Miss Pamela Hansford Johnson has the gift of creating characters that become, immediately. the concern of her reader. A Summer to Decide (Michael Joseph, 10s. 6d.) completes her trilogy of present-day life : Claud Pickering, now in his late thirties and waveringly trying to pick up some thread of meaning after Helena's death, is startled into more vigorous life by the introduction of Ellen Ashton, and we leave him, confidently, in her competent hands.
The Story of Brother Mucian, F.S.C. (Gill, 5s.) is written in a mucilaginous style which would discourage the kindest-hearted of reviewers. We are asked to admire a holy religious who " will appear in the romantic splendour of Christian knighthood even though he has never was bedight in the gay plumes and scarlet trappings of the heroes of the tournament," Pages of such "the writing are illustrated by two singularly unimpressive pictures of the Holy Man. What could have been nourishing bread and , butter has been smothered with " jam " 1 She Who Lived Her Name, the life of " Mary of Providence "— Eugenie de Smet, Foundress of the Society of the Helpers of the Holy Souls. translated, very literally, from the French of Marie Rend-flazin, and chosen by the Mercier Press (12s. 6d.) as " their mast outstanding publication for 1948," seems hardly worthy of the distinction. Its account of bumble beginnings and rapid extension follows on conventiona.1 lines. Transliteration turns "le Petit Chateau de Laos" into a " Little Castle." The pious young lady, embarrassed by three hundred yards of unwanted material, is made to say, " 0 Lord. deliver me from the chalice of this calico !" The chaplain of the new Association wonders if it would " be pro fitable to have lady-boarders" as "Every means must be used to bring this generation back to God." Such annals can hardly have more than a " community " appeal.