Readnponder's Reviews > A Very Private Grave

A Very Private Grave by Donna Fletcher Crow
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's review
Dec 03, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: first-reads
Read from October 13 to December 01, 2010

I was very excited to "win" this book in the First Reads program. I spent four vacations in Yorkshire England, including visits to abbey ruins and cathedrals, and absolutely loved my time there. Plus, the book seemed to have many of the elements that entice me: a mystery, set in England, involving church history. Yet, I had to make myself finish it.

Father Dominic is stabbed to death shortly after returning from a religious retreat. About an hour before his murder, he gives a small journal to Felicity, a young American studying for the priesthood. Felicity, along with Father Antony, a prime suspect in the murder case and professor of church history, join forces to find Dominic's killer. They retrace the slain monk's steps and study clues regarding St Cuthbert, who seems to figure into Dominic's last retreat.

I loved learning about Cuthbert (according to tradition his dead body did not decay) and the early church history of England. However, I did not find myself emotionally invested in any of characters, including Felicity and Antony. There were several candidates for the role of murderer, yet I did not find myself pulling for or against any of them. The book felt "dense" at times. The typeface may have contributed to that sense. I couldn't find good stopping places in the middle of a chapter and took to penciling a mark in the margin. In places the book dragged. Long lapses between moments of tension. Overall, it wasn't what I had hoped for.

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