Due to Bank holidays and being a bit under the weather at times, I read and enjoyed another two books in May.
The first was Lady’s Maid by Margaret Forster. This is a historical novel about the life of a maid to Elizabeth Barrett (later Browning). It covers most of the life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and some time after her death. According to the list of works by Margaret Forster at the beginning of this library book, she also wrote a biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and edited a book of her poetry. (She had done her research!)
Lady’s Maid includes some narrative, which paints a picture of what it was like to live in the days of travel by stagecoach. The historical background is also seamlessly woven into the story. I have enjoyed other books by Margaret Forster, but this one is a masterpiece. Reading over 500 pages was a pleasure.
The second book I read was The Wrong Messiah: The real story of Jesus of Nazareth by Nick Page. My reason for reading this book was that the author was one of the speakers on a writers’ weekend I was about to attend. I wanted to be aware of his writing style beforehand. This book is extremely well-researched. It includes maps, diagrams and photographs. The material is arranged geographically with most chapters named after a town or region. In spite of being backed up by 22 pages of notes and 8 pages of bibliography this book is extremely readable. Many traditions, which have come into being in the last 2000 years, are questioned and an alternative (convincing) view put forward. The Biblical accounts have been considered as a whole, resulting in a unified timeline for Jesus’ life. I recommend this book very highly.
As it happened I did not have an opportunity for any conversation with the author, but enjoyed listening to him speak. The exercises he set were both challenging and fun.