Thursday, April 6, 2023

The Cloister and the Hearth by Charles Reade -- BOOK BEGINNINGS


What book has been on your TBR Shelf the longest?

For me, the answer is The Cloister and the Hearth, which I bought in 1981 when I was a freshman in high school. It was a pretty edition of an old book and I liked it. Then I never read it and have carted it around ever since. I decided to finally read it after 40+ years! It is one of the books I'm reading for the TBR 23 in '23 Challenge

What do you think of the opening sentence, below?

Thank you for joining me for Book Beginnings on Fridays to share the opening sentence (or so) of the book you are reading this week. You can also share from a book you want to highlight, even if you are not reading it right now. 

Not a day passes over the earth, but men and women of no note do great deeds, speak great words, and suffer noble sorrows.
-- from The Cloister and the Hearth by Charles Reade. This historical fiction novel was published in 1861 but is set in the 1460s in Holland and Italy. 

I had no idea what to expect. But I didn't expect it to be such a rollicking adventure story! Without giving away anything not on the back cover, the hero Gerard falls in love with Margaret but wants to go to Italy to make money copying manuscripts and learning to be an artist. Through trickery and deceit, he hears she died and never knows she had their baby son (out of wedlock!), so he becomes a priest. Adventures ensue as Gerard and Margaret figure out what went wrong. Lots of other crazy things happen, including being chased by a leopard, bloodhounds, and bears. 

I still have 75 pages to go and I don't see a happy ending on the horizon. But I love the journey even though I suspect the destination might be disappointing. 


Please leave the link to your Book Beginnings on Fridays post in the box below. If you share on social media, please use the hashtag #bookbeginnings.

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Freda at Freda's Voice hosts another teaser event on Fridays. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of the book they are reading -- or from 56% of the way through the audiobook or ebook. Please visit Freda's Voice for details and to leave a link to your post.


From The Cloister and the Hearth:
But when Ghysbrecht told him that Margaret was a girl of good character; that it was not to be supposed she would be so intimate if marriage had not been spoken of between them, his brow darkened. 

“Marriage! that shall never be,” said he sternly.


  1. I've done the same thing, carting around a book since high school days having never read it. I finally got to it last year. Sigh.

    1. What book was it? Did you like it or regret carting it around?

  2. This sounds really good. I love that you had it on your TBR for over 40 years :) Have a great weekend!

  3. I've heard of this book but had no idea what it was about. I hope you'll write a review when you've finished it.

  4. Hi Gilion! I've had Memoirs of a Geisha on my TBR for over 10 years! Started listening to it, but it's a long read so it might take me a couple of months.

    Good to dust off the high school reads.

    Have a lovely Easter Weekend!

    Elza Reads

  5. I hope you have a very Happy Easter, Gillon 😊

  6. Love the beginning! Happy Easter weekend!


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