it would disturb your views of the book, or augment them.

  2. Just Julie says:

    I just recently learned this, Laurie, and am hoping to find it somewhere. I always prefer reading a book first, and letting it inform the movie, rather than the movie informing a book I read later. 🙂 Thank you for your comments!

  3. Pat says:

    Thanks for the recommendation. I’m going to look for it the next time I’m at the library. Your jottings add a brightness to my day, though I must admit I am a touch envious. How I wish I could write like that!

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