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Grandmother and the Priests Mass Market Paperback – December 12, 1986

4.8 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Fawcett (December 12, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449213870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449213872
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 3.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,249,857 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert E. Henry on May 30, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
"Grandmother and the Priests" must rate as the all-time sleeper in modern fiction. Never has storytelling magic so outstripped a novel's title. For if the title conjurs up images of old-fashioned yarns carefully constructed to avoid upsetting the reader, then the very first section of this incredible work will dispel all notions of ennui.

It is tempting to find another term besides "spellbinding" to describe "Grandmother and the Priests" -- if only because the term is generally overused/misapplied and so sends the reader running for cover. Here it is the only apt adjective, for Taylor Caldwell has put together a novel unlike any other I have encountered, and every tale within the main plot is fresh and so exciting as to be cause for many sleepless nights while one continues to read it.

"Grandmother and the Priests" is actually a compendium of short stories skillfully collected into a single plot pretext. A group of traveling priests from the Victorian-age British Isles meet around the fireside of a wealthy grandmother to a young girl visiting her. There they tell their colleagues their most remarkable test of their vocation. This amounts to an encounter with life, the most extreme test ever put to their faith in God and in themselves -- if you will, their rite of passage through life, their existential moment where they turn back defeat. The young girl listens spellbound to these stories -- all of them too earnest to suggest exaggeration, for such is the author's skill -- and recounts them in this book.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A little girl is sent to live with her grandmother, a rather unconventional lady. She is wealthy, and although not overly religious, she frequently has dinner parties with priests as her guests. The book is a memory of the stories the little girl heard at the table. Tales of sin and sacrifice, cowardice and bravery, pettiness and nobility. This is a book that can be powerful and moving. I have read it several times over the years and find it fresh every time. It is excellent.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Your review was so eloquent that it brought tears to my eyes. I read this book many years ago and was a fan of Miss Caldwell to the point that I tried to find every book she had written. At that time I had found quite a few and saved them in a box in my attic. Stupid, stupid woman that I am I didn't realize what would happen to them. They were not saved with an eye to their value in this day and age, but because of the reverence I had for Miss Caldwell and her unbelievable talent as a writer and story teller. I can remember reading and rereading "The Listener" with a box of tissues always at hand, although all of her work was poignant and human and so full of life and its events, this one moved me beyond words. She had a genuine unquestionable gift for the interpretation of the human spirit with all of its strengths and weaknesses and I am sure we will not see her equal in my lifetime. Mr. Henry, you are correct, Taylor Caldwell's superior ability is not valued or appreciated and I consider this a travesty.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is fine literature, told by a master storyteller. Thoroughly delightful, and exceptionally well written. It's unfortunate that the cover of the paperback makes it look like a cheesy mass-market thing. It's not -- it's great literature deserving of a good leather binding.

The chapters contain a series of absorbing, and often addicting, stories of turn-of-the-century Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. If perchance one of the lovely and evocative stories does not appeal to you, you can skip to the next chapter and not miss anything. In that way, this book is both a scrumptious novel and a set of wonderful short stories.

As Taylor Caldwell was an Englishwoman of Scots background, one has a sense that the stories themselves are true and were heard by her at her grandmother's house.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The perfect book for all those who cherish their Irish-Catholic and/or Scottish heritage!

A look at the "Auld Lands" through the stories of various priests that pass through the parlor of a lapsed Catholic woman, who scandalizes her family and neighbors.

The stories celebrate Gaelic mysticism, old time religion, and even the die-hard cussedness of the Celtic spirit, shining through the early 20th century.

The men hope to re-convert their hostess (while enjoying a sumptuous meal and some excellent spirits!), but she may just be the most cussed of them all. A wonderful period piece that's colorful, funny and sometimes poignant, but never dull.
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Taylor Caldwell was a fabulous writer, and this is my favorite of all her books. I read this book as a paperback when I was in high school, and re-read it so many times that the paperback book eventually fell apart. As a young adult I ordered it from Amazon as a hard-bound book, re-read it again and put it on the shelf. Decades later, this month, in the process of moving from my big old Victorian flat into a house, I re-discovered it. The little British girl (whose squabbling parents packed her off to her reprobate old rich grandmother's house every time they became embroiled in marital battles) was seated at her grandmother's table every time the priests were invited for dinner. She ended up becoming a Catholic herself as an adult, largely because of the widely disparate stories of the various widely differing Catholic priests. This book is not the only reason I ended up converting to Catholicism myself by any means, but it was definitely a step along the way.
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