Wednesday, April 20, 2016

"Finding Myself in Britain" by Amy Boucher Pye


The clever cover is the first thing that caught my attention about Amy Boucher Pye's "Finding Myself in Britain: Our Search for Faith, Home & True Identity." I was intrigued by the American flag teapot pouring a little person into a Union Jack teacup, and the images end up being quite fitting for this tale of a Minnesota woman who meets and marries an Englishman who is on his path to becoming a minister in the Church of England.

The tea references I expected to find turned up quite early. Chapter One is titled "More Tea, Vicar?" Pye writes that Americans tend to picture tea in the UK as "a post afternoon event," and one that "leaves scant room in their minds for such things as builder's tea, green-crockery-church-hall tea, or first-cuppa-of-the-day tea." She writes of her first date with her suitor, Nicholas, and serving him her best Good Earth caffeine-free spice tea, which clearly was not what he was accustomed to. And tea is only one of the many things that she finds different when she marries Nicholas and they move to the UK and begin their family.

Let me be clear that this is a book for faith-minded readers and not a "tea book" per se, yet I think many readers of this blog would enjoy it. The book is organized into seasons, and I greatly enjoyed moving through them with Pye. In fact, I "greatly enjoyed" a lot of things in this book, including reading about a few of her missteps as an American. I learned, for instance, that one person told her that "you're never supposed to give your name early in conversations," when of course in this country we are told to be friendly by walking right up to someone and introducing ourselves by the full name. A small thing, but a thing, y'know?

I also love that Pye carefully chose what to wear when going to church that first Easter in the UK. She chose a pink dress and pink shoes but not the pink hat. Good move, because "people didn't wear dresses in pastel hues for Easter in rural Cambridgeshire, and definitely sported no hats."

While some of these little social moments made an impression on me, the greatest impression I got was what a challenge it was for Pye to truly feel she fit in over in the UK—much as she loved it—even once her children (the "Pyelets") came along. She frequently mentions feeling like a pilgrim on a journey, a feeling I sometimes share. When Pye titles her book "Finding Myself in Britain," she means that in more ways than one. So if you'd like a bit of thoughtful, often humorous, warmly written Christian philosophy along with your next cuppa, I highly recommend this book!

Note: While I was given my copy of this ebook for free from NetGalley, some of you may wish to order the print or ebook version online. Because this book had a lot of endnotes (often explaining some British terminology that might be unfamiliar to readers), I *loved* that I could click on the highlighted endnote in my ebook and it would take me to the passage at the end, then I could click right back to where I was previously reading on my Kindle. I'm very glad I had the ebook version!

8 comments:

  1. That sounds like a delightful book, thanks for sharing it. And I do love the cover illustration. I have a friend who is living in London for a year or two (due to her husband's job), I wonder if she has encountered any of the same situations.

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  2. Sounds so interesting. I just added it to my netgalley shelf :)

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  3. This sounds wonderful! Thanks so much for telling us about it. Even though I'm Jewish, I do often enjoy reading Christian fiction, because it is so spiritually uplifting, in a way that I haven't been able to find in most Jewish fiction.

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  4. Sounds like an enjoyable book. Thanks for the review.

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  5. This sounds like a GREAT book - I found myself smiling while reading (a good sign.)

    Thanks for the recommendation - and for the tech version working so well for you with all the endnotes, Angela!

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  6. That looks like a book I need...thanks so much for the review!
    Ruth

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  7. This looks like a wonderful book, just from the beautiful cover alone. Angela, you are definitely one of my favorite 'treasure finders,' thanks so much, Joanie

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