There are few books I'll re-read with some regularity. This is my third reading, I've seen part one about 30 times (work), and I still manage to chuck...moreThere are few books I'll re-read with some regularity. This is my third reading, I've seen part one about 30 times (work), and I still manage to chuckle at the jokes and find new meaning within the script and characters. Angels in America is a brilliant piece of work. (less)
I really liked The Black Robe, but think it's something readers will either like or loathe. It started off a tad slowly before gaining steady momentum...moreI really liked The Black Robe, but think it's something readers will either like or loathe. It started off a tad slowly before gaining steady momentum, but I "had" to finish the last hundred pages in one sitting and at times it was difficult to put down. I found the well-written, informative novel more interesting because of its social commentary. I’ve come to really like Collins' writing, his novels are so far three for three, and I have a few others in the queue.
Father Benwell divides a couple and conquers the impressionable husband so that the Church may reclaim land Lewis Romayne had inherited. Being the intellectual writer that he was, Collins adds depth to the straightforward plot through psychology, deceit, power struggles, and relationships.
The Black Robe is full of Victorian England’s religious views and biases and Collins’ usual commentary about domestic issues and the plight of women. Through the portrayal of the Church’s spiritual aristocracy, its priests, and characters’ comments, England’s anti-Catholicism sentiments are crystal clear. But on the other side, Protestants have "all the prejudices incident to that way of thinking".
"The Catholic system here showed to perfection its masterly knowledge of the weakness of human nature, and its inexhaustible dexterity in adapting the means to the end."
Written in 1881, the epistolary novel differs from Collins’s earlier acclaimed classics, the Woman in White and the Moonstone. If expecting suspenseful mystery, one will be disappointed. If one likes older literary fiction, then try the Black Robe on for size. (less)