An Unholy Communionby Donna Fletcher Crow
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Felicity's ecstatic enjoyment of her fellow ordinands' singing in Ascension Morn from the top of Pusey Tower at the College of the Transfiguration is shattered when a black-robed body hurtles over the precipice and rolls to a stop at her feet. Father Antony recognizes the corpse as Hwyl Pendry, a former student of his, who has been serving as Deliverance Minister in the diocese of St. David's. The police ignore the strange emblem of a double-headed snake curling across a triangle Hwyl clutched in his hand and label the death a suicide. But Hwyl’s widow is convinced otherwise, and pleads for Felicity and Antony to help her uncover the truth. Matters grow murkier as Felicity and Antony, leading a youth pilgrimage through rural Wales, encounter the same sinister symbol of a double-headed snake on their travels. Lurking figures follow the group. Then one of the young people is found face-down in a well …
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This is one of those books that I really wanted to like. I fully enjoy mysteries, and Christian mysteries are often quite intriguing. The idea of this taking place in Wales made this even more intriguing. Or so I hoped it would be. And the blurb completely captured my attention. While the historical portions of this book really did seem interesting, I could not get into this story at all. I didn't care about the characters, and I found some portions of the book way too Catholic for a Christian mystery. Now make sure you understand. I have nothing against Catholics. My problem is that when a book is published as a Christian book, I think it needs to be have a solid Christian message. It should not mention worshipping Mary and other controversial Catholic topics. If a book is going to have this, it needs to be published by a Catholic publishing company. But this is just a pet peeve of mine. I will say there is no profanity and no sex. I just would have preferred a little more Christian message. It is possible that if I had read the first two books in the series, I may have enjoyed it more as well. I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
The hero’s journey or the pilgrim’s progress, Donna Fletcher Crow’s An Unholy Communion leads Felicity and her fiancé, Father Anthony, into the third murder investigation of the Monastery Murders series. As in the earlier books, the novel’s settings are beautifully researched, and the manners and customs of the Church of England are pleasingly depicted. This author’s writing does justice to faith, tradition and ecumenism, giving her novels a unique appeal to serious Christians and general readers alike. The story follows Saint David’s travels through the Welsh countryside, accompanied by fascinating retellings of historical details—Father Anthony’s speciality—as the year turns from Ascension’s glory to the wonder of Pentecost. But a darker theme lies behind these feasts and places, and dread forces are afoot. The dead body might be suicide, murder, or supernatural destruction. And a quiet pilgrimage might lead into danger instead of peace. The pilgrims are a pleasingly mixed bunch, and the author blends them nicely into a team as they walk, talk and pray. Welsh weather plays its part. The Deliverance Ministry has a low-key and totally honest depth. Faith is multifaceted and sinister opposing forces are pleasingly three-dimensional—no cardboard cut-out horrors here; just fast-acting adventure, leisurely discovery, and that keynote touch of faith and mystery that characterizes the series. An Unholy Communion is a pleasingly realistic venture into the supernatural, grounded in convincing real-world locations and people, and anchored in its characters’ genuine, unpreachy, honest faith—a thoroughly enjoyable mystery. Disclosure: I got lucky. I won a copy of this book on a blog.
I did have a bit of a hard time getting into this mystery, if you do, don't give up. It is a good read. Can't imagine, singing and praying at the Feast of the Ascension, and having a body land at my feet. That does happen to Felicity, and the police rule Hwyl Pendry's death a suicide. Felicity's Fiancé, Father Antony, is leading a youth pilgrimage through Wales. Felicity decides to go along. Traveling this historical countryside, some answers come to light. There are some that are going to surprise you. Loved when the three nails are found, what they symbolize you will need to read the book. Head into a really good historical mystery. You will find that this is a very well researched book. It is also the third book in the series, and although it can be read alone, I would recommend you get to know everyone, and read the first one! I received this book through Litfuse Publicity Tours, and was not required to give a positive review.
Donna Fletcher Crow in her new book, "An Unholy Communion" Book Three in The Monastery Murders series published by Lion Fiction returns us to the English countryside and Felicity and Father Antony. From the back cover: First light, Ascension morning. From the top of the tower at the College of the Transfiguration, voices rise in song. Felicity's delight turns to horror when a black-robed body hurtles over the precipice and lands at her feet. Her fiance Father Antony recognizes the corpse as Hwyl Pendry, a former student, who has been serving as Deliverance Minister in a Welsh diocese. The police, ignoring the strange emblem of a double-headed snake clutched in the dead man's hand, label the death a suicide. But Hwyl's widow is convinced otherwise, and pleads for Felicity and Antony to help her uncover the truth. Matters grow murkier as Felicity and Antony, leading a youth pilgrimage through rural Wales, encounter the same sinister symbol as they travel. Lurking figures follow them. Then a body is found face down in a well . . . Ingeniously plotted by a master of contemporary suspense, An Unholy Communion weaves Great Britain's holy places and history with an intricate mystery that will keep readers guessing to the very end. Here's a question: who throws ministers off of college towers early in the morning? Then who does not want a walking tour of Wales to succeed? Is there some kind of cult involved or is there just one person? Okay that was three questions but this mystery is one of Ms. Crow's best and pits Felicity and Father Anthony against a very dangerous foe. Ms. Crow has successfully blended history, religious history and mystery into a wonderful stew that will keep you guessing right up to the very end. Felicity and Father Antony are up there in great partners in crime-think Nick & Nora Charles or Jonathan & Jennifer Hart. Donna Fletcher Crow has created two very unique characters that get along so well together and make such a special team in investigating murder. "An Unholy Communion" is a very exciting book that will keep you engrossed in the characters as well as life in England. This is a wonderful series and I am glad I discovered Donna Fletcher Crow and her wonderful heroes. I recommend this book highly. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."