An Unholy Communion, Monastery Murders Series #3
Wished I Could Have Liked It More
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.
December 29, 2013
Okay. Just okay.
While attending the dawn service of Ascension, Felicity is horrified to see someone fall from the tower and land at her feet. It seems there is another mystery when she picks up a piece of paper with a strange symbol that dropped from the victimÃ¢ÂÂs fingers and it bursts into flame as she opens it. Although it looks like an accident or suicide, itÃ¢ÂÂs obviously a murder (otherwise why is it the opening scene in a book series called The Monastery Murders?).
Felicity agrees to accompany her fiancÃÂ©, Antony, to supervise a pilgrimage to Wales for teenagers as a way to get her mind off the fatal fall, but thatÃ¢ÂÂs not easy with her dreams. And when she finds the strange symbol represents an ancient heretical society, it seems escaping might be harder than she thought.
This is a murder mystery, and starts well with a body appearing almost immediately. But the mystery of poor HwylÃ¢ÂÂs death is then ignored as Antony and Felicity go walking in Wales, and apart from the obvious fact that Hwyl is Welsh, this has no apparent relevance to the mystery. In fact, I was about 75% of the way through the novel before they started to address the mystery at all, and then it was quickly apparent (to me at least) who was behind it.
The walk, as described, was much like I imagine a real walk across Wales would be: long and boring, with occasional short bursts of action. It was supposed to be ecumenical (i.e. representing all the Christian world), but was actually AnglicanÃ¢ÂÂand high Anglican at that, complete with bells and smells, praying exclusively out of the prayer book, and saying the Stations of the Cross at regular intervals. This wouldnÃ¢ÂÂt have bothered me except the characters made a point of saying the walk was ecumenical, and it detracted from what was supposed to be the mystery of HywlÃ¢ÂÂs death.
An Unholy Communion made a lot of references to deliverance, exorcism and demonic powers working against Christianity. While this was relatively well explained, I didnÃ¢ÂÂt feel either of the main characters had real understanding. Antony displayed a solid practical understanding (e.g. knowing which prayers to pray), but didnÃ¢ÂÂt seem to see the bigger picture linkages (like wondering if two teenagers who wear black decorated with black and constantly quote Twilight are actually Christians). And Felicity seemed to be entirely ignorant of the dark sideÃ¢ÂÂshe reminded me a little of some of Dr WhoÃ¢ÂÂs companions from the 1960Ã¢ÂÂs.
One bugbear I constantly have with American authors setting books in Britain is their research and language. I was happy to find the research in An Unholy Communion was excellent (as I expected it to be. IÃ¢ÂÂve read several of her historical fiction epics, and they were outstanding). Given all the excellent research, it was distracting to see language issues: the reference to Cwm Rhondda spelled incorrectly, and the very English Antony using several Americanisms (gotten, granola bar, grill).
An Unholy Communion is the third in The Monastery Murders series, the first one IÃ¢ÂÂve read and probably the last. It didnÃ¢ÂÂt work for me as a murder mystery, and I didnÃ¢ÂÂt like the characters sufficiently to care what happens next.
Thanks to ARCBA, Lion Fiction and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
September 5, 2013
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 FiancÃÂ©, 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.
May 7, 2013
History, Danger, Mystery, Action, Adventure & Thri
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."
April 26, 2013