Tuesday, October 12, 2010

a review of "A Very Private Grave" [75]

A Very Private Grave by Donna Fletcher Crow
Monarch Books, ISBN 978-1854249685
August 1, 2010, 384 pages

Felicity Howard is an American student, studying for the Anglican priesthood at an English seminary. She feels a bit like a fish out of water, but her one touchstone is her friendship with the elderly Father Dominic,who as the book opens, is just returning from a pilgrimage following the path of seventh century Saint Cuthbert of Lindisfarne. But before the evening is over, Fr.Dominic is beaten to death and Felicity finds her history teacher, Fr.Antony, standing over the body with blood on his hands.
When Antony becomes the number one suspect of the police, the abbot spirits Antony and Felicity away, to retrace Fr. Dominic's last weeks and try to discover why someone would want him death. But it is not long before it seems that someone may want Felicity and Antony dead as well...

We will keep this one brief.
I wanted to like this book and I thought, reading what it was about, that I would. Medieval England, early Christian saints, a nice cozy mystery...all right up my alley.
But sadly, it did not turn out that way. Why?
Well, I am all for history used as a background, but honestly there was way, way too much of it and it was not really that interesting. Tell us what we need to know to understand the mystery..and cut the rest. Sometimes, less is more. It got to the point that when Antony started one of his little speeches, my eyes glazed over.

Second, the basic premise of the book, that the abbot would send these two off, with his approval, to investigate the murder, just pushed the limits of what my mind found believable. They have no experience at all, they set off with just the clothes on their back, one of them may well be the murderer, which would put the other in a dangerous situation, the abbot may be breaking the law...really?

But the biggest problem is our heroine Felicity. Try as I might, I found her quite unlikable. I started to hope someone would kill her. She is flip and often nasty and her dismissive attitude toward the religious beliefs she is supposedly dedicating her life too, is annoying. Explain to me again why she is becoming a priest, because I could not figure it out. If you can't identify to some degree with the hero/heroine and actually don't find them very likable...well, that is a problem.

One I would have to recommend you pass up.

My thanks to Library Thing Early Reviewers for a copy of this book.


  1. Rats! The summary blurb sounded so promising! But our taste in such things is definitely similar, so I shall take your word on this one!

  2. Oh my...you were wishing murder on our protagonist? That is pretty bad. I agree there is nothing that will kill (ha) a thriller quicker than too much dry historical crap.

  3. yes, except the protagonist death wish...

  4. Too bad it didn't work for you. Was it written by a historian, by any chance? I think sometimes they have the history part down but not so much the plotting part. I found that with an archeological thriller I read; cool stuff on the archeology stuff ... not so good on plotting and characterization.

  5. Thanks, for sharing.

  6. Sorry that you didn't like it. I loved it. One of your comments makes me think you missed something that I picked up on in the plot -- perhaps you'd given up on the book by the time it was revealed who really sent them on the adventure. Having worked on Christian college campuses, I really saw a lot of characteristics of some students in the main female character.

  7. I am happy you liked it. I like to hear different opinions on a book..but I just could not get into it at all.

    As to recognizing some of Felicity in college students...wow, that does not speak too highly of those student...lol...just kidding. sort of. :-)

  8. Hello, would you mind giving me a brief summary of the book? It's for our English project and I'm too lazy to read it cause it's super duper dragging. Our deadline is in two days :/ I'd really appreciate the help :( you can email me here at too.obvious@yahoo.com.ph


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