Book Review: The Woman Who Was Chesterton

The Woman Who Was Chesterton by Nancy Carpentier Brown

The Woman Who Was Chesterton by Nancy Carpentier Brown

It has been a while since I did a book review … and even longer since I’ve done a review of a non-knitting book.

But this one was worth coming out of my wintry funk (it’s only 43 degrees out there folks!) to share the great news about this book.

The Woman Who Was Chesterton by Nancy Carpentier Brown adds the final piece to the puzzle that is GKChesterton. Brown draws a portrait of the woman behind the man, Frances Chesterton, who was married to the great GKC for 35 years, dying within two years of his death. It’s a portrait of a love story that transcended family criticisms … infertility issues … and GKC’s eccentricities. A story of a woman and a man who loved each other so much, they couldn’t stand to be parted from the other. A story of a man who would call his wife from a train station and ask where he was supposed to be. A story of a woman who kept GKC focused, who was his biggest fan, who mothered him, cajoled him, joked with him and protected him.

A story of a woman who was an amazing writer in her own right — penning poetry, articles and plays (many of which are published in Brown’s earlier volume, How Far is it to Bethlehem) in the midst of dealing with GKC’s rising fame and his overall wackiness and neuroses.

Brown begins her book with the basic biographical background. The meat of the book, however, is her attention to detail in dispelling the myths that surrounded GKC and his soul-mate. Brown’s research and investigative prowess are well shown in this volume about someone many don’t even think about because her husband was larger than life. No wonder Brown won an earlier grant to begin the research that would ultimately lead to this 266-page volume. And thank goodness Brown persevered, searching through family papers, library archives and other respositories, piecing together the portrait of a woman so very much in love with her husband!

Excellent biography, with snippets of anecdotes and excerpts of letters and poetry by the characters that played a part in British literature, politics and society of the early 1930s.

Highly recommend for 9th graders and older … especially those who think they KNOW GKC!

2 Responses to “Book Review: The Woman Who Was Chesterton”
  1. Nancy says:

    Thanks for the wonderful review, Mary–I’m so glad you liked the book!

  2. Mary G says:

    It was an amazing read, Nancy. Have passed on my comments to English and History department chairs … maybe we could do a unit about GKC and his lovely wife?????

    Mary G.

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