Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy

Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy

A Novel

by Rumer Godden
Publisher: Viking Press
©1979, Item: 92669
Hardcover, 207 pages
Not in stock

In this splendid new novel Rumer Godden returns to the theme of the religious life, which has inspired some of her most successful novels, including Black Narcissus and In This House of Brede. She now moves to the world of the French Dominican Sisters of Béthanie, who work among the whores, drug addicts, and vagrants of the great cities.

The heroine is Lise, an English girl who, after the liberation of Paris, falls into bad company and, after a period in one of Paris's smartest brothels, becomes a successful madam—La Balafrée, the Scarred One. The story of her prison sentence, her conversion, and her agonizing work among women whose experiences outdid even her own is also the story of one woman's searing confrontation with her faith and, above all, herself.

The Sisters of Béthanie, whose real-life prototypes Rumer Godden has researched and knows in depth, provide a background to match Lise's own narrative: whether in cloistered serenity or in raw contact with the harshest realities of twentieth-century life, they stand an undimmed beacon.

The title Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy derives from the sequenced beads of the rosary, and it is a rosary glinting silver amid dirt and debris that becomes the very symbol of Lise's tragedy and final triumph.

Jacket design by Mel Williamson

from the dust jacket

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