I’ve been caught out once again by not listening to the age old proverb: don’t judge a book by it’s cover.
A gorgeously old book with the look of an Agatha Christie novel in both title and art – I snapped that thing right up.
I was at a vintage fair, there was old stuff, the atmosphere was buzzing and I got caught up in the moment. That is my only defence. Although it’s not really a defence as I judge books by their covers – every time; it’s my weakness.
When I came to sit and read it, I still hadn’t even glanced at the blurb, I didn’t want to spoil the story.
After a fair few mentions of Him upstairs, I decided I perhaps should, at least, take a quick read of the blurb:
“Margaret Stewart – The Lady with the Sun Lamp – tells the story of her own and other people’s lives, in a West Country village.
The coming of a young evangelical minister who has a burning desire to win souls for Christ, brings something entirely new to this typical country community, and it is a refreshing and uplifting experience to trace the working of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
The minister and his wife, the doctor and his American bride, The Art School Principal and his Ward, ‘Miss Alicia’ and Margaret Stewart herself, will all seem like personal friends by the time you reach the last page of this delightfully romantic story.”
Ah. So, no murder, no whodunit? Just God in a little English village. OK, I thought, I can give this a go; something a bit different for me to read, I may even enjoy it.
Oh boy no. No. It was a painful read. So painful that obviously even the editor got bored of reading it judging by the amount of spelling mistakes towards the end.
The story was told – I’m guessing – in some form of later diary where she would look back on her life, it didn’t quite make that apparent, but Margaret Stewart (The Lady with the Sun Lamp) was relaying the tale of (a whole lot of nothing) goings on in her little village. The entire thing was so stereotypically English, it hurt. Hurt.
There were characters who would turn nasty through jealousy – spreading rumours and the like, my curiosity would peak at these times – but then it would turn out they just needed to let Him in…once they broke down and confessed and ‘accepted Christ’ then they were as nice as pie again. Ugh.
I had visions of The Lady with the Sun Lamp – using said sun lamp as her weapon of choice to cause havoc in the sleepy setting…but no. Turns out she’s a physiotherapist who uses the sun lamp in her treatments…so sometimes carries it from one appointment to another…the villagers gave her the nickname ‘The Lady with the Sun Lamp’ because of this.
Christianity became an epidemic in this town, once one turned then they all started dropping like flies..obviously apart from the heathen’s who weren’t ready to ‘let Him in’, but they had faith, they would ‘see the light’ one day.
I really struggled to see the reasoning of why this story had to be told by the author, seriously, nothing happened.
Therefore it’s safe to say I wouldn’t recommend this book – UNLESS – you have some urge to really find out what an English village is like and you’re touched by stories that are heavily based in religion. I know some people are – those people may love this book!
Up next to read: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K.Rowling
Until next time.