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Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy (Loyola Classics) Paperback – February 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Series: Loyola Classics
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Loyola Classics (February 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0829424733
  • ISBN-13: 978-0829424737
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #659,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Book Description

This haunting tale of shame and redemption is the story of Lise Fanshawe, prostitute and brothel     manager in postwar Paris, murderer and prisoner,
and, finally, a Catholic nun in an order dedicated to serving people on the margins of society. Rumer Godden, author of the masterwork In This House of Brede, tells an inspiring and entirely convincing conversion story that shows how the mercy of God extends to the darkest human places

From the Back Cover

Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy is about growth, choice, struggle, and the freedom of the soul that transcends the license of the body. It is about finding sin where we least expect it.”
— Joan Chittister, from the introduction

This haunting tale of disgrace and redemption centers on Lise Fanshawe, a prostitute and brothel manager in postwar Paris who, while serving time in prison for killing a man, finds God. Lise is helped by an order of Catholic nuns that includes former prostitutes and prisoners like her. She joins the order and is swept up in an unexpected and fateful encounter with people from her past life. Rumer Godden, author of the masterwork In This House of Brede, tells an inspiring and entirely convincing conversion story that shows how the mercy of God extends to the darkest human places.


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 28 customer reviews
The descriptions and writing are exquisite.
Kathleen
The work also showcases quite clearly that God can dip down into the darkest corners of the human heart and transform that person for the better.
Christian Engler
Anyone who thinks they have it easy should read this book.
Hannahzarah Avarraschild

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Judith Miller VINE VOICE on September 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the story of Elizabeth Fanshawe. In 1944, when she was twenty-one years old, she was enlisted in the English army and her assignment as a driver took her to Paris. It was an exciting time because the French were jubilant over the liberation of France. Elizabeth joined in the celebrations, but became separated from her English army companion. Intoxicated from hours of drinking, she splashed around with a group of other celebrants in a fountain. Wet, exhausted and cold, she was approached by Patrice Ambard, a charming and well-dressed man who befriends her. When he finds out that she's alone, he offers to take her to his home to dry off. Drunk and unable to remember where her hotel is, she goes with him. She's seduced and ends up madly in love with Patrice. Thus, she began a new life. Patrice owned a high-class brothel, and Lise becomes a prostitute and was known as the notorious Madam Lise Ambard. She was also referred to as La Balafree, the Scarred One.

Her life is told through flashbacks and the book actually begins with her in a convent that is run by the French Dominican Sisters of Bethanie. This particular order of Sisters work in helping drug addicts, vagrants, prisoners and prostitutes. Lise's story unfolds, as she remembers her past and the circumstances of her life. Despite the sordid early life that Lise led, this is actually a story of faith, love and forgiveness.

The title, FIVE FOR SORROW, TEN FOR JOY is a reference to the rosary. The Rosary, is a Catholic tradition where the different prayers reflect on the life of Jesus.

The author of this fascinating story is Rumer Godden. She is the superb author of dozens of wonderful books for both adults and children. Three of her most well known stories were also turned into films. They are, IN THIS HOUSE OF BREDE, THE PEACOCK SPRING and BLACK NARCISSUS.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 22, 1997
Format: Hardcover
The title refers to the Rosary which the main character can not escape - or the child in whose hand she first saw it. The Catholic imagery and ritual is pervasive but with enough explaination for a reader who is not familar with it.

From being a driver in the armed forces at the liberation of Paris at the end of the war Liz could not have seen the path her life would take.

Rumer Godden paints vivd picture of the times and places she describes from the brothel to the prison and finally to the convent where she finds her peace in the orders' work with prisioners.

It is many years since I last read this book and yet the images from it and the character stay in my memory still. The work may not be quite to the standard of "In this house of Brede" but it is still a brilliant story and very well crafted. I am very sad to see it is no longer in print.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 4, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I too am sorry this book is not currently available. The story is darker and less "easy" than Godden's luminous IN THIS HOUSE OF BREDE -- the main character becomes a madam and a convict -- but the themes of religious faith and redemption are the same and are beautifully rendered.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Pacific NW Reader on May 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
A wonderful book found in a used bookstore. I wish they wrote like this today. Miss Godden is a masterful storyteller, who writes about the Catholic faith beautifully. You don't have to be Catholic to understand and enjoy the subject of this book. It is a dark story--much more so than most of her books. However, the love, faith, and beauty that shine forth from the despair and degradation of Lise's early life are thought provoking. The charactors will stay with you for a long time. Highly recommended.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen on August 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover
How sad that this book is no longer in print. "Five for Sorrow; ten for Joy" is beautifully written as are most of Rumer Godden's books.

Liz is only 19, fresh from London and driving an army car during World War II. She has no parents and was brought up by a cold, unmarried aunt. Her life changes when she is seduced by a charming Frenchman who is actually the proprietor of a brothel.

Degradation, despair, and eventual redemption are the themes of this novel. Rumer Godden also weaves in the history of the order of nuns Liz joins--an order founded to rescue the prostitutes of Paris.

The five for sorrow and ten for joy refer to the decades of the rosary.

The descriptions and writing are exquisite. I loved this story.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 12, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Often I give away a book, especially fiction, once I've read it. Not this book. I have bought several to give to my friends and without exception, each of my friends had to get the book to give to their friends. This is a story packed with reality, mercy and new beginnings - it overflows with hope even when things for the central character seem at the worst. I so appreciate Godden's sensitivity in conveying the truth about human nature and, as I am a member of a monastic community, amazed at her ability to portray life in a convent without romance and with great regard. Powerful read.
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Format: Paperback
To be a nun means to occupy a very special and committed role in society. It is definitely a unique calling when a woman accepts to be a special witness and bearer to the truth of Jesus Christ. Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy is not a novel purely about nuns, per se, although it does play a significant part. Rather it is about people, their humanity - and sometimes their lack of it - as well as their redemption, for even religious people require the latter.

The novel centers on the Sisters of Bethany at the Convent of Belle Source whose nuns and aspirants - though not all of them - were at one time or another, convicts at Vesoul Prison, women deemed lost or hopeless due to their past criminal transgressions. It is their grim hardness of personal life experience that makes them stellar examples of what it is to be true disciples of Jesus Christ, brides whom He plucked from the dark and horrific corners of their own making, for when things are truly at their worst for people, God is always in and at the scene.

Of all the vast array of characters that pepper the novel, it is Elizabeth Fanshawe, before she becomes Soeur Marie Lise, in which the story revolves. Before her entry into monastic life, she was better known as La Balafree or Madame Lise Ambard, the self described whore and infamous brothel managing murderess who served a ten year stint behind bars. But before she accepted that role, despite her dubious misgivings, she was a minor figurehead in the Army in France, having worked for the Motor Transport Corps. Aside from her Aunt Millicent in Greenhurst, England, she had no blood relations or friends and was thus easy prey for the bad influences that bombarded her on the eve of the armistice of the war.
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