Why do I write?
"What good is love if it is not shared?" (from "This Bitter Earth" by Dinah Washington)
Writing - like love - is nothing if it is not shared. Even the most private diary has an audience - an other to whom it is addressed. To write is to make words flesh, to take them out of the realm of private thoughts, fears and imaginings and to offer them to the world as an incarnate love offering. Like love, writing makes us vulnerable and exposes us in ways we would rather keep hidden. It sometimes goes wrong and brings disappointment and a sense of betrayal. To write is to reach out in trust to an unknown other with a yearning to communicate and to be understood, knowing that one might be rejected. But the ecstacy of communion is always worth the risk of rejection.
THE GOOD PRIEST
"John's limbs are still stiff with cold. He dreads going out there. He has a sudden horror of finding them all dead or disappeared. The silence is so absolute. ..."
What horrors have come to haunt Father John as he hears confessions on Ash Wednesday? Who is the stranger in the confessional threatening to do "pure evil", and what does this haunting appearance have to do with the traumas of John's past?
As Lent unfolds, John finds himself caught up in events beyond his worst imaginings or fears. Surely, the serial murders of prostitutes have nothing to do with his ordinary parish and his priestly calling?
Or do they? ...
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.... an outstanding novel. We should hope that Beattie will carry on writing novels alongside theology.
Ashley Beck, The Pastoral Review
A GRIPPING READ
a gripping read with an engaging central character – John, the eponymous good priest – and an intriguing premise. ... In this story, as in real churches, disagreement and lapsing flourish alongside co-operation and multiple patterns of engagement.
In conclusion, if you are interested in murder mysteries, novels with religious characters, and/or books which grapple with moral complexity, I highly recommend this book.
UNPUTDOWNABLE ... BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN
[T] book took me on a rollercoaster journey which was full of tension, and resonances from my past, and it was just unputdownable ... a thriller delicately balanced somewhere between Chesterton's Father Brown and Jack the Ripper. It's all in there even down to the Cappa Magna. And it's beautifully written in a simple and engaging style.
I'M NOT SURE WHY SHE'S A CATHOLIC
I was very disappointed with this book especially as the author is Professor of Catholic Studies at Roehampton. I'm not sure why she is a Catholic when she seems to dislike the Church so much! Every unpleasant cliche about Catholicism was trotted out and the whole thing ended in ridiculous melodrama.
"Devon Girl", Amazon Reviews
(Can't win 'em all - Tina)
I WOULD PLACE THIS BOOK IN THE TOP THREE FICTION BOOKS I HAVE READ
By the time I reached the second page, I could not stop reading..What issue in the Church and indeed society, does she not embrace/ challenge, in this absolute masterpiece.. I would place this book in the top three fiction books I have read .....I speak as a theologian whose first degree involved a study of English Literature !
John McLorinan, GoodReads
THE BEST BOOK THAT I HAVE READ THIS YEAR
This is one of the most enthralling books that I have read this year. ... 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. ... It's a cliché, but this really is your pleasing "page turner" ... 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
REDEMPTION OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT
I absolutely loved this book. ... It is a story of redemption of the human spirit and I found it most uplifting. I would definitely recommend this book.
Photographs by Simon Lewis
Who am I?
Writer, grandma, wild swimmer, theologian, hanging on in there but not yet sure where there is.
I grew up in Lusaka and have spent much of my life in sub-Saharan Africa (Zambia, Kenya and Zimbabwe).
I left school at 15 and became a secretary, following my mother's advice to learn to type before I got married, so that if my husband ever left me I'd be able to support myself and my kids. (46 years on and he still hasn't left).
After years as a frustrated secretary and failed attempt to be an earth mother, I started university when the youngest of my four children started school.
Somehow, I went from being an agnostic and rather conservative Presbyterian typist with very little education to being feminist Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of Roehampton, which is too long a story to tell here.
Along the way I've published a few books and now I've left my academic post and am focusing on my first and lifelong passion - to write fiction.
My Roehampton website has the official version of this potted biography.