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The Lent Jewels
by David Hughes
In spring 1856, Archibald Tait and his wife Catharine suffered the loss of five daughters to illness, recorded as memoir. In this novel, Hughes explores the themes of love and loss, intermingling his own experiences with the story of another of Taits's contemporaries.
In one spring month of 1856 Archibald Campbell Tait (later to be Archbishop of Canterbury) and his wife Catharine suffered the loss of five daughters, aged between two and ten, to an epidemic of scarlet fever. In a memoir she wrote later, Catherine refers to these beloved children as 'the lent jewels'. The couple bore their bereavement with a fortitude that could be sustained only by faith. Without similar convictions, but in the hope of laying bare a comparable belief for himself, David Hughes explores the themes of love and loss, intermingling his own experience, both as child and father, with the story of another of Tait's contemporaries, someone with a different focus on life, a man known only as 'Walter', author of the erotic memoir My Secret Life. At the same time Catharine was drowning her grief in words by writing an eloquent account of her children's deaths. All these presences haunt the chapters of this many-layered documentary. With all the style and insight that have made him such an appealing writer, David Hughes considers matters of life, death, sex and love in a book which is both moving and ultimately uplifting.
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David Hughes's most successful novel, The Pork Butcher, won the WH Smith Literary Award. His other fiction includes The Imperial German Dinner Service, But For Bunter and The Man Who Invented Tomorrow. He has also written studies of J.B. Priestley and Gerrald Durrell. With his wife, son and daughter, lives in north Lambeth and Aldington, Kent.
The Lent Jewels by David Hughes
Used - Very Good
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