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Profound River

3.11  ·  Rating Details ·  35 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Did a nun really invent the first flies for fly-fishing? Yes. Dame Juliana Berners was a remarkable woman: devout catholic nun and the credited inventor of fly-fishing. From boar-hunting on horseback with nothing but a spear to facing off with greedy priests determined to further impoverish her convent and family of faithful sisters, Dame Juliana's story will surprise and ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 8th 2012 by Cedar Fort, Inc.
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Steve Walker
Oct 10, 2012 Steve Walker rated it did not like it
Did you know that Juliana Berners, a devote catholic nun, inventing fly fishing in the 1400s? She was the first and used the fine fabric of priest's robes to develop a lightweight line and rich decorations to tie flies. She was also an avid hunter of wild game, even taking wild boar with spear on horseback.

Sound interesting? You bet! However ... I did not finish the book. The author, John Gubbins, begins when she is in her nineties and does a retrospective that jumps between the present to the
Aug 31, 2012 Robyn rated it really liked it
Some people might not find this book all that interesting but I was really touched by the wisdom and compassion of Dame Juliania. It is historical fiction so I know the thoughts were all made up by the author but I liked how he turned what could have been a boring history book with some fishing thrown in, into a profound, no pun intended, book about life and strength of character. I don't love fishing, never have and don't eat it either but I could see the life lessons that she found while fishi ...more
Charles Charlesworth
May 22, 2012 Charles Charlesworth rated it it was amazing
I don't read anything but non-fiction, however if you read the essay at the end of the book, Who was Dame Juliana Berners you realise that the research that went into this book is far greater than any historian over the past 500 years. Dame Juliana is as much an anomaly today as she was in 1477. Historians far removed chronologically from her time on earth 200 ton 500 years after her death discount her existance ignoring the publisher of her book who knew her personnally. Imagine the first woman ...more
Jun 20, 2012 Jennie rated it really liked it
This is an unusual book. It's the story of the Catholic nun who invented fly fishing. I know, that doesn't sound too exciting, but it's also the story of a strong woman who chose to pick her own path during the fourteenth century when women had no rights and it portrays the political intrigues of the British monarachy and the priests who held absolute power at that time. I found portions tedious, but for the part it's a fascinating glimpse of a significant historical era. Besides I like to fish ...more
Aug 04, 2012 Linda rated it it was amazing
I really loved this historical novel about the nun from the 1400- 1500's who invented fly fishing. Who would have thought? I came out of it with a tremendous admiration for her. I usually don't like historical fiction that is based so closely on person's life, and I don't like fishing that much, but I thought this book was great. I learned much more about that time period than I thought I would, and a little about fishing, too.
University of Chicago Magazine
John Gubbins, AM'73

Profound River is a historical novel about the first woman to publish in English. Living in the 15th century, her books about field sports were England's best selling books for two centuries. Her book about fishing was the first book in history about sport fishing, and it has a section about fly fishing—again the first ever. Her writings are the beginning of the long tradition of English field-sports literature.
Aug 03, 2012 SuzAnn rated it really liked it
I devoured this book and was impressed with the writing, the research and the subject matter! I didn't know that fly fishing was "invented" by a nun in the 15th century! The descriptions of life and the politics are full and rich but her descriptions of the fish and the countryside are writing at its best as far as "show don't tell". I have a new found respect for anglers.
Oct 13, 2012 Leah rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
This is a book of fiction written about the first woman author in England. She wrote books on hunting, hawking, and fly-fishing. It was interesting but not riveting for me. However, it is a reader's choice book at our library.
May 26, 2013 Joy rated it did not like it
Interesting story of Dame Julia. It took a little while for me to enjoy the chants added to this story. Maybe if I liked to fish it would have been even more interesting. I really did enjoy the historical aspect of the book.
Aug 28, 2012 Chris rated it liked it
Even though I am not a fisherman, I found the facts about fishing mixed with the past reflections, current events in her narrative and the historical events happening intriguing. Such an interesting time in English history.
Jan 17, 2014 Lisa rated it did not like it
Had been eyeing this book for a while, the topic seemed very interesting. Unfortunately the author's writing wasn't up to the task. Can't recommend.
Jul 14, 2012 Kristie rated it really liked it
Very interesting, not a "page turner" but I would recommend it.
Barbara Larsen
Sep 12, 2012 Barbara Larsen rated it did not like it
could not finish it.
Sep 16, 2012 Chrystalin rated it liked it
Really more like a 3.5. The story of Dame Juliana's life is impressive. She was an amazing woman! But this was a hard read for me(took me 5 days, which is not typical for such a small book).
Aug 30, 2012 Kathleenrw rated it really liked it
Liked the story and the structure around the hours of prayer. Really thought about the idea of what one's life will be known for in the end.
Karen Kasper
Aug 25, 2012 Karen Kasper rated it it was amazing
Interesting glimpse of life in medieval England.
Marisa rated it did not like it
Oct 09, 2013
Nora Gubbins
Nora Gubbins rated it it was amazing
Feb 01, 2013
Michelle Lemire
Michelle Lemire rated it it was ok
Jan 21, 2016
Daniel rated it really liked it
Aug 07, 2012
Robyn Bave
Robyn Bave rated it liked it
Jun 03, 2012
Shersta rated it it was amazing
Apr 27, 2012
Tricia rated it it was ok
Aug 03, 2012
Yooperprof rated it really liked it
Jan 13, 2012
Susa rated it liked it
Aug 22, 2012
Kathy Creason
Kathy Creason rated it really liked it
Aug 26, 2012
gloria s. barker
gloria s. barker rated it it was amazing
Mar 31, 2016
Melanie Smith
Melanie Smith rated it did not like it
May 20, 2016
Abbie Butcher
Abbie Butcher rated it did not like it
Jan 18, 2013
Jenny rated it did not like it
Oct 26, 2013
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