THE GOOD PRIEST
THE BEST BOOK THAT I HAVE READ THIS YEAR
This is one of the most enthralling books that I have read this year. The central figure of Father John is brilliantly written, we see a man tormented by his past, struggling to keep his vows and wrestling with his conscience but despite all of this being the best parish priest he can be. The various characters who are part of his congregation are brilliantly observed in both their normal, unassuming lives, their eccentricities but most of all their love for their priest despite accusations beginning to surface as more murders are unearthed. I was utterly absorbed from beginning to end. This is probably the best book that I have read this year. I will certainly be looking out for any further books from Tina Beattie.
A MOST COMPELLING READ
The protagonist, Father John, is a marvellous creation. In a book where male abuse and violence of women and children is never far from the centre of the unfolding plot, Father John's, Christ-like tender and compassionate relationships with women are among the highlights of this very entertaining and rich book, (especially with "Babbs", one of Westonville's long established prostitutes.) It's a cliché, but this really is your pleasing "page turner": it would make a great "Broadchurch" or "Broken" type multi-part TV series ... and in between all the pacy plotting and crime-thriller narrative, there is some very serious theology and insight into the human mind and condition. 100% recommended.
Mark Dowd, author of Queer and Catholic
AN OUTSTANDING NOVEL
Tina Beattie is one of the most brilliant and original Catholic theologians in this country. This is, as one would expect, a deeply theological novel, centred on a vulnerable priest's struggle with evil. Fr. John has real faults and we are shown on numerous occasions his fears, leading at times to suicidal despair. Ministerial priesthood which is conscious of flaws and limitations, at east with all those to whom one is called to minster, can be marked by heroic holiness. Beattie captures this holiness very well indeed. This is an outstanding novel. We should hope that Beattie will carry on writing novels alongside theology.
Ashley Beck, The Pastoral Review
REDEMPTION OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT
I absolutely loved this book. Father John's angst, compassion and loving spirit were portrayed throughout the novel. Although there was a mystery , I think I enjoyed the portrayal of his parish life more compelling. I followed the lives of his parishioners with great interest and rapidly turned pages to find out what happened to them all. It is a story of redemption of the human spirit and I found it most uplifting. I would definitely recommend this book.