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.
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.
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.
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.