Between Heaven And Earth

A Journey With My Grandfather

STANLEY JAMES, as a young man in the Canadian West, was by turns a cowboy, shepherd, navvy, hobo and newspaper reporter, soldier in the Spanish-American war, poet, playwright and actor. Returning to his native England, he married and became a Nonconformist minister who both charmed and alienated his Walthamstow congregation with his socialism and pacifism. In 1923 he converted and reinvented himself as one of the best-known Catholic writers of the English-speaking world, with nine books to his name. Widely respected for his knowledge, passion and insight, he worked alongside Bertrand Russell and counted G.K. Chesterton among his friends. Yet the chance discovery of hundreds of secret letters and diaries of three women – many quoted in this account – shattered the image. These documents show in intriguing and often explicit detail that, as a husband and father of seven, he had an affair and liaisons with members of his congregation.  Just how much did his family and friends know?