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A Live Coal In The Sea [Paperback]

By Madeleine L'Engle (Author)
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Item description for A Live Coal In The Sea by Madeleine L'Engle...

When Camilla Dickinson's teenage granddaughter comes to her with a disquieting question about her parentage, long-hidden secrets are revealed that test the love, faith, and loyalty of the Xanthakos family. Reprint.

Publishers Description
Madeleine L'Engle's first adult novel in four years -- now in paperback With 23,000 copies sold since May 1996, this haunting domestic drama (Publishers Weekly) examines the powers of faith and mercy in one family's confrontation with a legacy of evil.Best known for A Wrinkle in Time -- the children's classic that has sold more than 2 million copies since 1962 -- Madeleine L'Engle is as adept at exploring faith and human experience as she is at spinning fascinating, fantastic tales. Now this masterful storyteller blends her two passions and offers an engrossing new story to delight her devoted audience.When Dr. Camilla Dickinson's teenage granddaughter confronts her with the disquieting question of whether Camilla is, in fact, her grandmother, long-kept secrets rise to the surface to test the faith, love and loyalty of the Xanthakos family. This skillful, gripping tale shuttles between past and troubled present, providing clues to a multigenerational mystery -- clues that begin to focus on Camilla's son, the deeply troubled TV idol Artaxias, and on Camilla's mother, the irresistibly beautiful and adulterous Rose. Though riveting and psychologically complex, A Live Coal in the Sea is infused with the warmth of love and mercy (Booklist), showcasing the keen eye and deep compassion that have made L'Engle one of this century's premier writers on faith and its place in human experience.Madeleine L'Engle is the author of more than 40 fiction and nonfiction titles. She lives in New York City.

Citations And Professional Reviews
A Live Coal In The Sea by Madeleine L'Engle has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Wilson Fiction Catalog - 01/01/2010 page 494

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Item Specifications...

Studio: HarperOne
Pages   336
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.5" Height: 8"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 1997
Publisher   HarperOne
ISBN  0060652861  
ISBN13  9780060652869  
UPC  099455013000  

Availability  0 units.

More About Madeleine L'Engle

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Madeleine L'Engle was the author of more than forty-five books for all ages, among them the beloved A Wrinkle in Time, awarded the Newbery Medal; A Ring of Endless Light, a Newbery Honor Book; A Swiftly Tilting Planet, winner of the American Book Award; and the Austin family series of which Troubling a Star is the fifth book. L'Engle was named the 1998 recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards award, honoring her lifetime contribution in writing for teens.
Ms. L'Engle was born in 1918 in New York City. She wrote her first book, The Small Rain, while touring with Eva Le Gallienne in Uncle Harry. She met Hugh Franklin, to whom she was married until his death in 1986, while they were rehearsing The Cherry Orchard, and they were married on tour during a run of The Joyous Season, starring Ethel Barrymore.
Ms. L'Engle retired from the stage after her marriage, and the Franklins moved to northwest Connecticut and opened a general store. After a decade in Connecticut, the family returned to New York.
After splitting her time between New York City and Connecticut and acting as the librarian and writer-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Madeleine L'Engle died on September 7, 2007 at the age of 88.

Madeleine L'Engle lived in New York City, in the state of New York. Madeleine L'Engle was born in 1918 and died in 2007.

Madeleine L'Engle has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Writers' Palette Book

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Fiction & Poetry

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Books > Fiction > General Christian > General

Reviews - What do customers think about A Live Coal In The Sea?

Poorly written melodrama  Oct 2, 2007
I, too, am surprised by how many 5 star reviews this book got. It's mildly entertaining, and I did actually finish it, but it reads like Sydney Sheldon read *Camilla* and decided to write a sequel. The style was overly-simple, with constant short segments with clunky transition phrases (like Sheldon's writing, but I expect less from him), and the whole story was contrived and soap-operatic. The characters seem flat as well. Usually L'Engle's characters walk off a page, but I never got a real sense of Mac or Taxi or any of the main characters in the story.

Moreover, the Camilla in this story doesn't seem to resemble her counterpart in *Camilla.* (I never would have thought she'd have stayed friends with Luisa Rowan in a million years, for instance.) And the melodramatic aspects of this book seem to do disservice to the characters created in the original book. Rose Dickinson comes out in this book as a more simplistic charcter than she does in *Camilla.* I consider this book non-canonical, whereas I accept and like L'Engle's character crossovers in other books.

That this was written by one of my favorite authors makes it all that much worse.
Wonderful! A Must Adult Read  Mar 6, 2006
Madeleine L'Engle is most known for her young adult award winning titles. Her adult titles are just as well written if not even better. A LIVE COAL IN THE SEA is perhaps the best. If I could only recommend one book, it would probably be this title. It will leaving you gasping.
Did Madeline L'Engle Really Write This Book?  Apr 30, 2005
First, a disclaimer to all of the L'Engle fans out there: I, too, adore the writings of Madeline L'Engle. She is one of my favorite two or three authors. I loved the Wrinkle series and her other books for children and young adults, and I was thrilled when I discovered that she also has fabulous adult novels (I've had previous bad experiences with favorite childhood authors who wrote horrible adult books).

I may have given this book three stars, but the fact that this mediocre work came from a woman I consider to be one of the 20th century's most talented and accomplished authors disappointed me tremendously and added to my dislike of the book. I have to admit that I was shocked with all of the five-star reviews granted by readers here at this site.

So what's my beef, you may wonder? The writing is abrupt; the language is too common, repetitive and full of clichés; the story is melodramatic and sensational.

I love L'Engle's ability to weave a story through time and places and people in a way that makes me barely realize that I am reading a book rather than watching the world she creates. She can make each page flow together, each part of the story line seem a completely natural progression. She takes complex circumstances and characters and paints a picture with her beautiful, smooth, sophisticated and yet simple choice of words and language.

In "A Live Coal in the Sea," L'Engle puts none of these unique and exquisite talents to use. With this book, it felt like she was trying to force the story and its moral into my head and heart with a sledgehammer. With her other books, it feels like she surrounds my head and my heart with a warm, colorful, intense, soft cloud of air, and by the end of the book the air has warmed me and filled my lungs and become part of me.

Yes, the message of mercy is good and the support for the value of that human trait is established again and again... and again. Yes, the story is original and entertaining and one that you can both relate to and daydream about on some level. But this book is not up to L'Engle's standards, and (especially since I had been saving it for vacation) I was miserable with how much I disliked it.

I wanted to abandon this book about two-thirds of the way through (but couldn't bring myself to do it), whereas with her other books I didn't want them to end (thinking of her "The Small Rain" and "A Severed Wasp," specifically).

My recommendation is to skip this book and delve into the dozens of other masterpieces L'Engle has given us. She remains one of my favorite and most admired authors.
One of L'Engle's Best  Apr 23, 2005
This is a book I keep going back to read. The characters are well-written, complex, and sympathetic. The wisdom of the book's narrator is one of the books best features-even though that wisdom was hard won. She, and nearly every character in the book, must figure out how to go on and continue loving family members when terrible truths surface. Every family can relate to the need for forgiveness, love,healing. The book is a realistic love story.
Mercy in an unmerciful world  Nov 18, 2002
Oh that more people in our world had read this sweet and poingant story! This is perhaps one of the most telling tales of humanity that I have ever read, and has remained hopeful for our possibilities. L'Engle has told a story of Grace, like in the parable of the vinyard workers, which is radical and even offensive to our natrual inclinations, yet hopeful that we might find grace and mercy for ourselves and those who hurt us.

Read it, and hear it. If you listen closely you might hear the Christ telling his Gospel of peace, mercy, faith and hope.


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