The story of an extraordinary female religious community that emerged in Bedford following the First World War, whose members believed that a fifty-three year old vicar's widow was the daughter of God.
Jane Shaw, a priest and historian, is Dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Prior to that, she was Dean of Divinity and Fellow of New College, Oxford, and taught history and theology at Oxford University for sixteen years. She is the author of Miracles in Enlightenment England (Yale University Press, 2006), writes on current religious affairs for a number of newspapers and radio programmes, and speaks and lectures widely in both Britain and the United States.
Octavia, Daughter of God, is certainly not hagiography. Rather than condemning, Shaw seeks to sensitively explain and understand the Panaceans. She thus adds considerably to our knowledge about the varied paths that women followed in interwar Britain as they sought answers to the problems of their time -- Jane Purvis * Times *