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The story of one woman's faith-journey.
on 28 May 2000
"Bronwen Astor, Her Life and Times" by Peter Stanford
Peter Stanford's carefully crafted book gives us an insight into the life of Bronwen Astor, spanning almost seven decades. The name of Astor conjures up so many images including that of Nancy Astor, Bronwen's mother-in-law, who was the first woman to sit in Parliament, but the name is also associated in the mind of the nation with the Profumo Affair which after the court case in the early sixties was responsible for bringing down the Macmillan government of the day.
This book successfully focuses on the facts of the events which occurred at Cliveden in the sixties and manages to separate these facts from the fiction which has been portrayed in the various reports and dramatic presentations since the case. History has not been kind to Bill Astor, Bronwen's husband; this biography puts the record straight more than thirty years after his death.
However, there is another aspect to the book which is of equal importance. This is the story of one woman's faith-journey. We learn of her early spiritual experiences as a child and later during the years when she trained as a drama teacher, through the time when she modelled in the fashion world and became a T.V. announcer, thus becoming one of the faces of the era. She did not ignore what she recognised as a call from God. She discovered the true meaning of real unconditional love, something she bestowed on her husband, thus teaching him about it for the first time in his life.
When left a widow with two young daughters, she faced the challenge of being forced to leave Cliveden, always putting her trust in God. Peter Stanford's real understanding of Bronwen's character, enables him to convey accurately the details of her journey into faith and her eventual reception into the Roman Catholic Church. The photographs included in this volume, both of family and from the world of fashion, enrich this fascinating book. _ _ _ _ Reviewed by Eileen T. Godfrey.