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An Uncertain Age [Kindle Edition]

Ulrica Hume
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"Where was my real soul mate, I wanted to know, and why were there no twitchy children on my lap, and how had I been so dumb to believe that beauty’s currency would never run out? So, Paris…."

Justine’s life is uncertain when she meets Miles Peabody on the Eurostar. She has lost her job, her fiancé, everything except her dream of becoming an artist. Miles Peabody, a retired librarian and beekeeper, has always led a cautious, philosophical life. Now, faced with his mortality, he needs a miracle.

Drawn inexplicably to each other, their relationship is tested when Miles invites Justine to join him on a Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage. But before she can answer, Miles goes missing. Desperate to find him, and nudged by the French police, Justine slips into a dark night of the soul. As her radical search turns inward, she begins to explore her faith (or lack of). The love letters of Abélard and Héloïse play a part—as do fractals, the physics of color, and Saint Teresa of Ávila’s excruciating visions. Also a rare, gnostic book, Secrets of the Epinoia, which is as elusive as its owner.

Helping Justine unravel the mystery of Miles are two women: Gwynneth, a lapsed Anglican, and Dara, a devout Hindu housekeeper (whose intentions Justine prays are good). Their cloistered world is turned upside-down when a charismatic visitor appears with the keys to Miles’s past. Haunted by questions of truth, betrayal, and loss, it seems they are all connected in an unlikely, even mystical way—whether in France or Spain, England, or far-off places around the globe.

An Uncertain Age by Ulrica Hume is a quirky, interfaith novel about astonishing grace, and longing in all its forms.

Editorial Reviews

Review

An Uncertain Age is a fascinating work, at once a mystery that transforms itself by degrees into a pilgrimage, and an unlikely love story that deepens into transforming mystery. Ulrica Hume is literate, smart, painfully honest, and often slyly, redemptively funny, and she has suffused her story with the rare urgency of a genuine spiritual quest. --Tim Farrington, author of The Monk Downstairs

A rich and complex tapestry, a spiritual and literary mystery, this novel turns the reader into a seeker. The quest that unfolds is rewarding in multiple dimensions, beginning with the sheer delight of its beautifully crafted sentences. And while the novel s sophisticated layers of meaning engaged my adult mind, its wildly adventurous plot, its vivid descriptions of far-away places, and its cast of wonderfully eccentric characters drew me in to an experience of reading that I haven t had since I was a child. --Noelle Oxenhandler, author of The Wishing Year: A House, A Man, My Soul

About the Author

Ulrica Hume is an award-winning writer. Her work has appeared in the San Francisco Examiner, Poets & Writers Magazine, The Bloomsbury Review, The Huffington Post, and elsewhere. An Uncertain Age, her debut novel, was longlisted for a Northern California Book Award and selected as a literary fiction finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards. House of Miracles, her collection of interrelated tales about love, was a finalist for the D.H. Lawrence Fellowship; the title story was selected by the PEN Syndicated Fiction Project and broadcast on National Public Radio.

Product Details

  • File Size: 683 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Blue Circle Press (July 22, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008NPLUUS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,162,942 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
(13)
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sophisticated, polished writing from Ulrica Hume February 13, 2013
Format:Paperback
There are times when books come across our paths that seem unlikely ventures into literature, only to open them and be so captivated with the sheer beauty of the command of the English language that turning the pages is as much a joy of discovering the style and quality of the writing as is the story itself.

Ulrica Hume spins gold out of ink. She obviously is a highly educated person, rich in appreciation of philosophy, religion, literature, the science of color theory etc because she is able to so easily weave threads from all these arenas into her story in such a way that allows us all to learn as much about matters outside her book as we do about her characters she so surely paints.

AN UNCERTAIN AGE happens to be the age of our heroine (age 48 in years) who, disenfranchised and disenchanted with life in California, travels to France for mental refuge (think `Justine' from Durrell's Alexandria Quartet, as that is the name assigned our narrator). In a near Agatha Christie atmosphere on a train she encounters a strange English bloke and that happenstance meeting between two seemingly disparate characters blossoms into an adventure that takes our heroine into a plain of unexpected self discovery, allows the reader to learn about the junction between Catholicism/Anglicanism, Gnosticism, and Hinduism all in a manner that involves the introduction of new characters who enhance the mystery of the disappearance of the English bloke where the story begins. It is a mystery, a craving for love at an uncertain age when aspects of emotional stability and ardor seem out of reach, and a travelogue to some of the world's most interesting proscenium arches where Hume stages her intricate novel.

If the story at times strays away from linear development it matters little, as the writing of every page of this book is a visual and mental pleasure. This is the work of a writer of substance: where will she take us next? Grady Harp, February 13
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Enthralling Story July 16, 2012
Format:Paperback
I found "An Uncertain Age" to be a very intriguing and compelling read, rich with historical and literary references. This, combined with the narrator's spiritual introspection, makes for an analytical and thus slower read. Some of the prominent events and places discussed are centered around Catholic history, such as the persecution of Cathars, the story of Abélard and Héloïse, Chartres Cathedral, and the Basque region.

The themes of love, reality, fate, God and intent contribute to the story's multitudinous layers and mysterious air. I highly enjoyed Justine and Miles's rather deeply poetic and philosophical conversations (or is it relationship?) which-despite their varied backgrounds-highlights their shared appreciation of history and literature. There is a quote which I feel carries a lot of truth and which is worth reflecting upon:
"I am always surprised how life has a way of making catalysts of common things." (pg. 267)
Among other subjects, it may inspire discussion surrounding the way the characters are brought together: chance or fate?

A skillfully crafted novel that's well worth exploring.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read! April 20, 2012
Format:Paperback
It's almost as if the stars draw Justine, an American woman who is seeking to have a more settled life, and Miles, an English man who seems to be obsessed with some of life's mysteries. They meet on the Eurostar and both of their lives change. Justine takes up residence in Miles' house in England and Miles is now missing.

Miles is obsessed with the story of Peter Abelard, someone that I was not familiar at all with. Abelard was a French scholar and philosopher that lived during medieval times (the 12 century specifically). Knowing what Abelard is about is key to understanding this book. Miles is especially focused on Abelard's relationship with Heloise, a young student who was known for her knowledge of languages. Heloise's uncle and caretaker eventually decided he had an issue with Heloise and Peter's relationship and castrated Peter and made Heloise go to the convent.

Abelard had the idea of Limbo, which was accepted by the Pope. In a way, Miles and Justine are both sort of in limbo. Miles especially is in limbo when he's missing and is on his own sort of spiritual and religious journey much like Abelard. Overtones of Abelard and Heloise's relationship are also definitely present between Miles and Justine.

The writing in this book is great. It kept me reading even when I was getting a little frustrated with the sort of background that is definitely important to know when reading this book. I think that those that really, really like philosophy and the idea of spirituality and where we find it in our own lives will get into this book. Full disclosure, I'm not a huge fan of philosophy and I definitely had to do a little research into some of the ideas throughout the book. It wasn't a deal breaker but it definitely took me out of the book a little bit. The writing really did keep me going!

Bottom line: This book may require some extra knowledge building but the writing is worth it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a must-read book. March 17, 2012
Format:Paperback
I recently finished reading An Uncertain Age book for the second time and really liked it, yet again. I had forgotten a lot in the middle section; that is, a lot about general life at the Paraclete, so it was almost as if I were reading it anew. Obviously, a follow-up is in order! I'm passing this book around to some of my friends whom I know enjoy a most literate mystery novel.

The book held me spellbound, mostly. On the downside (and that's very minor, to my mind), there are parts that are so filled with esoteric information, things that personally I found irrelevant to the story, yet which, however, did reveal the enormous research the author put into the detailed facts in the work...and yes, this is a work, a real opus, thus deserves great approbation. I just wondered why I needed to know so much about medieval times, and religion in general. I found myself skimming those lines just to get back to the main plot of the story. But then I wondered if this wasn't actually a clever ploy by the author to show us the ponderous nature of her hero, Miles. Could be...in which case, I take this (very slight) criticism back!

I did learn a lot from the book, however much the reading of it sometimes stalled me, and that's always a good thing. I know I'll be rereading it yet again, now I know the tale and how it comes out, and can reread it just for the enjoyment of the author's delightful sentences, the pictures she paints with words, and yes, sigh, this time to read more carefully about those things I hadn't known.

The story is a real mystery novel, full of intricate webs, the one thread connecting to another, and written exquisitely. The author is stuffed full of literate knowledge and not shy to share it. Is that good or bad? So long as the story moves right along, which this one certainly does, to me it's overall a good thing.

A very good book, worth reading. Don't miss it!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars For the contempletive reader, but 1* if you prefer a structured plot...
An Uncertain Age eISBN 9780966919370, Blue Circle Press by Ulrica Hume is provided as a book dealing with spirituality and metaphysics. Read more
Published 20 months ago by John H. Manhold
4.0 out of 5 stars A Dubious Disciple Book Review
A story about life on life's terms, with all its uncertainty. I'm not really much of a fiction reader, and the spirituality of the book is probably too subtle for a religion blog,... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Dubious Disciple
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing
Ulrica Hume has written an intriguing, original novel. Her book incorporates religion, spirituality and mysticism, weaving these themes into an unlikely love story. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Susie
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother
I only read a small part of this book. It became vulgar and distasteful quickly and I deleted it, It was a free download and wasn't worth it to me. Read more
Published on November 25, 2012 by Just me
3.0 out of 5 stars Uncertain Age
I thought it wandered around and never got to the plot. I was not able to
Become immersed in the story.
Published on September 9, 2012 by bookworm
4.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite spiritual mystery
At the beginning of Ulrica Hume's metaphysical and spiritual novel "An Uncertain Age," Justine meets Miles Peabody on the Eurostar en route from London to Paris. Read more
Published on March 4, 2012 by M. R. Campbell
4.0 out of 5 stars Rich Layer Cake
It's difficult to describe this novel. It's unique in so many respects-the settings, the characters, their indivdual and collective journeys, and their search for meaning. Read more
Published on February 7, 2012 by Bob C.
4.0 out of 5 stars Doris Lessing meets Umberto Eco
This is a jewel of a book, a transformational novel that simultaneously deals with the emotional baggage of entering middle age and the transformation of the soul according to... Read more
Published on January 31, 2012 by David Minor
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating & different
This is not a book for everyone, but having said that everyone should read it. A love story, yes; but one with a difference. Read more
Published on January 28, 2012 by Sorbus
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More About the Author

Ulrica Hume is an award-winning writer. Her work has appeared in the San Francisco Examiner, Poets & Writers Magazine, The Bloomsbury Review, The Huffington Post, and elsewhere. AN UNCERTAIN AGE, her debut novel, was longlisted for a Northern California Book Award and selected as a literary fiction finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards. HOUSE OF MIRACLES, her collection of interrelated tales about love, was a finalist for the D.H. Lawrence Fellowship; the title story was selected by the PEN Syndicated Fiction Project and broadcast on National Public Radio. Visit the author at www.ulricahume.com/

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