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Glittering Images (Starbridge #1)

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  2,197 Ratings  ·  237 Reviews
Beneath the smooth surface of an Episcopal palace lurks the salacious breath of scandal. Charles Ashworth is sent to untangle the web of self-delusion and corruption only to become embroiled in a strange menage a trois that threatens to expose the secrets of his own past! In Glittering Images tension and drama combine in a compelling novel of people in high places, of ...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published July 22nd 1996 by Fontana (first published 1987)
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(showing 1-30)
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Matthew
Dec 09, 2011 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Matthew by: Andrew Hillman
First started reading this book about a year ago when my friend sent it to me and recommended I read it. I got through about a quarter of the book and set it aside. I couldn't figure out why my friend had sent me a trashy, historical romance.

A month or so ago he brought the book back and said I needed to read it. I figured that since he was telling me a second time I must have missed something the first time around. For that first part of the book I was still wondering what the heck was going on
...more
Chris
Aug 28, 2015 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance
This is not high literature. Howatch's Church of England series is really like romance novels for Anglicans. It's not that they lack sex-- there's plenty, mostly angsty, as you'd expect for a set of Anglo-Catholic classics. Rather, the narrative place of sex in a romance novel is taken by spiritual direction. You don't have fantasy lovers; you have psychic monks who can tell you exactly what's wrong with your relationship with God and your family, and what you need to do to fix it. Anyone who's ...more
Chris
Jan 15, 2008 Chris rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gwen
Jul 10, 2007 Gwen rated it it was amazing
Howatch wrote this long series of novels about clergy in the Church of England. They are heavy on theology and psychology - so I loved them, but you have to like that sort of thing. If you do, dive in. They're wonderful. Some are a bit kinky, too, particularly the final three that she wrote some years later than the original six. I found them all really interesting.
Damaskcat
Dec 19, 2015 Damaskcat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I remember reading 'Glittering Images' when it was first published and enjoying it so I decided to re-read the whole Starbridge series of which this is the first book. Charles Ashworth is sent by the Archbishop of Canterbury to, in effect, spy on Alex Jardine, the Bishop of Starbridge. Jardine is the Archbishop's outspoken enemy over a proposed Bill which is going through Parliament and which later became the Matrimonial Causes Act, and widened the grounds for divorce.

The Archbishop fears that J
...more
Laura Rittenhouse
May 21, 2010 Laura Rittenhouse rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
After 2 months, I've finally finished this book and have to say it wasn't great. I guess it was easy enough to read, but the situations played out a little too smoothly. The characters referred more than once to Freud and I couldn't help but think Ms Howatch had taken a psych 101 course and had turned one or two classic case studies into characters. The scenes were too pat - scripted is what I want to say but since this is a novel, I guess it is by definition scripted.

Also, the whole book, or 99
...more
Brenda
Sep 12, 2012 Brenda rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Matthew Johnstone, Heidi Waterhouse, Adam Flynn
Recommended to Brenda by: Magnus Palm
This was a tremendously satisfying book. It started light and Wodehousy, but quickly got deep and complex. There were a few moments of delighted realization as I, the reader, got to know what was going on. The book spoke to the kind of reality I live in, or wish I did.

I think my very favorite part of this book was its treatment of Christianity, Christians and the church. It is rare to find fiction that has a nuanced, compassionate view of any of these. But I found the book to be theologically co
...more
Jo
Jul 17, 2009 Jo rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Serious readers, Readers interested in the Chrisitan faith, Readers with Ecclesiastical interest
Recommended to Jo by: No one

I read this book/series many years ago. Distinct memories are hazy, but having read other reviews, the general story comes back. I do remember being intrigued by learning about the ecclesiastical structure of the Church of England. The practice of having a spiritual guide for their pastors was intriguing. The spiritual faith of the main characters and their journeys are what kept me reading throughout the series.
The device of the author to advance the story through characters that appear in d
...more
^
Feb 04, 2015 ^ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anglican christians
On finishing this novel I thanked God that my life is, by comparison, so uncomplicated. This is a taut spiritual and psychological ecclesiastical thriller, of impressive angst. I lapped it up; this was a book that I resented putting down; instead delighting in new words (to me) such as ‘apostate’; so (sadly) useful in the Church of England nowadays, and being charmed by the thought of a door opened by “a butler “who looked like a character from a Trollope novel,” (no, not Joanna) which seemed ...more
booklady
My edition of this book is so old it's not even pictured on any of those featured here on goodreads. I'm not sure when I first picked up a copy of this book or first read it. This is a booklady equivalent of junk reading. I first encountered dear sue when I lived in the UK in the early 80s. Fell in love with her technique of telling stories from first one perspective and then switching camera angles to a different character. It taught me the valuable lesson that while many may despise/like a per ...more
Joan
Jul 07, 2013 Joan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have given 5 stars to a very few (maybe 5 or 6) books. I remembered reading this book several years ago and enjoying it, so I reread it this week. I don't know that I have ever enjoyed and admired an author's writing style, vocabulary, and careful story -plotting as much as I admire Ms Howatch's. I copied 5 full word-processing pages full of narrative and dialog that was either so inspiring in content or so clever in wording that I wanted to retain it for further consideration. I love to read ...more
Leah
Feb 12, 2008 Leah rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Leah by: my mom
Holy Cow! What a story Susan Howatch weaves. There's depth and twist after twist. I'm very glad that this is just the first book to a huge series. Unfortunately, with a baby, it's harder to find time to read an in depth book like this. These books are no quick read. They are, however, completely worth your time.
Sheri Byrd
Nov 11, 2007 Sheri Byrd rated it really liked it
The first of the Church of England series that was, for me, life changing. This one begins in SH's former Gothic style, but her style develops considerably through the series to heart-stopping, page-turning psycho-spiritual thriller. The Wonder Worker series is a spin off of this series, and even more exciting, but not for the squeamish.
Amanda
May 08, 2009 Amanda rated it liked it
If you like one Starbridge book, you'll like all of them. If you can't read the first one, just give it up. I loved them. Before I read these books I didn't even realize that there were high churchy Anglicans and low churchy ones. Or that English churchmen are for the most part very sex-ually hung up and neurotic. If people like the characters in these books actually exist, I have never met them, but I HOPE they exist. The stiffer-than-stiff upper lip and the guilt and inability to talk about ...more
Lindsay
Apr 21, 2008 Lindsay rated it really liked it
I read this series of books a few years ago and really liked them. They are about fictional clergy members of the Anglican Church--doesn't sound that fascinating, but I couldn't put them down! I really liked that the characters were so real--despite their obvious sins and failings, they still had strong faith. Beware--these books do contain sex and scandal, they are not for the faint of heart, but I still recommend them if you aren't bothered by such stuff.
Erin
May 25, 2014 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was delightfully scandalous for 1930's England. The book centers on Charles Ashworth, a doctor of divinity who is commissioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury to investigate the Bishop of Starbridge's private and potentially scandal-filled life. The writing itself is quite beautiful, kind of like a thick brownie fresh from the oven (but with a few nuts in it). Although the book is set in some beautiful bits of England (Cambridge is one of my favorite places on earth), there aren't any ...more
Beccalarge
Aug 07, 2013 Beccalarge rated it it was ok
I am struggling with out to rate this. 2 stars seems like too little, but I just cannot give this book 3 stars, which both surprises and saddens me. This is the second Susan Howatch book I have read, although it is actually the first in her Starbridge series. I read "Ultimate Prizes" (the third in series...although they can be read out of order) and LOVED it. In fact, after finishing I could not wait to read the others in this series and planned to read them all! I was especially excited for ...more
Sandra
Apr 04, 2013 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
I first read a Susan Howatch novel years ago and found it fascinating and read a couple more. I picked this one up at the recommendation of Jacqueline Winspear, one of my current favorite authors. She was Barnes & Noble mystery writer of the month and had a list of recommendations. A couple of them I had already read, so I grabbed some others with relish.

At first I wasn't too enthralled. It seemed a psychological story with a lot of Jungian underpinnings, pleasantly written, but a little ba
...more
Christopher
Jul 02, 2016 Christopher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book as a gift/recommendation from a friend, and really enjoyed it. Susan Howatch's keen sense of the environment in the Church of England in the early 20th century, and the backdrop of evolving social views of marriage and divorce growing into tension with those of the Church, neatly frames the stories of the central characters. The spiritual and psychological complexity of each key figure in the book is beautifully rendered, and offers much material upon which to reflect ...more
CLM
Jan 19, 2010 CLM rated it really liked it
Recommended to CLM by: SLM
Such a bizarre and improbable plot (although I think someone told me it is based on a real incident), not to mention totally unlikeable characters, but I was hooked anyway. In this series about the Church of England, Howatch flirts with the occult as she has her clergymen characters (and the women who tempt them!) try to deal with their stresses through non traditional religious means.

What an interesting departure from the two books I had read many years ago, Penmarric and Cashelmara, both outst
...more
Kathleen
Nov 20, 2012 Kathleen rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book and all the others in this series. I loved watching the characters slowly succumb to their personal interests and then watch them fix their life. I i still remember the joy I felt when I discovered the last book of the series, which I didn't even know existed. Run, don't walk to the library, book store or digital device to read these.
Marvin
Aug 17, 2009 Marvin rated it it was ok
Shelves: religion
A mediocre novel about a post-WWII scholar/clergyman's battle between his inner self & his own "glittering image." I found it too superficially psychological (Freudian) & thought it passed up some opportunities for spiritual depth.
Jen
Aug 18, 2014 Jen rated it it was ok
Weird to read about quite-less-than-perfect priests/bishops in the Anglican Church, especially as the setting was 1930s. A lot of reference to sex, but not generally graphic/detailed. Good character development, interesting protagonist. Some thoughtful passages.
Jason Caywood
Apr 29, 2016 Jason Caywood rated it it was amazing
I cannot say enough good about this book. Great story and depth of character development. This story takes on real dimensions of human pain, sin and struggle for how to be honest with God and other human beings.
Kim
Apr 07, 2008 Kim rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kim by: Joanne
Howatch has written a series of books centered around the Episcopal church. They're full of political and personal intrigue. She's a great writer and creates characters with a lot of depth. Joanne introduced me to this series. Read the books in order if you can!
Linda
Aug 06, 2008 Linda rated it it was amazing
The Starbridge series is amazing interweaving historical fiction, psychology, theology and mysticism into one. All of them fit together in a tapsestry that becomes richer with each one you read.
Lucy Martinez
I just re-read this again. I hadn't remembered much of it. It was a great read, again. I could hardly put it down.
Jenn Bennington
Jul 17, 2008 Jenn Bennington rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Five stars aren't enough to express my love for this series. This is book one...and the books just keep getting better as the characters develop throughout the five books. Enjoy!
Deborah Pickstone
Susan Howatch is masterly in her psychology and clearly a serious theologian as well. This was a re-read after 20+ years.
Pam
Feb 09, 2016 Pam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1937-england
Church of England priest, figuring out his past to heal his present, very good characterizations!
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Susan Howatch (b. 1940) is a British novelist who has penned bestselling mysteries, family sagas, and other novels. Howatch was born in Surrey, England. She began writing as a teen and published her first book when she moved to the United States in 1964. Howatch found global success first with her five sagas and then with her novels about the Church of England in the twentieth century. She has now ...more
More about Susan Howatch...

Other Books in the Series

Starbridge (6 books)
  • Glamorous Powers (Starbridge, #2)
  • Ultimate Prizes (Starbridge, #3)
  • Scandalous Risks
  • Mystical Paths (Starbridge, #5)
  • Absolute Truths (Starbridge, #6)

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