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Glittering Images Hardcover – Oct 1987


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 399 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred a Knopf (Oct. 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394562062
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394562063
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.3 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,784,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Susan Howatch may well be the Anthony Trollope of the 20th century. Howatch is more than just a novelist of ideas… She is a skilled storyteller who makes the reader wonder, and care about her people.' ANDREW GREELEY, Washington Post

'Rich in human interest, sex, scandal, moral crises and a good deal of humour, it is a book to keep you hooked throughout' Sunday Times

'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

'Susan Howatch… is writing for anyone who can recognise that mysterious gift of the true storyteller.' Daily Telegraph

'One of the most original novelists writing today' Cosmopolitan
'Howatch's outstanding gifts as storyteller are combined here with a new seriousness of theme; the result is a superior novel.' Publishers Weekly

'One of the most original novelists writing today' Cosmopolitan

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 70 people found the following review helpful By mrs_mermaid@delphi.com on 4 Dec. 2001
Format: Paperback
After writing 5 highly successful family sagas Susan Howatch had a spiritual experience which converted her to Christianity. She then embarked on the series of six novels which were later to be known as the Starbridge books; she had lived herself for some time in the Cathedral Close at Salisbury, and her fictional town Starbridge is actually Salisbury. Just as her family sagas were written in a multi-person first-person narrator format, so was the Starbridge series, but this time each narrator gets a whole book instead of only a section of one!
Glittering Images is the first book in the series. I had already read al five of the family sagas before I had the courage to start on Starbridge; I saw had the courage because I was sure that a whole series of books set in the Church of England could not help but be stuffy and priggish. But this of course is Susan Howatch, a master storyteller. And these books are considered by many to be an enormous step forward.
I found the depth of character found in all the Starbridge even more impressive than in the sagas. She shows not only an extraordinarily deep understanding of the human condition, she also shows great compassion and warmth for all her characters so that even if they have weaknesses and make mistakes, we can nevertheless forgive and love them.
In the first trilogy of books. Set in the 1930's and 1940's, each of the three narrators is stripped down and turned inside out, so that the reader knows all there is to know about them.
In this first book we first meet Charles Ashworth, who will be a major player in the series. Charles has conservative leanings and a Middle Way churchmanship.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Scholastica on 31 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback
Set in an ecclesiastical environment just before WW2, the fabric of this story is woven around an exploration of the both the psychology of power within the Church of England and the importance of personal integrity in the Church ministry. I loved it.

The story opens as Charles Ashworth is sent on a spying mission by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Is all as it should be in the household of the Bishop of Starbridge? Charles is himself on the edge of crisis and as certain things in the Bishop's household conspire to send him over the edge, all manner of secrets and repressed feelings are exposed and explored. As the story develops the term 'Glittering Image' comes to refer to the need for a person to present a brilliant exterior to the world at the expense of being honest about their relationships with themselves and their relationships with others.

Despite the ecclesiastical backdrop and the apparently heavy subject matter, this is not heavy reading. It is, however, very thought provoking. As Charles Ashworth moves further into personal crisis, he seeks spiritual counselling and the dialogue between him and his spiritual counsellor was for me, some of the most compelling in the book. With all the appearance of flippancy, Susan Howatch manages to convey some subtly important messages. Definitely a book to shout about.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Helen W on 22 Feb. 2001
Format: Paperback
Susan Howatch's ability to spin a good yarn is well known. Add to that the complexities of the Church of England and characters who have a realistic relationship with God (what a refreshing idea!) and you get this un-put-downable novel. I've recommended it to all my friends, and my husband - all have loved it.
And don't forget to read the rest of the Starbridge Novels after this cracking opener...
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Persephone on 2 May 2006
Format: Paperback
A series of novels spanning several decades in the Church of England may not sound like a gripping read. But Howatch's Starbridge series is a great accomplishment - the writing is insightful and absorbing, the characters beautifully observed and the storylines make for compulsive reading. Perhaps most impressive is that her characters' spirituality is realistic and encouraging, and her theology is sound. If you're looking for a good read, this will fit the bill. If you're looking for a refreshing (but grounded and considered) take on faith and belief, this series could be profoundly helpful.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on 23 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
This series of books are not my usuall choice of reading but I find that I am most INTRIGUED by the inside of the lives behind men of the Church of England.There are 6 books in the series,I am on the third and cant finish it soon enough to get on to the next one.Susan Howatch is a great story teller and the poeple she writes about become real to me as they appear in each succesive book.Cannot reccomend them enough.
Hilda C.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jane Gibb on 13 April 2003
Format: Hardcover
Glittering Images, along with the other five books of the Starchester chronicles, portrays with eerie clarity the seldom seen inner workings of the Church of England. This is like one of those books from childhood when your open the pages and the pictures stand up in three dimensions.
Susan Howatch manages to have me siding with first one character and then the other; I'm swept along in a swirling grasp of surprise and wonderment as these real life people manipulate my beliefs. It's a thrilling ride.
Anyone who thinks that religion is boring should read this book and its partners.
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