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The Rosary

The Rosary by Florence Louisa Barclay
By: (1862-1921)

He is a wealthy gifted and handsome young pianist who worships beauty. She is a woman blessed with a divine voice, but a less than beautiful appearance. He proposes, but she cannot believe that his love will last. A tragic accident results in his losing his eyesight. She hears about the accident and takes up employment as his nurse without revealing her identity.

This forgotten, 1910 best-seller still holds the power to charm and delight the modern-day reader. One of the most poignant love stories ever written, The Rosary by Florence Louisa Barclay takes its title from the name of a song that was a chart-buster in the early twentieth-century. The sentimental song written by American lyricist Ethelbert Nevin became an instant hit and features in the novel as the song in which the ill-fated lovers meet for the first time.

The heroine Jane Champion is gifted with true inner beauty which shines through in her sublime voice. When a star singer fails to appear at a garden party, Jane is asked to step in and keep the guests entertained. Her simple, pure and sweet rendition captures the heart of the pianist, Garth Dalmain who falls deeply in love with her. However, she doubts the sincerity of his love and refuses his proposal, not realizing that people can often see behind appearances and fall in love with beautiful souls. The intense, passionate and enduring love that overcomes all obstacles is indeed the true hero of this story.

Florence Louisa Barclay was the wife of a rector in Surrey, England. Her health suffered after continuous childbirth and the strain of looking after a large family and she was bedridden for many months. During this time, she began writing her first novel, The Wheels of Time. In 1909, she published her second book, The Rosary, which went on to become wildly popular on both sides of the Atlantic. She continued writing 11 more very successful books, some of which were carried as serials in popular women's journals.

The Rosary was translated into 8 languages and adapted for stage, television and screen several times. Five movies have been made based on the original story. The interesting and lively style, steeped in the atmosphere of pre-War England, rich in imagery and emotion is indeed a great read for young and old alike. Far from being a mawkish and maudlin love story, its charm lies in its enduring appeal, wit and old-fashioned focus on loyalty, love, compassion and the true union of souls.


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