Margaret Litchfield (Marianne Christian), RIP 2015
The Lamp of the Wicked - Countryside & Cloister - The Dream of Gerontius - Reviews - Availability - Links
By Marianne Christian. PSALMS FROM THE LORD'S
PRAYER were written as I dwelt on each phrase from the
golden prayer taught to us by Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God.
Free download here as lordsprayer_psalms.doc (28K).
By Marianne Christian. THE PRINCESS is an
easy-to-read story - an allegory of Mary, the mother of God.
Free download here as princess.doc (56K).
When Melkiah returns to his home on the shores of Lake Galilee in
AD33, after six years' unexplained absence, his daughter Tamar
welcomes him joyfully. Others, however, are disconcerted by his
unexpected reappearance, and Melkiah's friend Joel is soon aware
of the danger that threatens them all. When a neighbour is
murdered and the unknown man of violence strikes again and again,
Joel is determined to discover his identity, only to find out too
late how ruthlessly the murderer will act to silence him. All the
while a greater evil is incubating throughout the land as the
Jewish religious leaders plot the death of Jesus of Nazareth, whom
thousands of Jews believe to be their long-awaited Messiah.
Marianne Christian's novel is a vivid portrayal of the times in
which Jesus lived, and the people among whom he preached and
worked miracles. Her powerful narrative combines strong
characterisation with rich description to create a gripping story,
which brings to life the Holy Land of two thousand years ago.
Marie Litchfield was born between the two world wars and
describes the world in which she grew up, her close-knit family
and the countryside of Somerset. She tells of her vocation to the
religious life of the Carmelite Order, the establishment of two
monasteries in Yorkshire, and how she was able to discover more
about God in the flora and fauna of the woods and garden. It is a
world far away from the noise of today, with interesting memories
of village and family life in the 1930s and 1940s and life in a
Available in audio form as a free (amateur) download, read by
Margaret Litchfield and her brother, Michael Sims:
Countryside and Cloister part 1
Countryside and Cloister part 2
Countryside and Cloister part 3
Countryside and Cloister part 4
Countryside and Cloister part 5
Countryside and Cloister part 6
Countryside and Cloister part 7
Bonus: Radio Leeds interview with the nuns at Carmel Wood Hall
"A fascinating read" Stephanie Cole (TV Actress)
"If you enjoy historical novels this is a book for you. Marianne Christian has only been to the Holy Land twice on pilgrimage, but she has managed to capture the atmosphere of life beside the Sea of Galilee in AD 33 to a high degree. You remember the American grandmother who started to paint late on in life and became a famous artist? Well, this book has been written late in Ms Christian's life and is a compelling first novel. She also has a strong streak of Agatha Christe or Dorothy Sayers in her, for not only does she write well, but she manages to introduce one murder and two attempted murders into her plot, which are only solved in the final chapter.
"Her descriptions are excellent, her dialogue is convincing. and she handles an extraordinary cast of characters in this intriguing drama with considerable skill. Of course everything hinges around the prophet Jesus who is never actually seen, but who, one way or another, influences the entire dramatis personae. There are three or four miracles in the course of the story, as well as a murder and a couple of attempted ones; but the story is entirely convincing.
"The book ends on Good Friday, and the days following the Crucifixion are briefly referred to. It may not be quite in 'The Robe' class, but it's not far off. A great read for all ages." Martin Blake, Book Reviewer.
Here's an audio clip from the BBC's "Good Morning, Sunday", in MP3 format, 220k.
"This is a book to treasure - simple, direct and refreshing. May all that is written here by one woman about her life's journey increase our steadfastness in our vocation, whether it is similar or very unlike." Sister Wendy Beckett.
"Reading Countryside & Cloister will be one step along a happier road for those who care to make the journey with the author through childhood, to where the reader shares her delight in a solitary clump of sorrel growing beside a hawthorn hedge. A gem of a book, and reading it was to me a mind-enriching experience." Geoffrey Smith.
Family Publications has closed down, but copies of both physical
books are still available c/o Bridget Litchfield, Carmelite
Monastery, Thicket Priory, Thorganby, York, YO19 6DE. For each
book, please send a cheque for 12 pounds made payable to
'Carmelite Monastery', specifying which you want. This includes
p&p in the UK. (If you want both books, then send 20 pounds,
Bishop's Lydeard and Cothelstone