I am a big fan of Therese Martin, and I've read a number of her biographies, as well as her autobiography, though I don't know if I've read the original. Why? Because her writings were heavily edited by her sisters, as her photographs were retouched. Ms. Furlong's biography avoids many of these pitfalls. I found her approach refreshing. She describes the pietism of Therese's family, the unhealthy conditions in her convent,the personalities of her sisters and fellow nuns, the abusive observance of the Carmelite rule, her irrational mother superior, and the opportunistic way her biological sisters helped engineer her early recognition as a saint. All of this does not detract from Therese's psychological maturity and contributions to modern Catholic thought. So much about her life is known through letters and memoirs, as well as the testimonies at her canonization. It would be a good thing if a modern first-class biographer were to get access to all of these materials in order to write a modern biography of Therese, her life and times. Penguin is publishing a new biography of Therese this year, which may be just the thing.
Reviewer: santera (Albuquerque, NM United States)