I liked this Mary Russell book much more than the last one I read.

Warning: Spoiler ahead.

A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie King has some deep thoughts on believing in God. Mary is a scholar of theology but did not believe in a miracle even when she saw it with her own eyes. Margery is a mystic with no formal training in the Bible, yet she has a deep understanding of God.

Margery says to Mary, “Mary, you believe in the power that the idea of God has on the human mind. You believe in the way human beings talk abut the unknowable, reach for the unattainable, pattern their imperfect lives and offer their paltry best up to the beingless being that created the universe and powers its continuation.

What you balk at is believing the evidence of your eyes, that God can reach out and touch a single human life in a concrete way…you mustn’t be so cold, Mary. If you are, all you will see is a cold God… God is not cold – never cold. God sears with heat, not ice, the heat of a thousand suns, that inflames but does not consume….you imagine that you can stand in its rays and retain your cold intellectual attitude towards it. You imagine that you can love with your brain.

Mary, oh my dear Mary, you sit in the hall and listen to me like some wild beast staring at a campfire, unable to leave, fearful of losing your freedom if you come any closer. It won’t consume you; it won’t capture you. Love does not do either. It only brings life. Please, Mary, don’t let yourself be tied up by the bonds of cold academia.”

That is deep.

Also interesting in this book is the developing romance between 21-year-old Mary Russell and 59-year-old Sherlock Holmes. I know, it’s a stretch.

But considering Mary is an almost 6 feet tall adventure-seeking feminist trained by Holmes in detective work since she was 15, it is conceivable that she would not be attracted to anyone her own age.

And Sherlock Holmes, a distinguished confident intellectual with a few streaks of gray and a high sense of chivalry, he can be very attractive (look at Sean Connery!)

Mary, talking to her friend Veronica says, “You mean you find Holmes attractive?”

“Oh, yes, heaps of s.a. Why, don’t you?”

We don’t use that term s.a. much anymore – that’s sex appeal in case you don’t know. :)

Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes got married at the end of the book. It’s not quite consistent with the Conan Doyle Holmes we kno, but it’s an interesting variation.

One Response to “A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie King”

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