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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 28 March 2005
I loved this book! I found it a wonderful demonstration of how everyday events are by far the most magical. The main characters are intensely memorable in their conciousness of the relationship that is forming between them, against all proper codes of conduct in 19th Century Britain - it illustrates perfectly that we do not choose who we love.. There are some books I guard carefully and this will certainly be one of them.
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on 28 February 2008
Sue Gee has created here a love story with true depth of feeling, displaying the sometimes darker side of country life in Victorian England. A melody of prose surrounds her central character, a young curate sent to assist an ailing vicar at a Herefordshire parish in the winter of 1860.

The young Richard Allen, still mourning his father's recent death, displays a genuine love for his God, his family whom he has left behind, the rural community he is to serve, and the countryside around his new basic and rustic home. However, all of his simple and profound ideals are challenged when he falls helplessly in love with a young married woman of important social standing. There is a wonderful purity and innocence to this love, and yet the young curate clearly also has a geniune talent for his vocation serving God... a very difficult predicament to be in and you can only feel sympathy for this young idealistic man.

The story is beautifully told; a compelling read. You cannot rush this book - you simply have to go with it at its own pace and I slowed my, usually quick, reading pace to appreciate this novel at its best. So much more than just another historical romance, I can recommended this novel highly.
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on 5 June 2004
Sue describes local characteristics of border life with charm and a careful eye. Her setting today is an unspoilt valley, yet her narrative transports you to the period of industrial and emotional change that it was in the 1860's. She has unexpectedly highlighted a rare anomaly in the modern world. Where once there was industry there is now tranquility and calm - a setting which has moved in reverse. This is a gentle read that soothes the soul, and reminds us that bereavement, escape and the anguishes of a divided heart are not unique to us, but are the subjects borne by generations that went before in an often troubled world.
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on 28 October 2005
This is a beautiful novel expertly written. Its opening is unassuming yet immediately pulls the reader into that cold arrival into a rural winter night. The themes that the novel addresses: adultery, betrayal, religious doubt are harrowing indeed and yet these themes are delivered in a gentle, flowing style that creates an almost deam-like atmosphere and underlines Richard's increasing alienation from the life he has chosen for himself. There is no melodramma, just a haunting serenity that plays so well against Richard's mounting anguish. That said, the ending offers a superb release of much of the tension that builds up - ever so gently - over the course of the novel and Richard proves himself to be very much a hero.
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on 20 September 2008
Because it is hauntingly, beautifully written, a story of forbidden love and Victorian hypocrisy. Sue Gee's descriptions of the passing seasons in a Herefordshire country parish are exquisite, and although I am far from being a religious person, I was moved by her description of the young curate's palpable love of God and his struggles when he finds himself overwhelmed by love for a married woman. Indeed, Sue Gee has the rare gift of writing movingly, sparely, without mawkishness or awkwardness about those difficult subjects ... love, God, and sex .
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on 4 March 2016
The 'Mysteries of Glass' is the most beautiful book - right up in my top clutch of books. Who would have thought that the seemingly slow-burn story of a country parish curate taking up a new post in 1860 could create such unbearable tension. Sue Gee's writing is exceptional and a constant pleasure. I do wonder why she isn't an author on the tip of readers' tongues when our most talented contemporary writers are under discussion. For a modern theme, readers should look out for this writer's 'Reading in Bed'.
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on 6 February 2015
This is an excellent novel, beautifully written in terms of the description of the countryside, the development of the characters and the situations in which the author has placed them. The atmosphere that pervades the book is skilfully managed throughout. Add to that the cadence of the language and you have a work of art. I can endorse the reviews praising the book when it was launched, reviews written by critics well qualified to pass judgement.
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on 2 August 2010
I had previously read Sue Gee's 'Reading in Bed' and absolutely loved it. Sorry to say that 'Mysteries' was far too slow for me, and I only got to page 75 before I reluctantly had to abandon it. Surely something has to happen in 75 pages apart from endless descriptions of weather and countryside, two meals and slow discourse? On the plus side the feel of the winter and the frozen countryside WAS very well written - just a bit too much of it. Although the ethos was 'of' the mid Victorian period, writing in such a slow burning way just didn't work for this 21st century reader. Anyway, I'm in the minority so maybe I just didn't try hard enough
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on 9 June 2016
The descriptions of the countryside and scene setting in this book are exquisite, however that is very much to the detriment of the plot and character development. Or at least it is up until a quarter way through when I had to give up. The storyline is tediously slow and I found myself rolling my eyes at any religious elements, although they were at least true to the idea of a sermon - turgid, tedious, painful. I suspect that the reason this book has been so well reviewed by others is simply because of the evocative scene setting, unfortunately for me I need more than just a beautiful scene in a book, I also need something to happen in those scenes.
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on 23 August 2009
This is my fourth Sue Gee book and by far the best to date though I loved the others too! She writes with the bleakness of D.H.Lawrence at times. The love story also reminds me of 'Love for Lydia' by H.E.Bates, 'A Room with a View' by E.M.Forster and Ian McEwan's 'Chesil Beach'. I savoured every page because it was so beautifully written. The opening pages actually made me weep because the evocation of the winter scene was so movingly and yet sparely written. The reader can empathise with Richard Allen, the hero of the piece. You might expect a happy ending, a romantic ending or a tragic ending having followed the plot but the actual ending is different from any expectation. I love this book and highly recommend it to those who like a gentle and slow read rather than a fast-paced page-turner. Having said that, it is difficult to put down and I longed to read it each day. You would not think it was written by a living author but somebody from the 1800s! Simply beautiful.
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