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Donna Fletcher Crow

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Donna Fletcher Crow (US) is the author of forty-some books, mostly novels dealing with the history of British Christianity. She is the author of The Monastery Murders series; The Lord Danvers Victorian True-Crime series; The Elizabeth & Richard literary mysteries, GLASTONBURY,A Novel of the Holy Grail and more.
www.donnafletchercrow.com

Fay Sampson

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Fay Sampson (UK) is a writer of adult and children's fiction and non-fiction, including A MALIGNANT HOUSE, #2 in the Susie Fewings series, a British Crime Club Pick.
http://www.faysampson.co.uk

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"A Memorable Mystery Novel"

By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ January 9, 2012

First the shouting and champagne cork-popping (or at least a can of Sprite) and then the nail-biting. After all the months of planning, researching, writing, editing, rewriting, comes the waiting. Then you see the page proofs and the cover— something akin to seeing the photos from an ultra-sound. Then more waiting. At last the book launch. And there is much rejoicing.

Only to be followed by more waiting for the reviews. What if, after all that— months, maybe years of your life— nobody likes it?

All of which helps explain my deep joy, gratitude and relief for the review I received today from the award-winning, highly respected mystery writer Radine Trees Nehring, author of the "To Die For" mystery series. http://www.RadinesBooks.com

What do you expect from a memorable mystery novel?  

No matter what your answer, you'll find and treasure it in the pages of A DARKLY HIDDEN TRUTH by Donna Fletcher Crow. 

Felicity Howard is an American college student who has decided she wants to study for the Anglican priesthood at the College of the Transfiguration in Yorkshire, England. In this novel we see that Felicity is impulsive, unsettled, often judgmental.  She is also a dear person I couldn't help wanting to mother. She frequently ignores the advice of wiser heads, but is intelligent, and, when she stops to think, a caring friend. Even if mercurial, she is a sincere pursuer of spiritual values and solutions. 

As this novel opens, Felicity has decided she wants to become a nun, and is ready to head off for a test of her new vocation by visiting various convents in England for brief stays. The news dismays Antony, her history lecturer at the college, who has fallen in love with her. Felicity ignores this, and is ready to rush off into research for her current "calling."  

Her plans are altered when a valuable Russian icon disappears from the college, along with Neville, a young man who has been a good friend. Father Superior Anselm asks Antony to locate the icon and the thief, assumed to be Neville. Felicity is drawn in, hoping to clear her friend's name. 

That's the setting. The remainder of the novel is a rich banquet of British and world history, landscape, and architecture, added to the pursuit of clues in dark, damp, remote, and dangerous places. I especially enjoyed the study of complex human emotions, motivations, and mis-understandings. Felicity's family history and her antipathy toward her mother come to the surface when her mother arrives for a visit in the middle of the turmoil, and is injected into the race to find the icon and solve accumulating murders. 

This is not a quick read.  Though it's possible to skim some of the history--both secular and religious--most readers will, I believe, value the learning experience, as I did.  (Donna Fletcher Crow is a meticulous researcher and sharer.)

 All I'll say about the ending is that it's satisfying, but surprises and danger abound until the final page. I did guess the villain before the story revealed (him? her?) but knowing only added to the suspense!  (You know how it is--you want to scream at the protagonist, "STAY away from that person!")
 

Donna Fletcher Crow (US) is the author of forty-some books, mostly novels dealing with the history of British Christianity. She is the author of The Monastery Murders series; The Lord Danvers Victorian True-Crime series; The Elizabeth & Richard literary mysteries, GLASTONBURY,A Novel of the Holy Grail and more. www.donnafletchercrow.com

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Reader Comments:

What a lovely review. Makes me want to read--and to eat chocolate and celebrate with you.
-Sheila Deeth, January 10, 2012

Oh, yes, Sheila! I wish you were here--what a party we could have!
-Donna, January 10, 2012

Sounds like a fabulous read! Congrats on your positive review. (Glad neither of you gave the ending away. ;)) Adding your novel to my to-read list and this blog to my stream.

Best wishes for much success!
http://augustmclaughlin.wordpress.com
-August McLaughlin, January 19, 2012

August, how lovely to hear from you. I'm delighted to be on your TBR! I do hope your enjoy adventuring with Felicity and Antony.
-Donna, January 19, 2012

What a brilliant review, Donna! And so well deserved, too. Many congratulations to your and your family, by the way, on this very happy occasion. (John's wedding, I mean, not the review, but you can celebrate both!
-Dolores, January 24, 2012

Thank you, Dolores! We are certainly celebrating the wedding! Stan & I are still in Kentucky-second week of grandparenting duty and now we can do it without the copious directions our son left us, so we're feeling pretty chuffed.
-Donna, January 24, 2012

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