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The Dean's Watch by Elizabeth Goudge
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The Dean's Watch (1960)

by Elizabeth Goudge

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» See also 26 mentions

English (5)  French (2)  All languages (7)
Showing 5 of 5
"Those living in the shadow of the great cathedral"
By sally tarbox on 17 April 2018
Format: Kindle Edition
Written in 1960, but set a hundred years before; this is a beautiful and uplifting book, in which relatively small incidents conspire to improve the individuals and the world about them.
The narrative opens with Isaac Peabody, an embittered elderly watchmaker who lives for his craft. Sharing a home with an unlovely sister, broken by a harsh childhood, he has turned his back on religion, despite living by the cathedral... And here is the Dean, one of his clients, an apparently stern man, with a cold-hearted wife... A good natured servant girl, a runaway apprentice, a cruel fishmonger, a delightful child...all come into the story, which is a gentle read with a Christian message. ( )
  starbox | Apr 17, 2018 |
A story about an old clockmaker, a Dean of a City, and several other people. Misc feel goodism's about wuv, sweet wuv" and how everything would just be better if we all wuvved eachother. I don't know why I keep reading Goudge's books. They tend to irritate me with their rose tinted outlook." ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
The story is set in the latter part of the 19th century, featuring several very different but beautifully drawn characters, both wealthy and poor who live in a small Cathedral town in England. Each of the people is lovingly introduced, and painted in such a way that there is never any danger of confusing them.

Part of the enjoyment of Goudge’s writing is to slow down and savour her evocative descriptions of characters and places. It's not usually my kind of thing, but I made the effort not to skim, and it was decidedly worthwhile.

The plot, such as it is, revolves around the city Dean getting to know a few of the people in the city, and helping them. He’s an old man and evidently in failing health but he has a great capacity for love, which he has only just discovered. He also develops a fascination with horology, after meeting the talented clockmaker of the city. There isn’t much action, yet a great deal happens in the lives of several individuals.

It’s a Christian book; the Cathedral and the Dean’s faith are significant, yet there’s no ‘preaching’. There is, however, a mystical thread: there are signs, and intuitions so strong that they are as real as words spoken. All in all, it’s a thoughtful and beautifully written book, reminiscent of calmer, slower times - yet with an awareness of how unpleasant life would have been for those born into the lower classes.

Definitely recommended to all who like slow-moving character-based and beautifully written stories. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jul 12, 2016 |
Very slow going. Took half the book to get interested, but enough in the writing and characters to keep me going. (I tend not to waste time with books that don't interest me!) The Dean - elderly, ugly - married to lovely but unloving wife. Gets involved with watch/clock maker, Polly (young orphan maid), and Job (young, talented orphan), and elderly clergyman. Many nice people living with unappreciative people who gradually come together. Turned out to be an enjoyable, sweet book. ( )
  Jonlyn | Apr 16, 2014 |
This is a beautiful story of a Dean who has loved his God and His people well and in the best way he could. He has spent his final years in a Cathedral City fighting against sin and corruption to save the people from evils they aren't even aware of. He has won to the light for so many of them, but he is still not understood or loved, even while he is appreciated in some way.

He meets a clock maker one day and this changes both their lives. The Dean comes down from the Cathedral and begins to meet people in the city with astounding results. He sees the immediate physical needs and the eternal spiritual needs with equal clarity and works to meet both.

A very satisfying need. It is comforting in the middle of a book to know that Ms. Goudge will bring the novel to a good end. Not that everything will be perfect, but that the people we've come to know and love will improve, and change for the better. We want them to find the better part of themselves, we want them to find happiness and see that they don't have to cling to fear or anger or hatred. She gives us the hope that if they can change, we and the people in our lives that we care for can also change. ( )
1 vote lauranav | Feb 9, 2010 |
Showing 5 of 5
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Goudgeprimary authorall editionscalculated
de Naveira, Rosa S.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
de Sarbois, HenrietteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whitear, A. R.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Mildred Woodgate
First words
The candle flame burned behind the glass globe of water, its light flooding over Isaac Peabody's hands as he sat at work on a high stool before his littered work-table.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The Dean's Watch isn't part of a series.
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Book description
Set in a Cathedral city in the 1870s, a town dominated by the great cathedral and its formidable Dean. The craggy, homely old Dean, locked in by shyness... a timid, fearful little Isaac Peabody, a genius of a clockmaker. The unexpected friendship of these two men; the Dean's remarkable awakening to the healing force of unselfish love; and the miracles wrought as he reached out to other human hearts to console them. And in the background there are Polly and her beloved Job, Bella and old Mrs Montague.
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In a remote mid-nineteenth-century English town, cathedral Dead Adam Ayscough holds a deep love for his parishioners and townspeople. When an obscure watchmaker strikes up an unlikely friendship with the Dean, it leads to an unusual spiritual awakening in both men, and eventually reaches out to the entire community.… (more)

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