Tuesday, May 28, 2013

In Which My Lady Bibliophile Returns

Greetings, friends and fellow bibliophiles! Thank-you so much for your indulgence as I took a week off to rest and reset a little. The time was glorious, I do assure you. I made valiant inroads on The Silmarillion, though I did not finish it as I hoped to. Not even close. There's too much in that book to read it quickly. And amidst the delight of revisiting 221b Baker Street, to cap it off, I read a story I simply did not remember. Most of these, even though it's been years since I read them, I knew inside-out;. but The Stock-Broker's Clerk took me by surprise.

The delights of an old favorite still pulling out something new.

Well, though I didn't finish Sil or The Complete Sherlock Holmes, I did manage to pull out one book which I am simply delighted to share with you: the Lamplighter book A Lost Pearle proved to be a quick and delightful read, with plenty of suspense, and one that all lovers of classic literature will enjoy.

Let us commence.

The Plot

Enraptured guests fill the pews, waiting for the bridal party of the dazzling Margaret Radcliffe. This is surely the culmination of a match made in Heaven, and everybody who is anybody sighs with ecstasy at the thought that they are among the privileged to witness it.

Suddenly, the rapture changes to horror.

Margaret Radcliffe walks down the aisle, despair stamped on her face...with a different groom.

And she marries him.

When I walked by that thick grey and gold book at our homeschool convention, I remembered searching for it in the library system, and paused to take a look. Who wouldn't? Not only are Lamplighter stories beautifully packaged, they're full of good fun and lots of drama, most times from a solid Christian perspective. But there's always the question: can they deliver the goods again? After all, The Hidden Hand promised to be the best Lamplighter book ever, and I wasn't about to let it be easily supplanted.

But a book that thick, and that pretty, and that exciting in it's description--it had to be worth a try.

(All right. I know. That last sentence goes against everything I taught in my session. Please forgive me.)

When Margaret (Pearle) is blackmailed into marrying Adison Cheetham to save her fiance's reputation, she bravely switches grooms at the last moment and binds herself to a villain in the eyes of God and man. After the ceremony her distraught lover, Captain Byrnholm, and dismayed  brother, the Earl of Radcliffe, take her to task and she finds that Cheetham's invincible proofs were all cleverly spun lies, meant to trick her into life-long misery. Byrnholm and Radcliffe plead for divorce. Pearle stands firm and refuses to undo her mistake. Until Adison Cheetham is dead, she is bound to him irrevocably.

And of course we hope he dies from remorse very quickly. Ahem.

But though Pearle refuses to take the easy way out of her predicament, she also refuses to act as the wife of a man whose almighty calumny forced her into her position. Under pretense of changing out of her wedding dress, she uses the time until she is missed to slip as far away as she can. Changing her name, she takes a position in London as a governess and hopes to make her life useful, even though it cannot be happy.

Adison Cheetham follows her in a towering rage, determined to find her and claim her as his own. But Pearle's countless admirers, a dead woman on a railway track, an orphan French child, and a mad young woman all combine in valiant efforts to rob him of his wicked desire.

As to whether this Lost Pearle is ever found, and by whom--well, I leave you to discover.

My Thoughts
When you approach this book, it has to be in a slightly different spirit from a real mystery. Full of coincidence, italics, and lots of adjectives, it's one of those sumptuously emotional tales that spells everything out for you. Don't worry; the villain carries a placard that says "I am a villain", just so you don't miss who he is.

Just kidding, of course.

A Lost Pearle, is not a tale that draws the reader in. It's a spectator book; one that you follow along eagerly to see how the author pulls it out. Sheldon won't leave you guessing; her only fault perhaps is that she reveals her mysteries a little too soon. But after reading a chapter or two I decided to let go and enter into a book that would really give me a chance to relax. It was wild fun. Adison Cheetham is a villain that will make you shudder with repulsion, and Captain Byrnholm is a hero made of the stuff of stars.
Surprisingly, Sheldon's only subtlety proved to be the Christian theme itself. Neither Pearle Radcliffe nor Richard Byrnholm are Christians when the story commences, and though both of them are drawn closer to Christ through their struggles, we do not see that journey. We are merely told of it after it occurs. But in spite of its subtlety, the Christian message is nonetheless clear, as it should be. I tend to be a little skeptical of books that shove the alter call down the reader's throat as an obligatory thing. I shouldn't be, I know. But a book that winsomely and genuinely gives the clear message of Christ's love and salvation is a book to be treasured and valued and passed on. This is one of those books, and I am glad to have read it on my break. I highly recommend it to a lovers of Lamplighter, classic fiction, and period drama.

I had the pleasure of meeting Mark Hamby, president of Lamplighter, and having him sign The Hidden Hand. It was an honor and he's a very enjoyable speaker. He had to catch a plane before we purchased A Lost Pearle, but someday I hope to meet him again.

This post is dedicated with many thanks to my father for buying this for me, and sponsoring so many of my books. Without him--his delight to bless his children's pursuits and his encouragement of purity and apologetics in each of our lives--My Lady Bibliophile would not be here today. :)

You can purchase A Lost Pearle here.

Lady Bibliophile


  1. Sounds tantalizing! And I haven't seen you go through a book that fast in a long time! ;) :D I'm glad you enjoyed it! :D

    1. I tried my best to make it tantalizing. :D But it really is. I really enjoyed gobbling it up. :)

      Love and cuddles,

  2. Oh my, Lady B. You've got me sold. This is one that will definitely be going on my "To Find Someday and Read" list. :)

    Lamplighters are always so good (in my experience).

    Sounds like you had a splendid week; glad to see you back!


    1. Definitely worth the price, even though they're a little more expensive. :D The nice thing about Lamplighter is, they give you a trustworthy story with a collector's packaging, so you're getting a good product...though a bit of a splurge, I admit.

      The week was very splendid. I could do another one quite easily. :P But I'm up and running, and pretty soon I should be full speed again. :) I'm glad to be back!

      Thanks for stopping in. :)


  3. "I tend to be a little skeptical of books that shove the altar call down the reader's throat as an obligatory thing. I shouldn't be, I know."

    NO. YOU SHOULD. You totally, totally should.


    Sounds like a ripping yarn!

    1. Ok. I will then. :D It's rather odd to say it though, because it's not that I'm against the gospel being included in books. On the contrary, I think the salvation/coming-to-Christ theme should definitely be included. It's the center of the Bible, and should be dear to the hearts of all Christians. But modern literature (not all, just some) has done its dead-level best to suck all the power out of the gospel. Unintentionally, I grant, but I hope people come to realize it and change their tactics. I'm reminded of Paul writing "I preach not with the world's wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power." And that's what I love to see in a book: the cross of Christ preached with God's wisdom and out of gratefulness and praise and obedience, not as a tedious obligation.

      End of rant. :)

      It IS a ripping yarn. I think you'd love it. :D

  4. Not to be a tease, but I finished The Silmarillion about a few weeks ago - I agree, there is so much in this book - it can't be gobbled up too quickly. But it is beautiful. Really, amazingly so. I had such a hard time getting into starting a new book after I finished it, when all along I was so impatient to finish it - but then when it actually did I was wishing it had not ended after all because it was so good... aren't we sometimes such silly bibliophiles?

    Hmm, I want to reread Sherlock Holmes very much too - I've been watching so much of the new and old Sherlock Holmes BBC TV episodes methinks I want to revisit Doyle's original version again :). (P.S. I recall you once questioned me about how I liked the new Sherlock - and while I am as slow as a snail with writing up posts answering questions and things like that but I have in my plans (Lord willing) to write a Sherlock Holmes books/old tv/new tv review post of sorts sometime so, Lord willing, I'll answer your question then!! And just quickly, I really love the new Sherlock (SUCH GOOD ACTING) and after a long while I have gotten over it being so modern... it is really, fast-pace and exciting and they retained much of the same spirit of Doyle's stories. However, nothing is quite like the original books and Jeremy Brett's classical/Victorian rendition of the iconic sleuth hound detective!

    1. You finished the Sil. I am quite envious. I mean, not, that, but as close as I can get. ;) It's really hard to get into something the first day after finishing the LOTR story--whether by books or movie. I find it takes the reader to such glorious heights and depths that I'm quite worn out by the end of it, in a good kind of way. :)

      Oh, goody, I'm much interested in your review of Sherlock! Jeremy Brett is awesome; I looked him up and he's quite splendid and accurate. I've never been quite satisfied with a film version until I saw him. :)

      And I would be interested in Cumberbatch/Freeman if they were pretty good, as they're such good actors. But I shall wait to here from you, as I haven't found a decent objective review yet. :)


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