Film and Book Reviews

Story of grace brings subtle surprises

BookGirls Are Pearls: One Woman's Act of Resistance to Despair, by Heather Anne Bloom (Green Hill Publishing, 2017)

November 4 2018Reviewed by Ruth Newmarch

 

The tides of history bring upheaval for nations but play out in the lives of ordinary people. How individuals respond is unique, for good or ill. As the British withdraw from India, an infant girl is born.

The reader is drawn into the author’s challenging life of British reserve, colonial responsibility, postwar opportunity, and the Aussie “can do” attitude. There are complex undercurrents, but searching for your identity is a powerful force. The quest may offer an unexpected result – the freedom to create your own, and the opportunity to give others this gift.

Heather Bloom’s relative privilege as a woman, raised in the West, brings for her the question and responsibility of what her life might have been, had other decisions been made. Rather than turning away, she plunges in.

This is a story of grace that surprises subtly, as facts often do. It is honest, reflective, understated, and very funny at times, but leaves both a legacy and a challenge.

As its title suggests, the grains of sand that form the footprints of history, may find themselves in unexpected places, reshaped into objects of beauty by the upheaval. This becomes startlingly true of the author herself, as we meet her through its pages.

The Revd Ruth Newmarch is Assistant Priest at St Thomas' Burwood.