Book Reviews of Absolute Truths

Absolute Truths
Absolute Truths
Author: Susan Howatch
ISBN-13: 9780679412069
ISBN-10: 0679412069
Publication Date: 1/15/1995
Pages: 559
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.

4.3 stars, based on 3 ratings
Publisher: Knopf
Book Type: Hardcover
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3 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

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Helpful Score: 2
Very human story of the problems a married Bishop faces, both with his personal life and his church life. I enjoyed it and learned quite a bit.
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The sixth and final volume in a series that began with Glittering Images, this novel again displays Howatch's ability to meld an involving, character-driven story with a larger theme, that of spiritual quest and fulfillment. This time, however, the centrality-and discussion-of ecclesiastical issues tends to slow the narrative. The book is set during the mid-1960s, the period during which the Church of England-not to mention the rest of the country and beyond-was rocked by widespread challenges to tradition. Again representing tradition is narrator Charles Ashworth, the Anglican Bishop of Starbridge, who promotes the so-called Middle Way, a half-and-half mixture of Catholicism and Protestantism. Ashworth's archenemy-and doppelganger-is Neville Aysgarth, the Dean of the Cathedral who is, according to Ashworth, unorthodoxly open to using the trappings of a capitalistic marketplace to benefit the financially deteriorating church building. To make matters worse, Aysgarth is an alleged dipsomaniac and womanizer, who once made a pass at Ashworth's beloved wife, Lyle. When Lyle dies suddenly, the bereaved widower strays dangerously from the fold, but he does not experience a redemption-through-repentance journey as dramatic as those of Arthur Dimmesdale or Raskolnikov.
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It is 1965 and Charles Ashworth attains the plum position of Bishop of Starbridge. And then the unexpected, the unthinkable, strikes. And Ashworth discovers to his horror that he is tempted to commit the very acts that he has so publicly denounced....