God's Good Man: A Simple Love-story

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Dodd, Mead & Company, 1906 - English fiction - 523 pages
 

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This is exactly the kind of a gem I always hope to find, as I browse in the vintage section at used book stores and book sales. A novel—at least a hundred years old—with some wonderful characters, a can’t-put-it-down plot, a spiritual element, a bit of romance, the joy of nature, an educational element, all put together with excellent writing. 523 pages with not a single picture, and I couldn’t bear for it to end. I am still amazed that a 1904 novel can do that. The story is set in England. Pastor John Walden, the forty-something ‘man of worship’, is introduced as having a cheerful, sanguine disposition, athletic looking, strong of character. He is the owner of one of the smallest ‘livings’ in England, an old relic of a church of medieval days, which he’d bought and renovated to the point where it was a tourist interest in the woodland village of St. Rest.
One day Mrs. Spruce, his housekeeper, shows the parson a letter from Miss Maryllia Vancourt, the property owner, about her upcoming arrival. He dreads the return of this modern Squiress, expecting that she most likely will bring modern ways with her, and will hunt, shoot, smoke, and perhaps swear. Maryllia does in a sense bring modern ways to the village in the form of her friends and acquaintances, who exude wealth and privilege, living lives of bored gossip, fashions, food and obsessed with status. She, however, has little interest in such a lifestyle, nor is she interested in the wealthy male version of the same, Lord Rocksmith, who considers himself engaged to her. In herself, she presents a modern independence of intelligence, thought and strength, of poise and vision, of integrity and compassion, unusual for a woman in that small community of simple folk.
Maryllia and John clash, especially as he disapproves of her worldliness and the society that she keeps. Yet each encounter shows their true colors, pleasing colors. They are actually cut from the same cloth in their common qualities of humility, strength of character, goodness and faith. Eventually, they begin to see past their first impressions and develop an affectionate friendship, which leads to love. The ending is not predictable, and keeps the tension high until the last words.
I can’t say enough good about this book! I highly recommend it for all ages. Give this book to a young reader to introduce them to top quality, wholesome literature!
 

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Page 245 - FROM the forests and highlands We come, we come ; From the river-girt islands, Where loud waves are dumb Listening to my sweet pipings. The wind in the reeds and the rushes, The bees on the bells of thyme. The birds on the myrtle bushes, The cicale above in the lime, And the lizards below in the grass, Were as silent as ever old Tmolus* was, Listening to my sweet pipings.
Page 245 - I sang of the dancing stars, I sang of the daedal earth, And of heaven, and the Giant wars, And love, and death, and birth.
Page 282 - DEARLY beloved brethren, the Scripture moveth us in sundry places to acknowledge and confess our manifold sins and wickedness ; and that we should not dissemble nor cloke them before the face of Almighty God our heavenly Father ; but confess them with an humble, lowly, penitent, and obedient heart; to the end that we may obtain forgiveness of the same, by his infinite goodness and mercy.
Page 281 - Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which Is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.
Page 467 - She look'd so lovely, as she sway'd The rein with dainty finger-tips, A man had given all other bliss, And all his worldly worth for this, To waste his whole heart in one kiss Upon her perfect lips.
Page 230 - They did promise and vow three things in my name. First, that I should renounce the devil and all his works, the pomps and vanity of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh.
Page 272 - There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour.
Page 14 - Remember us poor mayers all, And thus we do begin To lead our lives in righteousness, Or else we die in sin. We have been rambling all this night And almost all this day, And now returned back again We have brought you a branch of may. A branch of may we have brought you And at your door it stands. It is but a sprout But it's well budded out By the work of our Lord's hands.
Page 15 - With his heavenly dew so sweet. The heavenly gates are open wide, Our paths are beaten plain ; And if a man be not too far gone, He may return again. The...
Page 13 - Out of the court, were it a mile or tway : And to the grove, of which that I you told, By aventure his way he gan to hold, To maken him a garland of the greves, Were it of woodbind or of hawthorn leaves ; • Saluteth.

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