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Grandmother and the Priests
by Taylor Caldwell | Literature & Fiction
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 5/16/2009
Average 8 star rating by BookCrossing Members 

status (set by mafarrimond): available

5 journalers for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Saturday, May 16, 2009

8 out of 10

I was glad to find this fair-condition paperback at the local Salvation Army Thrift Store, as I've read and enjoyed the book many times and can always use another copy to release.

A woman recalls the fascinating tales told around her grandmother's hearth by the priests who visited in hopes of saving the old woman's soul. The framing device is amusing - Grandmother being a feisty, willful, high-living woman who enjoyed the attention she got from the priests without ever intending to change her ways - but the stories hold the most interest. They vary from retellings of folk tales about the Devil, to amusing romances, to thorny ethical dilemmas; the point of view is strongly Catholic, but I find the tales appealing without necessarily agreeing with the pronouncements of the Church. An untried young priest in the Highlands has to face down the local laird, who has kidnapped an Englishwoman to be his bride (with results both funny and romantic); another young priest confronts the devil himself while attempting to save a young man from suicide; a prideful young man makes assumptions about fellow travelers on a train, and gets a humbling lesson. One tale deals with a murder mystery (and a jolly priest who makes an ally of a loyal hound to solve it), another with an otherworldly experience...

Caldwell does tend to romanticize the devil a bit, but I rather like her spin on things, and I find the stories entertaining and often moving.

Samples: from "Father MacBurne and the Doughty Chieftain", a young Scots priest is being rowed across a rough sea at night towards his new parish in a remote outer island, escorted by the laird of that place:

We'll never get there; we'll be lost at sea, thought Robert in despair, and fumbled for his uncle's rosary. He was now so frightened and undone that he forgot he had a queasy stomach. He listened to the hearty rowing of the men; the boats pushed into the waves, rose upon them, glided down into black and shining trenches, rose again on the moon-shining crests.

The MacDougall had been singing alone for some time and now he was singing a doleful love ballad which boomed back from the water. He was happy; his voice broke.

"Or did misfortune's bitter storms
Around thee blaw, around thee blaw,
Thy bield should be my bosom,
To share it a', to share it a'!"

Robert turned his swimming head cautiously and thought with some spite that the damsel invited to share that bosom would have yards to choose from, so broad it was, and muscular. In fact, she could set up a cot on it. But there was no doubting, as the MacDougall, continuing to offer his lady-love the might of his arm and his sword and other implements of warfare, sang as a man sings who is in love and rejoices in it.
And from "Father Thomas Weir and the Problem of Virtue," a very funny passage in which a cheerful reprobate, impressed by the young priest's nerve in standing up to the local despot, asks to join the church:
"I heard of the row ye had with the Squire, and there's a man I hate," said Mr. Ferguson, cheerfully. "A man of virtue, to turn a good man's belly. I hae known him for may a year, and never hae I seen him but what I puked. So, ye drove him off, and gave him word for word! Him, who always had the clergy crawling at his feet and whimpering like a wean."
The priest reflected as he smoked. "Now," he said, "that's an unco strange reason for wanting to enter Mother Church. Are ye a Christian, Mr. Ferguson?"
"No, thank God," said Mr. Ferguson, with gusto....
"Ye are thinking of this time in your life, Mr. Ferguson, and your immortal soul?"
"Not a damned bit of it!" said Mr. Ferguson.
The priest sat up. The man must be all of eighty. "Ye believe in God then?" said Father Tom.
"Not a bit," said Mr. Ferguson. "But I'm a man what listens. I'll listen the day to ye, my laddie, courteous as a Sassenach banker."
"Don't ye want to believe in God?" asked the priest, a little desperately.
"Now why?" asked Mr. Ferguson, all sweet reason. "What hae He ever done for me? I done it all by mysel', and I'll not tell you how." Again he chuckled and shook his head happily, remembering his youthful years.
(Later in the conversation poor Father Tom discovers that Ferguson is living in sin:)
"Ye and your - your - auld lassie will have to be joined in lawful wedlock," he said. "Before aught else can be done. What is her name?"
"Florrie." Mr. Ferguson's face became fond. "She was in a hoose in London. The bonniest lass in the whole hoose."
The priest winced. A heathen and a Magdalen. "Florrie what?"
Mr. Ferguson scratched his thatch of vigorous white hair. "I dinna know," he confessed. "I dinna ask."
"And ye have lived with - with - her for forty years?"
"Forty-one. I mind it was a Christmas Eve I met her."
The priest winced again.
"Ah, that was a lively night!" said Mr. Ferguson enthusiastically.

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Thursday, October 08, 2009

This book has not been rated.

I thought I'd offer this book for a book ray, as it's one that I've enjoyed and it doesn't seem to be that well-known; see the forum post here.

The book is a small paperback weighing about 7 ounces. I'll accommodate domestic-only (and other) mailing preferences as best I can; if I get enough participants who are willing to handle the necessary postage/customs-forms requirements, I'll make it an international ray. Please post a reply in the forum thread or PM me if you'd like to participate, and include any mailing restrictions you may have.

Bookray instructions:

When you receive the book, please journal it, and PM the next person in line for their address so you'll have it ready when you've finished the book.

Note: even if you've sent books to that person before, please PM them before mailing this one, to confirm that the address is correct and that they're able to take on a book ray at this time.
Try and read the book promptly - ideally, within a month of receiving it. If you expect to take longer, you can request to be put at the end of the list. If you find you're swamped with other books when the person before you contacts you about the bookring, you can ask to be skipped, and then let me know whether you'd like to be moved down the list or dropped entirely. If you receive the book and find it's taking longer than you'd planned to get through it, I'd appreciate an update in its journal entries or on your profile, just to let me and the other participants know you haven't forgotten it.

When you're ready to pass the book along, please add your comments about the book and indicate where you're sending it, either through a journal entry or through the controlled-release-note option. [If you make controlled release notes with your country/state/city as the location, the book will have a lovely map of its travels by the time it gets home.]

If you find that you're having problems contacting the next person in line, or don't think you can manage to mail the book as originally agreed, please let me know; I'll be glad to try to work something out!

Participants, in mailing order:
Megi53 [VA - USA]
tokorua [Australia]
Bookworm-lady [Spain]
mafarrimond [UK] 

Journal Entry 3 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Thursday, October 22, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Released 8 yrs ago (10/22/2009 UTC) at Nashua, New Hampshire USA



I'm sending this to BCer Megi53 in Virginia to kick off the book ray. Hope you enjoy it! 

Journal Entry 4 by Megi53 from Danville, Virginia USA on Monday, October 26, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Rose Mary O'Driscoll (as Grandmother was properly named) strikes me as a one-of-a-kind character. I'm looking forward to reading this starting in November. 

Journal Entry 5 by Megi53 from Danville, Virginia USA on Wednesday, December 02, 2009

9 out of 10

This book peaked with "Father Ifor Lewis and the Men of Gwenwynnlynn". It was just perfect the way little Rose prayed to Saint Oswold after she heard the story, and how her prayers to stay at Grandmother's house were answered.

Contrasts were excellently presented: a sweet love story with a perfect heroine came down to earth when Grandmother got straight to the point: "But what of the diamond earrings ...?" (page 116)

I especially enjoyed the heaven-sent objects like the flower C'est Egal and Stephen Doyle's marble harp. There were plenty of marvelous cats to add spice to the stories as well.

I'm a believer and have many Catholic relatives, so I was comfortable with most of the narrators' tenets -- up until the adult Rose and her husband William were pontificating about the end of the world in the last chapter! That really was pretty incongruous. I'll probably come back to this journal entry in later weeks and edit in more of my thoughts on religion.

For now, I have the next person's address; just need to round up a small envelope and some packing tape and Grandmother will be on her way! 

Journal Entry 6 by Megi53 at Danville, Virginia USA on Thursday, December 03, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Released 8 yrs ago (12/3/2009 UTC) at Danville, Virginia USA



Mailed to NSW, Australia from the Teal Court post office (which was already hoppin' for Christmas!). 

Journal Entry 7 by Monki-ies from Somerset, Tasmania Australia on Wednesday, December 16, 2009

This book has not been rated.

looking forward to it, thank you 

Journal Entry 8 by Monki-ies at Book Ring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Sunday, December 20, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Released 8 yrs ago (12/20/2009 UTC) at Book Ring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases



unfortunatley i am sending this off unread, i have too many books on the go and know its going to take too long to get to them all. hope the next person enjoys. 

Journal Entry 9 by wingBookworm-ladywing from Madrid, Madrid Spain on Monday, December 28, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Thanks for sending this on, Tokorua; and thanks for sharing, GodyDetails (once again!).
I might take a while to get to it, as my TBR pile is quite tall right now; but I am intrigued and looking forward to reading it.
Happy New Year 2010!

Journal Entry 10 by wingBookworm-ladywing at Madrid, Madrid Spain on Friday, October 07, 2011

6 out of 10

Even thoough I had been looking forward to reading it, as I had fond memories of the mini-series "Captains and the Kings"...I am sorry to confess I haven't been able to finish this novel by Ms Cadwell (see pic).
I tried, mind you! And the initial idea seemed good, with a bunch of holy men from different religions telling stories at the main character's grandmother's house...
But... I don't know, it gets too "preachy" after a while.
I did enjoy the story set in Scotland, a real gem! And I might be missing some other ones, but I have decided to give up and let go.
Thanks for sharing, GoryDetails; it will soon be in Mafarrimond's hands, to end up the ray.

Journal Entry 11 by wingBookworm-ladywing at Madrid, Madrid Spain on Tuesday, October 11, 2011

This book has not been rated.

Released 6 yrs ago (10/11/2011 UTC) at Madrid, Madrid Spain


Sent today to Mafarrimond, in UK.
Sorry for the delay... and enjoy!

Journal Entry 12 by mafarrimond at Hawarden, Wales United Kingdom on Saturday, October 22, 2011

This book has not been rated.

The book has arrived safely. It looks an interesting read. Many thanks to Bookworm-lady for sending it on and to GoryDetails for sharing it.  

Journal Entry 13 by mafarrimond at Hawarden, Wales United Kingdom on Monday, November 07, 2011

9 out of 10

I had forgotton about this ray so it was a lovely surprise to recieve it through the post. I loved all of the short stories as told by the various priests.

Just like Rose, I could hardly wait for the next story.  

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