Starbridge Books In Order

Publication Order of Starbridge Books

Glittering Images (1987) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Glamorous Powers (1988) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Ultimate Prizes (1989) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Scandalous Risks (1990) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Mystical Paths (1992) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Absolute Truths (1994) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

The Starbridge series consists of six novel sets that were written by renowned author Susan Howatch in her description of the Anglican Church history through the twentieth century. Each of the novels is self-sufficient in content and with diverse characters and they can be read alone. Nevertheless, the main characters on each of the novel also do feature in the rest of the books. The usage of these common character permits the author to showcase the same scenarios from diverse perspectives. The main themes that vibrate through the books are sex, scandals and the theology of Christianity. This is the cornerstone of the Starbridge novels that can be defined as a soap opera concerning the 20th century Church of England. The Starbridge series are addictive and overly enriching and the six novels are set in an imaginary Anglican diocese of Starbridge which was taken to mean the city of Salisbury in England. For each of the novel is self-contained and wonderful in its own part and the author planned very diligently to ensure that the series can be read in any of the orders without creating confusion on the part of the reader. Reading of the series in full is otherwise recommended as this will fulfill a reader’s conviction. The reader will also come to appreciate the inter-connective-ness of the various characters across the series that manifests itself as one reads through. This is exemplified by the fact that Howatch winks at readers who are familiar with her other works of the series. These Starbridge series do consist of the

1) Glittering Images that was set in the year 1937. It was narrated by one, Charles Ashworth who as a young priest was attempting to solve a mystery at the Starbridge Episcopal palace.

2) Glamorous powers that debuted in the year 1940 and which is narrated by Jon Darrow who is an Anglican monk that was called to leave the order.

3) Ultimate price that was set in the year 1942 and which is narrated by one Neville Avsgarth who is an overly obsessed Archdeacon addicted into chasing worldly success, a habit that leads him into making a potentially disastrous marriage.

4) Scandalous risk that is set in the year 1963 and which is narrated by one Venetia Flaxton who is a young aristocrat that commences a doomed love affair with Neville Avsgarth

5) Mystical paths that debuted in 1968 and features Nicholas Darrow as the narrator who tries to solve the mystery of a colleague’s death.

6) The absolute truth set in the year 1965 before the events that are set up in mystical paths occur. It is the final of the series and it is also narrated by Charles Ashworth who had earlier begun the series and presently the Bishop of Starbridge. Absolute truth sees him facing a personal catastrophe.
The Starbridge novels do focus majorly on the priests and they are concerned with the dedicated and intelligent priests who end up making mistakes and subsequently ending up in a mess. The inherent aim of Susan Howatch series is to depict the clergy man as being ordinary humans. They are capable of committing mistakes and therefore getting themselves into a mess just like anyone else and hence fall short of the ideals of the church. A keen look at the series reveals that Howatch is extremely fascinated by the complexity of the human personality in which every human has dark secrets that they do carry around. The series is full of concrete theology and insightful concepts. The books are, therefore, intellectually enjoyable and the author a renowned storyteller as the books are full of scandalous scenarios making the reader be glued on them just seeking to know what happens next.

Starbridge series is full of psychologically complex characters in which a reader will truly care for and the author is a shrewd master of psychology who dwells at the core of the Starbridge series books. The characters of the series do turn to psychoanalysis to uncover how phenomena like experience, heredity, and aristocracy system have impacted their lives and landed them into their present predicaments. A reoccurring theme of the series is the notion that the language of religion and the language of psychology do point to the same truths. The most interesting aspect about the author is her ability to story tells the same story from diverse perspectives where in each of the novels she adopts a distinctive and convincing stance as the voice of the narrator. She utilizes different Starbridge narrators to depict the wings of the Church of England. Hence, Neville is Low Church while Jon Darrow an Anglo-Catholic and Charles Ashworth do represent the Anglican ‘middle way.’ This indeed appears graphic but the author represents those diverse viewpoints in an intelligent manner and sympathetically that one can manage to have empathy and get into the minds of the different characters. This makes Starbridge to be so compelling especially when reading as a series that helps someone to understand the diverse conflicting perspectives of the Anglican Church. The narrators used by the author are unreliable and they do present a continuum of viewpoints across the series so as to showcase the limited nature of the human knowledge. Therefore, the moment a reader familiarizes him or herself with the six books of the series, he or she will be in a position to constantly be conscious of the instances where the narrator makes incorrect assumptions and misrepresents the situation at hand. Therefore, the subjective mind of man and his knowledge is shown throughout the series, and by reading the books one is helped to understand the church better.

Susan Howatch was born in England and she attended the Kings College London where she pursued a degree in law. She later migrated to the United States where she got married and embarked on her career as a writer. Her marriage was blessed with a daughter but in 1976, they got divorced with her husband where she later left America and came to reside in the republic of Ireland for about four years before journeying back to England. As she was residing in a flat that faced Salisbury cathedral and pondering about her divided life, she was captivated by the inspiring beauty of the cathedral and became a convert. Her dilemma was whether to continue producing romantic novels but instead choose to write the six series of Starbridge novels that relate to the Church of England in the 20th century. All these books indeed reflect her spiritual crisis.

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