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The Book of Hours

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Description

Castle Priory is a crumbling Oxfordshire mansion, one Brian Blackstone's wife considered a place of extraordinary enchantment. But for Brian there is no enchantment, only the burden of trying to honor Sarah's dying wish that he hold onto the property.

With the local doctor, Cecilia Keeble, Brian begins to explore the mysteries of the old estate. In the process he discovers a medieval secret which offers a key to renew his spirit and heal his broken heart. The power of prayer reaches through the centuries in a surprising and mysterious way…

Reading Guides

Reading Group Guide

  1. Brian arrives at Castle Keep a broken man. He is recovering both physically and emotionally from trauma created by instances that were beyond his control. Castle Keep, like Brian, is in its own state of disrepair, suffering from years of neglect. After spending only a night or two in the house, Brian discovers, between fits of intense physical pain, that his will to live has returned. What do you think changed his heart?
     
  2. The beginning of the novel has many characters meeting each other for the first time. Before Cecelia meets Brian, she assumes she has "an arrogant landlord who waited two years to show up and then left his valices on the front portico expecting others to step and fetch at his command." When Lavinia Winniskill meets Cecelia, she calls her an American interloper who won't be accepted until she understands that "certain issues and certain people require special consideration." And when Brian gets to town, two onlookers have a discussion about Brian's clothing and how he doesn't look like a "posh gent." Each character is judged based on rumor or expectation, and in each case, the assumptions about them are incorrect. Do you think that making assumptions about people you don't know is human nature?
     
  3. Mazes and puzzles play a large role in the book. The act of solving the puzzle creates a bond among several characters and it is through this bond that Brian begins to feel a part of the community. Do you think there is any correlation between Brian's sense of belonging and his renewal of faith?
     
  4. Cecelia has a young patient, Tommy Townsend, who she is unable to diagnose. She gets some advice from the senior physician, Dr. Riles, to examine "where her provenance ends, and God's begins." Were you satisfied with the way Cecelia finally handling treating Tommy's disease?
     
  5. Heather writes in one of her letters to Brian that her ultimate hope for him is that "this lovely village and this marvelous house will bestow upon you the most precious treasure of all, that of knowing God." She tells him that he must pray fervently to strengthen his connection to God. The hourly ringing of church bells is one way to enrich that relationship. If your town were to try and institute the hourly ringing of church bells, what do you think the response would be?
     
  6. Brian is able to have one last moment with Sarah through a dream where she encourages him to move on with his life. Have there been times in your life when you felt like God's gives you guidance through dreams?

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Details

Castle Priory is a crumbling Oxfordshire mansion, one Brian Blackstone's wife considered a place of extraordinary enchantment. But for Brian there is no enchantment, only the burden of trying to honor Sarah's dying wish that he hold onto the property.

With the local doctor, Cecilia Keeble, Brian begins to explore the mysteries of the old estate. In the process he discovers a medieval secret which offers a key to renew his spirit and heal his broken heart. The power of prayer reaches through the centuries in a surprising and mysterious way…

More Information

Length 320 Pages
Publication Date July 22, 2009
Company
  • Thomas Nelson
ISBN-10 1595548351
ISBN-13 9781595548351
Height 8"
Width 5"