Joseph Hocking was a faithful Nonconformist minister in Wales. Rev. Hocking considered the novel an ideal platform for exploring the deeper aspects of life. His books deal with trials, difficulties and issues of faith.
The main characters of The Purple Robe:
Duncan Rutland: a new Protestant minister, Alison Neville, a brilliant young English Catholic, and the Jesuit Father Ritzoom.
“Mr. Hocking’s most interesting romance. It is exceedingly clever, and excites the reader’s interest and brings out the powerful nature of the clever young minister. This most engrossing book challenges comparison with the brilliance of Lothair. Mr. Hocking has one main fact always before him in writing his books––to interest his readers; and he certainly succeeds admirably in doing so.”––The Queen.
“All of us long for forbidden fruit…This may explain why Alison Neville, of Neville Priory, desired to enter a Nonconformist Church. Had she been free to do as she liked about the matter, the possibilities are that she would not have had the faintest inclination in this direction; but being a Roman Catholic, as her forefathers had been for many generations, she had been led to regard worship within unconsecrated walls as a species of blasphemy. Hence the desire to take part in a Protestant service.”
“Of course, this feeling only sprung from curiosity, for she was in no way dissatisfied with her own Church; indeed, she regarded it as the only Church, and had a proper feeling of pity for those who did not belong to her communion. Nevertheless, the fact that she had been led to regard the worship of Protestants as utterly wrong, and, for a Catholic, sinful, prompted her to look with curious eyes towards Tudor Chapel, which was situated in the center of Lynford, a large manufacturing Lancashire town.” – From Chapter 1
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