Where is he going? Why is he walking? What is the wailing he hears around him? His wealth has come legally, but questionably, from the power of his personality, seducing people out of their hard-earned money. When he learns that one of his customers has committed suicide because of financial ruin, Charles is shaken.
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Then a twist of fate changes everything. Charles is granted something very remarkable: a second chance. The question is: what will he do with it? The Broken Road is an engrossing, contemplative story of redemption and grace and the power of second chances.
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The list goes on. But what my husband Nick and I loved was the journey that it took to get there, and, even more importantly, that it was all preparation for our marriage. And now we get to enjoy the fruit of that labor: the vocation of marriage. Living regular, everyday life with a man who shares the same goal: to get us both to Heaven.
I was 23 and living a worldly lifestyle.
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From the outside, my life seemed full and abundant, like I had it all together. I was working full time, dating a man, and practically living with him for over a year, and partying it up each weekend. My life seemed fun and exciting. But there was an ache in my heart, an emptiness all these worldly things could not fill. The Lord sent me people who invited me to different young adult events.
My sister gave me a book on the Theology of the Body. I learned that the Lord created man and woman for a love that is authentic and sacrificial. I realized that what I had with my boyfriend at the time was lustful and superficial. It took me a few months, but I decided to break it off with my boyfriend.
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And man, was that painful. But I knew the pain of losing Jesus and choosing the world over Him would ultimately be worse. It took some time to heal, but I could feel a new spirit within me prompting me to fall in love with Jesus and His Church. I started reading about the Church and asking holy people striving for sainthood questions on how to become authentically Catholic and live an abundant life for the Lord.
I told them how much I wanted to live my life for the Lord. Even so, I still had one foot in the door of the world and the other trying to live a Christian lifestyle. But I wanted to be. Sometime during that chapter of my life, I met another guy who was a charming sweet-talker and soon found myself in a relationship with him.
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We went down the fast track and got engaged quickly. It was the weirdest thing. He said that he wanted to wait to give himself fully to his wife in marriage, but then would behave in a completely different way. I was torn and confused.
The latest book offers similar joys. Travelling mostly on foot, in leather jacket, knee breeches and puttees, with backpack, Hungarian walking stick and "uncompromising" boots, carrying two books of verse in the backpack and a head full of literature and history, he has his fair share of luck and adventure in a continent that was still a mystery.
There are nights in shepherds' huts, down-at-heel hotels, palaces, and a brothel he mistook for an inn.
And while his older self clearly enjoyed writing about the nights of revelry around campfires with belly-dancing Greek fishermen and other wild characters, he was also happy to laugh at the young Leigh Fermor — for not realising that the woman who welcomed him so warmly into the brothel expected more from him than his head on a pillow. Also evident are another of the joys of the earlier books — the pyrotechnics of his writing.
Exuberance is expressed in heightened suggestions: a cat is panther-like, a silence falls "like angels flying overhead" and swifts make a sound like scissors in a barber shop. The descriptions of waking in unfamiliar places are so seductive that even the most home-hugging reader will long to wake somewhere unknown.
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And some of the evocations of landscapes and views will live long in the memory, including one of a muezzin calling from a mosque and another of the town of Tirnovo, with its "winged insurrection of houses plumed by belfries and trees". The first two books were written without the help of original notes, which had been lost; The Broken Road is based partly on a diary that was returned to Leigh Fermor in So instead of writing what the editors call "memory-spurred recreations", we see the older man trying to guess what his younger self did or why he did it.
There is also retrospective comment on Europe between the wars from an author who knows that the rise of the Nazis and the coming cold war are about to transform the lives of most people he meets. Leigh Fermor completed his physical journey in Istanbul on the last day of , then continued to the monasteries of Mount Athos in Greece.
The literary journey concludes without reaching its goal, hence the book's title.