Saturday, 15 February 2014

Guardian Books Blog: Nuns in Books




Today’s entry appears on the Guardian Books Blog, and is about fictional nuns, a really fascinating subject to some of us. This is a part of it:



Once you start looking at nuns in history from a modern perspective, there comes a whole new topic – was it actually fun being a nun? Of course there must have been an unknown percentage of women closed up against their will, but it's rewarding to examine the idea that being a nun wasn't that bad an option in earlier times. In fact, dare we say it, was it the feminist choice? Look what they missed: a nun was free from the horrors and dangers of childbirth and the rigours of unwanted marriage. Often they could pursue an interest in medicine, horticulture, art or music. They didn't have to wear corsets or attract men …

READ MORE AT THE GUARDIAN BOOKS BLOG HERE.





Nuns have featured on the blog several times: This entry and this one – by the same author under a different name, the Jane Haddam mentioned in the piece. Sleuth nun Sister Agnes is here, and the Devils of Loudon here. One of Kate O’Brien’s sturdy women characters is going to become a nun, and Disraeli’s Sybil looks like a nun but isn’t one.

Call the Midwife is here, and Spark's Symposium here.

To see all the blog pieces featured at the Guardian, click on the tab above.


10 comments:

  1. Moira - What an excellent piece, as ever! Nuns really can be fascinating characters. And now you've made me think of lots of nuns in crime fiction, such as Peter Tremayne's Sister Fidelma, and lots of others, too. Thanks :-)

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    1. Thanks for the kind words Margot: I can tell I'm not alone in finding nun books intriguing. Could we hope for a post on nun detectives...? I'd love to read that, having not really covered the topic in my post...

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  2. Too much to comment on here. Great post at the Guardian. I will follow up on some of the books mentioned there. I think I was aware of Alison Joseph, but she wasn't on any of my lists; so thanks, I will have to look for her books. Of course, I have read the Jane Haddam books, and I have Charisma on my Kindle. I know I have read some of the Rumer Godden books, but I have not read Black Narcissus, only seen the movie. But I do prefer my nuns as sleuths.

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    1. Thanks Tracy, what kind words. I'm so glad you like Jane Haddam, I know we've mentioned this before. She is one of my favourites, but is almost unknown in the UK. Nuns do make great characters, I'm always up for trying any books with nuns, but specially detective ones.

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  3. Moira: In The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau Sister Joanna Stafford is a spirited Dominican novice in the time of Henry VIII. The sisters of her abbey are doing well if they could but be left alone by the English establishment.

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    1. Thanks Bill - I haven't come across this one and must look it up. I love books about Tudor times, and one with a nun in sounds like a must-read....

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  4. Not read anything - I probably don't need to having an inside track on this. My auntie is a nun! I would probably go for something with Father Dowling in it - as I do usually like a double act in my sleuthing! Author was Ralph McInerny.

    Did my Valentine's Day comment get rejected by the blog censors?

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    1. Father Dowling was v popular in our house too, with particular reference to Sister Steve in some areas. I have double-checked and can see no such comment, looked at the internal list and everything, the internet must have eaten it. Would you very kindly post it again?

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  5. I've known a few nuns that I'd love to put in a crime novel!

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    1. Sarah you made me laugh out loud this morning....

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