Marly Youmans's Charis in the World of Wonders

Extollager

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Having retired from the teaching of English, I have set up a number of reading projects, one of which focuses on books from and about the 17th century, an exceptionally intriguing period. This excellent novel joins Rose Macaulay's They Were Defeated, Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter, Buchan's Witch Wood, Shorthouse's John Inglesant, MacDonald's St. George and St. Michael, Manzoni's Betrothed, Scott's Old Mortality, Meinhold's The Amber Witch, Singer's The Slave, Lewis's Trial of Soren Qvist, and Endo's The Samurai -- fictions of that century that I have enjoyed, any of which I recommend. Marly Youmans's novel held my interest as well as or better than any of these. Right at the very first I wondered if it wasn't going to be a bit overwritten, but no, no; it's a pleasure to read.

The title reminded me of one of the nonfiction books on my 17th Century Reading Project list, David Hall's Worlds of Wonder, Days of Judgment: Popular Religious Belief in Early New England -- a book you could come from to read Marly Youmans's novel, or to which you might turn if you are intrigued by her book.

People today are regrettably predisposed to assume they know all they need to know about the people of Marly Youmans's novel. They may enjoy the fresh air that will blow through their minds when they read this accomplished novel.
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