Octavia: Daughter of God

Jane Shaw

Octavia: Daughter of God

The story of an extraordinary female religious community that emerged in Bedford following the First World War, whose members believed that a fifty-three year old vicar’s widow was the daughter of God. 3.1 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
Octavia: Daughter of God

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Biography, Religion & Spirituality
Format Hardback
Pages 416
RRP £18.99
Date of Publication May 2011
ISBN 978-0224075008
Publisher Jonathan Cape
 

The story of an extraordinary female religious community that emerged in Bedford following the First World War, whose members believed that a fifty-three year old vicar’s widow was the daughter of God.

Reviews

The Observer

Peter Stanford

Shaw has been blessed with unfettered access to the society's archives, kept in apple-pie order down the decades, along with God and Octavia's villas. That is every historian's dream, but my envy of Shaw is eclipsed by my admiration for how well she handles such a weight of material and for her sense of responsibility to the surviving members. Both an Oxford academic and an Anglican priest, she is well placed to manage the mix between social history, spiritual hunger and crackpot theology.

03/06/2011

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The Literary Review

Jane Ridley

The Panaceas have been extraordinarily fortunate in their biographer. Jane Shaw is an insightful, shrewd and humorous writer. She is never sarcastic or judgemental, and I ended the book admiring the indomitable Octavia who, for all her dottiness, was no charlatan but a genuinely religious figure.

01/06/2011

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The Sunday Times

John Carey

[An] astonishing book … Burrowing through the manuscripts, Shaw unearths the day-to-day gossip, tiffs and crushes that brightened community life, and two moments of crisis.

29/05/2011

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The Guardian

Frances Stonor Saunders

There is something unavoidably hilarious about this, but Jane Shaw, an Anglican priest and dean of divinity at New College, Oxford, slogs on earnestly for 400 pages as if she had discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls, rather than the archive of an extremely marginal and inward-looking community. Shaw, a respected theologian and historian, is no crank, nor is she entirely uncritical in handling her material, but she makes far too few concessions to the manifestly preposterous and delusional aspects of Mabel Barltrop's sect.

02/07/2011

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