I enjoyed A Darkly Hidden Truth by Donna Fletcher Crow. It really is a great help to read the first book in the series before reading this one even though I did not enjoy the first book quite as much. It gives the background and relationship developing between the two main characters of Felicity and Father Antony which continues into the second book. I enjoyed the medieval church history with this book and thought it was woven in nicely and not as heavily laden as the first book which tended to be a bit heavy on the history side and sometimes hard to follow.
If you are to enjoy this series you must be someone who will enjoy the religious history that is woven throughout the book. There are also other faith issues that are discussed. Felicity and Father Antony will return in another monastery mystery called An Unholy Communion. I will definitely want to continue to read this series.
Donna Fletcher Crow caught my attention a bit over a year ago with her first of the Monastery Murders series "A Very Private Grave". Her attention to historical detail and intertwining those details with thrilling plots make her books impossible to put down.
In "A Darkly Hidden Truth", Felicity and Fr. Antony are again involved with finding a missing icon that turns into much more than they bargain for. Rich with Church and English history, it captivates the reader not only with the detail, but the wonderful characters, clues, red herrings, and story line will keep the reader turning its pages to see exactly what happens next.
Although this is the second book in the series, one can easily read this book as a stand alone. There is enough back story that the reader shouldn't feel like they are "coming into" a series and really missing out.
Donna Fletcher Crow is one of my favorite authors. To be able to pen a second book in a series as captivating or possibly even more so than the first, illustrates what a talented writer she truly is! Now, just to be able to patiently wait for the third in the series...
I received a copy of this book to read and honestly review from Kregel Publications.
I had the pleasure of reading the first book in this series, A Very Private Grave, and was so excited to be able to read the second book, A Darkly Hidden Truth. From the first page the mystery begins, well maybe not the first page, but it's definitely fast in coming from the get go. With the missing friend who eventually turns up murdered, some things are eerily reminiscent of the first book, such as jaunts to far flung places in search of answers to the mystery, however that does not detract from this book and actually adds to the feel.
Getting to visit Antony and Felicity again is like visiting some old friends, who are unlikely matched up to help in finding missing icons and eventually solving the murder of their friend. Twists and turns through old priories and visits with different types of convents make the pages come alive as if you're standing there yourself visiting these places and people.
The book has a lot to offer even those who don't enjoy a mystery book, as the book is also chock full of history from the Catholic Church, and even those who aren't Catholic will enjoy the history given in this book. As all histories tend to intertwine at points and we all share a common bond. I found it fascinating how many different sects (not sure if that is a good use of the word) of convents there are - some are active and modern while some still wear habits and are secluded from society. So Donna Fletcher Crow has another hit book on her hands - full of mystery, intrigue, history and even a little romance it has something for everyone.
**I was provided a copy of this book from Kregel Publishing in exchange for my honest review, no other compensation was given.
"Those high brick walls weren't there to keep the nuns or monks in. They were there to keep the noise, the rush, the worry out." (p.133)
Once again, Felicity finds herself in the midst of a murder investigation, well not entirely in the midst of_for she is seeking her true calling in life, and she thinks she should be a nun. The nun-in-charge of the novice program (trying to simplify here) tells Felicity that the process for being assured that your calling is indeed from God and not an attempt to run away from the world's problems, takes YEARS. And Felicity is one of the most spontaneous decision makers ever invented! In short, patience is not one of her virtues.
So, this story follows Felicity's search for her direction in life, alongside a murder mystery/theft/romance/family relationship reconciliation_it other words, Donna Fletcher Crow has created a multi-dimensional story line that takes the reader deep into England's church and the inner-workings of faith, obedience to Christ, and the human heart's search for meaning and direction. All along the way significant pieces of church history (icons) are being stolen, and the price of keeping the thief hidden is often paid in life's blood.
As Felicity discovers the will of God for her life, she also uncovers a family relationship that had seemed to always elude her. Toward the end, she also discovers the very well-hidden thief and murderer as well as the real love of her life! There is much to be enjoyed in this story, and if you like a multi-layered mystery, you will enjoy this book immensely!
Donna Fletcher Crow has written a book filled with liturgy, iconography, and medieval history while pursing a modern day mystery dealing with theft, murder, and romance.
The story line follows Fleicity and Anthony who are in the contemplation process of pursing a life in "the church" while finding themselves chasing thieves of church icons. They also are finding that in spite of their possible calling to "the church" they are drawn romantically to one another. This poses very conflicting emotions in the two.
I was not prepared for a book so steeped with high-church Anglican or either Catholic church processes, Church of England history, saints, religious icons, monasteries, and nunneries. Of these the book overflows. The author's immersion of the story with this information and dialogue so overshadowed the modern day story that I did not enjoy the book, even though I am a history buff, as I would normally enjoy a historical novel. However, as Christians we do need to realize and accept the role the early Church in Wales and Britain played in the spread of Christianity to those areas and that from those seeds came protestant, reformed, and other denominations.
It is quite obvious that Donna Crow is very knowledgeable of British and early Church history in Britain as the story is filled with details only an author who is personally knowledgeable of or who has thoroughly researched the material would be able to provide. The story also takes place during Holy Week and is replete with details surrounding the activities in High Anglican Church practices as well as Roman Catholic services.
Ms. Crow delves into the venerated life of Julian of Norwich, an Anchoress, who was an early female mystic in England and a strong proponent of "Our Savior ... is our mother." (page 82) So contrary is this idea of Christ being our mother to my Christian beliefs that it was an instant put off.*
I really did like Felicity and Anthony as characters and felt that they were developed extremely well by Ms. Crow and that they were truly "faithful" in their beliefs and life. Except for my personal exception to the strong Anglican and/or Catholic nature of the book, I think the author has a very well-written and interesting story plot that will appeal to some whereas not to others.
Research: Ms. Crow fully researches each of her books. Here is a link to her website with pictures and information regarding her research for "A Darkly Hidden Truth." http://donnafletchercrow.com/book2.php
Donna Fletcher Crow: Short Biography: Donna Fletcher Crow is author of more than thirty-five novels. She has twice won first place in the Historical Fiction category from the National Association of Press Women, and has also been a finalist for "Best Inspirational Novel" from the Romance Writers of America. She is a member of The Arts Centre Group, and Sisters in Crime. www.donnafletchercrow.com
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel Publishers for the purpose of a review and was under no obligation to render a positive review.
Publisher: MonarchBooks ISBN: 978-0-85721-050-0
*For further reading on the controversial, in my opinion, Julian of Norwich see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_of_Norwich