Testimony to Love

Gwen Steele-Perkins

Testimony to Love. Friends of Sir Robert Hart. The Authors. Excerpts. Plaudits. To Order. Links.

Review by Dr Rosemary Chorley, formerly Lecturer in Hydrology, Imperial College, London

This is a very valuable book in which the author records in great detail a vision which she had in May 1930 of God as Light and Love. It enabled her to see death as a point of renewal and rebirth. As a result of this vision, she believes that there is a purpose in all things, and that when we have achieved the purpose for which we were put on this earth, we may be made yet happier and more perfect in the worlds to come. Her vision is prophetic, foreseeing the birth of her daughter and a death (which she initially thinks will be her own). She finds, after some years, that it is the death of her eighteen-year-old beloved son. She wanted to share her vision, which she felt could comfort others in sorrow, but was not able to do so in her lifetime. Thanks to her daughter’s publication of the book, her mother’s hope has been realised.

Gwen’s frankness in her account of her married life before and after this vision makes compelling reading as she shows how the revelation gave her the courage to endure her sufferings in the firm knowledge that she, her son and everyone, are sustained and protected by the Light and the Love of God. It is a privilege to share such an experience now that her daughter, Mary Tiffen, has made it available as an ebook.

Baroness Perry of Southwark, House of Lords, London
This book is fascinating on many levels. It is a glimpse, through her own words, into the life of a woman, Gwen, born in the nineteenth century into a life of privilege. Much of her early adult life was lived in expatriate communities in Egypt, Hong Kong and India. It reveals – perhaps inadvertently – the attitudes and assumptions which characterised the life of those communities and of her class and upbringing. It is a vivid glimpse into a long vanished world which holds the reader in thrall.
Gwen’s words show a woman deeply in love with a husband who was controlling, selfish and often heartless to his wife and children. She appears to accept his behaviour without criticism – yet it is her honest portrayal of his behaviour which tells us of his unlovable character. It is her view of him which tells us what manner of man he was.
This remarkable woman lost her husband through his adultery and then desertion. She lost her beloved son in death. Yet her daughter is able to describe how Gwen’s courage carried her through to a later life of independence as a businesswoman and strong single mother to her two remaining children.
Gwen writes of love as the driving force of her life. But overall, it is her faith in the God she believed spoke to her in a vision of light and love which carries her story through. Her vision of the Light was the rock on which she stood through all her travails and is the enduring theme of the story she writes.
I commend this book as compelling reading in its many and varied aspects.

Gwen’s redrawing of her 1930 scribbles in 1931, while writing up her account properly so that it could be verified by her doctors as witnesses of what occurred in Kowloon Hospital, May 1930. Both agreed to her account.