Book Reviews

The Poetic Mews: cats and the poets by Elizabeth Wager

From the pen of Elizabeth Wager comes The Poetic Mews: cats and their poets. Elizabeth is the daughter of the late John and Janet Cooper of Sherborne. Many will remember them, especially Janet who died more recently. This is a lovely collection of very witty poems, all written in the style of well-known poets of the past. It will appeal to all who love poetry, or cats, or both. It is priced at £9.50, and all profits will benefit the charity International Cat Care.  Available in the Abbey Shop.

The Bells of Sherborne Abbey by Peter Soole and Katherine Barker

From Monday 3 December, the Abbey Shop should have copies of a new book, The Bells of Sherborne Abbey, which I describe in the Foreword as “a labour of love” by its two authors, ringer Peter Soole and historian Katherine Barker. It costs just £4.50.

Brightly Shining by Sherborne Library Poets and Friends

Do visit the Shop to explore.  Don’t forget to buy your copy of the latest offering from the Sherborne Library Poets and Friends. Entitled Brightly Shining, this anthology of poems has something for everyone. It costs just £4.50, and all the proceeds will go to Julia’s House, the Dorset Hospice for Children (and its new sister, the Wiltshire house in Devizes). A great stocking-filler.

Daily Reflections for Advent & Christmas by Sister Genevieve Glen OSB

There is a wealth of Advent reading now available from the Abbey Shop in the Close, and the bookstall in the Abbey. Do browse to find one which would suit you. For value for money, try the latest edition of Daily Reflections for Advent & Christmas, written this year by Sister Genevieve Glen OSB. It offers a daily reading, reflection, meditation and prayer from Advent Sunday to Sunday 13 January (the Feast of the Baptism of Christ) – and all for just £1.50! You can’t get better value than that! The Shop also has a great selection of candles, Nativity sets and Christmas cards.

A Quenchless Fire by Rosie Lear

Hard on the heels of the Abbey launch of her first Matthias Barton mystery novel set in Sherborne, Missal for Murder, Rosie Lear has published another: A Quenchless Fire. This moves us on a year to 1437, with unrest between the Abbey and the townspeople growing – culminating, of course, in the great fire, responsible for the pink discolouration of the stone at the east end. If you enjoyed the first in the series, you will certainly want to buy the second. It is on sale in the Abbey Shop and on the Abbey bookstall at the discounted price of £8.

Missal for Murder by Rosie Lear

A really rather good first novel by local author Rosie Lear begins with a murder in Sherborne Abbey’s Lady Chapel. It is set in 1436 at a time of growing ill-feeling between the monastery and the townsfolk. It is a fast-moving yarn which makes ideal summer reading, if you like medieval whodunits, that is. I do, and enjoyed this one greatly. The Abbey Shop in the Close and the Abbey bookstall are now stocking Missal for Murder, at £8 a copy.

Every Pilgrim’s Guide to Oberammergau and its Passion Play by Michael Counsell

Those who have already booked for Oberammergau will be interested in the reprinting of an invaluable little book, Every Pilgrim’s Guide to Oberammergau and its Passion Play, by Michael Counsell. Published by Canterbury Press at £9.99, the Abbey Shop in the Close has copies at the discounted price of £8.50.

Dorset’s Abbeys and Churches by Robert Westwood

The Abbey Shop has copies of a new publication, Dorset’s Abbeys and Churches, by Robert Westwood. Beautifully produced, this significant booklet is on sale in the Shop for £4.95.

Sir Walter Raleigh by Maria Wingfield Digby

To coincide with the 400th anniversary of the death of Sir Walter Raleigh of Sherborne Castle, Pitkin Publishers have brought out a beautifully-produced booklet which is an elegant introduction to Raleigh’s life. The text is by Maria Wingfield Digby, whose husband Edward is the current owner of the Castle. The Digby family has owned the Castle since 1617. The Abbey Shop in the Close has copies of Sir Walter Raleigh at £5.95 each.

Dust that dreams of glory: Reflections on Lent and Holy Week by Michael Mayne

Our Abbey Shop Manager Phil Prout has found another Lent book which I can heartily recommend. It is a collection of addresses, edited and introduced by Joel Huffstetler, written and given by the late Michael Mayne.  The Very Reverend Michael Mayne KCVO was Dean of Westminster 1986 to 1996, and some of you will remember the wonderful Three Hours’ Devotion he conducted here in the Abbey during his retirement. He died in 2006.

There are 23 addresses in all, beautifully written and full of profound insight. The book can be obtained from the Abbey Shop at the discounted price of £8.95.