Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy

Rumer Godden


I remember reading this years ago, so when it turned up for $1.99, I picked it up for a reread. It doesn’t age well, I’m sorry to say. I found it too sweet and sentimental for my tastes, but I understood why it appealed to my adolescent mind.

Elizabeth Fanshaw leaves her English home for WWII France, where she falls into the hand of a high-class brothel keeper. Swept up into the life, she eventually goes to prison for a high-profile murder. While in prison, she encounters the nuns of the Dominican Sisters of Bethany and discovers she has a vocation to the religious life.

This time around I found Godden’s style of telling her story in fragments of dialogue and using flashbacks more annoying than intriguing.


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