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Glamorous Powers [Paperback]

Susan Howatch
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
Price: 11.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

4 Oct 2010

Reissue of the author’s most famous and well-loved work, the Starbridge series, six self-contained yet interconnected novels that explore the history of the Church of England through the 20th century.

Jon Darrow, a man with psychic powers, is a man who has played many parts: a shady faith-healer; a naval chaplain, a passionate husband, an awkward father, an Anglo-Catholic monk.
In 1940 Darrow returns to the world he once renounced, but faced with many unforeseen temptations he fails to control his psychic, most glamorous powers. Corruption lies in wait for him, and threatens not only his future as a priest but his happiness with Anne, the young woman he has come to love.

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Glamorous Powers + Ultimate Prizes + Glittering Images
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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; (Reissue) edition (4 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000649692X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006496922
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 13 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 117,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


'Glamorous Powers is a brave and welcome new direction for Susan Howatch to take' Observer

'An intriguing and wholly involving story' New York Times Book Review

'This novel marks a remarkable departure for Susan Howatch' Today

'Howatch writes thrillers of the heart and mind … everything in a Howatch novel cuts close to the bone and is of vital concern' New Woman

'A mesmerising storyteller' Daily Telegraph

'One of the most original novelists writing today' Cosmopolitan

'She is a deft storyteller, and her writing has depth, grace and pace' Sunday Times

About the Author

Susan Howatch was born in Surrey in England. After taking a degree in law at King's College, London, she emigrated to America where she married, had a daughter, and embarked on her career as a writer. In 1976 she separated from her husband, left America and lived in the Republic of Ireland for four years before returning to England. While living in a flat overlooking Salisbury Cathedral and "trying to hold my divided self together", she found herself inspired by the beauty of the cathedral and became a convert. She wondered if she should continue producing romantic novels. Instead, she wrote the series of six Starbridge novels about the Church of England in the 20th century, all of which reflect her own spiritual crises.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mysterious Characterisation 13 Feb 2006
By William Cohen VINE VOICE
Susan Howatch's stories are very weird. Her characters have tempestuous spiritual lives. I mentioned that I had read her novels to a man who was an assistant to former Archbishop Runcie. Runcie supposedly said they were good stories, but nonsense.
Having known Runcie a tiny bit, I found that quite disappointing. Surely he should know if some of his priests have psychic powers?
Howatch's world of demons, exorcisms, hypnosis, visions and healings is thrilling. She makes religious experience intensely dramatic. She expresses something of the inner turmoil and confusion we all feel but it is not practical or possible often to communicate to others.
The fact that a marriage or a family life can have one narrative, but look under the surface and there are many different narratives, is certainly true. That we have to revise our interpretation of events in our lives when we acquire self-knowledge is also absolutely spot on. Are the bits about resurrecting cats from the dead and premonitions of the future, literary devices that just bring out those facts with more clarity? I'm not sure. In our own minds we can identify strange inklings, but of course we tend to forget the inklings which turned to be absurd. Howatch is actually good at showing that we can fulfil our own premonitions by literally creating them through our own efforts.
I'm glad the Archbishop of Canterbury isn't infallible. I'm glad too that Susan Howatch writes such complex and stimulating fiction.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved It 15 July 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this years ago and recently re-bought for my kindle. I am glad to say it has lost none of its magic.

The story starts with Jon Darrow a man who became a monk in an Anglican order 17 years ago becoming convinced that he is being called by God to re-join the world in a as yet unspecified way. The book combines a love story,(yes incl. sex but not graphic) a journey of spiritual discovery and psycho-analysis as Jon faces up to the failures of his past and his relationships with his parents and children. The "Glamorous Powers" of the title are Jon's psychic powers. I particuarly like the way this aspect of the story is handled -although his abilities are genuine they are not exaggerated and do not provide magic answers to problems. As Ingram his spiritual advisor points out -for every genuine psychic insight Jon has he makes two wild inaccurate guesses. Despite the unlikely premise the story is a believable one and the main character despite his obvious character flaws is a symapathetic one. This story will appeal particularly to anyone interested in the mystical aspects of religion but it is definitely a story not a sermon.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A taste of something different 4 July 1999
By A Customer
Like GLITTERING IMAGES, the first of the Starbridge novels, GLAMOROUS POWERS is compulsive reading for anyone with an interest in the Church of England during the mid-twentieth century. It illustrates well how supernatural gifts can be misused but also, how by the grace of God, situations can be redeemed and transformed. I liked the idea of a monk who, at sixty, didn't consider himself to be a young man but, released from his vows, nevertheless managed to find love and happiness. Susan Howatch is a much better author than I am, and her subject matter had obvoiusly been well researched. The only criticsm that might be ventured is the lack of reference to the constraints imposed by wartime conditions. More in the way of refrence to those circumstances would make a book set in 1940 rather more authentic.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of insight 4 Dec 2001
The second in the series of Starbridge books - Glamorous Powers - is the one I liked the best. IN this book we get to know Jon Darrow, who figured in the first volume Glittering Images as Charles Ashworth's spiritual director, more intimately. Whereas in Glamorous powers, seen through Charles Ashworth's eyes, he was the perfect super priest who knew everything, here we actually get under Jon's skin and see him as he sees himself: as a flawed, confused man with many problems, in particular concerning his relationship with women. Jon had spent several years in a monastery as a monk, but now, in his sixties, he receives a calling from God to leave the monastery and fulfil a mission in the world - but he doesn't know what. Nor is he certain if that mission includes marriage.
For anyone with an interest in Gnosticism and mysticism, this is a particularly interesting book - but such an interest is definitely not a pre-condition for reading and enjoying it! I'm not the only Howatch reader to have this as their favourite in the series. I've opened an online discussion and reading group based on the Howatch novels; if you are interested in joining please mail me!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb novel 7 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Excellent book on very difficult issues, eg personal insight and recognition of errors, damage of guilt etc. Most interesting too on the differing views of the Church of England, its problems of dogma and differing schools of thought. A very shrewd look at the personal and psychological problems facing priests . A very thoughtful novel looking at an area of religion, ie psychic powers, that must by its very nature create much conflict and debate.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I very much enjoy reading Susan Howatch's books. Her profound sense of place and the deep analysis of emotional and spiritual states of her main character are impressive. As we get to know the main character, his spiritual and emotional trials and tribulations hold our attention and we all can identify with his struggle to bridge the discrepancies between 'how he should feel and behave as a clergy' and 'how he actually feels and behaves'. As a psychological and spiritual study this book doesn't disappoint. It disappoints slightly by being fairly similar to the first book in the series and I found at times that I wished it would move a bit faster.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars possibly my favourite book
Found myself endlessly fretting and worrying about poor John Darrow as I read this book first many years ago. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Rev. H. J. Crompton
3.0 out of 5 stars Worse spelling than the Guardian!
Excellent book spoiled only by the awful spelling mistakes in the kindle text. For example instead of 'die' the word 'the' was used - very confusing. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Jane Hansford
5.0 out of 5 stars Glamorous Powers a crie de coeur for religion
Susa Howatch writes highly intelligent books about flawed human beings caught up in endless struggles with themselves and their adversaries not least with the devil and all his... Read more
Published 27 days ago by Joanna Kingston
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard going
At the beginning a bit boring and nearly didn't finish it as a too bit psychological for me but got better towards the end
Published 1 month ago by C Robinson
5.0 out of 5 stars AGAIN HOWARTH AT HER BEST!
Published 1 month ago by Bruce K walker
5.0 out of 5 stars Glamorous Powers
Rereading this work after many years and with the experience that those years bring was an enjoyable and enlightening undertaking. Read more
Published 2 months ago by ian w wallace
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic story
I have enjoyed the first of the trilogy. This did not disappoint me. I can't wait to read the third. I can thoroughly recommend it
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. N. E. Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Series
Yet again, this has not failed to be a totally fascinating read. Susan Howatch has the ability to keep the reader gripped from chapter to chapter.
Published 3 months ago by Christine J Pierce
5.0 out of 5 stars Glamouros Images
i have always loved this series of books by Susan Howatch. i rad them all every 2 years and enjoy them each time. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Dot Lodge
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
This book was one of the star bridge series which gave me a new interest in Christianity. Not preachy, but fascinating.
Published 6 months ago by Sadie Mills
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