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A Darkly Hidden Truth by Donna Fletcher Crow

A Darkly Hidden Truth

by Donna Fletcher Crow

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I was lucky enough to receive this book through Early Reviewers, but it took me a little while to get to it as I had some other books from the library that I needed to get through by a certain date.

Now having read it, I can say it is certainly a fast read but heavy on the Scripture to the point that sometimes it was sometimes annoying because it was unnecessary to the story and yet it was constantly repeated and noted in detail. I have read many religious=themed mysteries that didn't overwork the preaching like this book did.

I found the main character to be quite immature, shallow and frankly, not very likeable She just didn't seem able to look at things from other points of view - a fact that was very much in evidence between her relationship with her mother. Her actions and comments, even her thoughts that the reader was privy to, seemed incredibly childish and I found it almost laughable that she felt she was suddenly ready to devote herself to God as a nun with barely any real reflection about the impact of such a decision. She seemed very self-absorbed and impulsive to the point of ridiculousness and it often seemed like her sudden desire to become a nun was more about running away from problems she didn't want to deal with or face up to. Her lack of insight made her a somewhat unbelievable sleuth imo.

I did learn some interesting things from the book like the historical story of Julian the Anchoress which I found fascinating and sad. Clearly the author enjoys historical research and fitting it into her stories.

I'm not religious but often enjoy ecclesiastical mysteries and I enjoyed reading about the different retreats and different types of nuns and orders, especially since a close friend of mine has a daughter who joined a closed order of nuns in France who are only allowed to speak a few times a year. I think I always enjoy puzzling over the psychology of people who choose such a path in life.

The mystery in this book of the thefts of various religious icons, many rare and unique, was interesting, The solving of this mystery and murder was not hugely complex, nor is the author the most talented of writers, but the book kept me turning pages in spite of my dislike for the main character, although that would probably keep me from reading more books in this series. Historical buffs, especially those who enjoy theology, and readers of light/cozy mysteries might enjoy it. ( )
1 vote LongDogMom | Aug 29, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I selected “A Darkly Hidden Truth” by Donna Fletcher Crow from Early Reviewers, January 2012, because from the blurb I thought it was an ecclesiastical mystery. I started to read it a number of times but I couldn’t get past flighty Felicity and her approach to life; e.g., deciding to become an Anglican nun because her love, Anthony, was going to be a monk. By the way this is the current day side of the novel, in the historical side I learned about an anchoress.
An anchoress is a woman who has retired into seclusion for religious reasons. In this case the seclusion is a cell build onto a church wall with the nun inside. In Crow’s book the anchoress is based on the medieval anchoress is Julian of Norwich whose writings have left a lasting impression on Christian spirituality. All Saints' Church in King's Lynn, Norfolk, still has its original 12th century Anchorhold, intact and still very much in use during the daily worship of the church.
While Felicity is going around the country on retreats to test her vocation she also becomes involved in seeking the person who is stealing church icons with Anthony and another friend. Meanwhile her mother arrives from America to further complicate matters. Throw in a murder and you have a cozy, Christian fiction mystery. Many will enjoy it just not me. ( )
2 vote pmarshall | Aug 12, 2012 |
See my review and insights on clerical mysteries at my blog:
http://drawingthelinesomewhere.com/clerical-mystery-a-darkly-hidden-truth-the-mo... ( )
  janimar | Aug 3, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book begins with an interesting history, based on legend and fact about the Anchoress, Julian of Norwich, "enclosed" in c1375 AD at the Church of St. Julian the Hospitaller. From this prologue the story begins. Now partially in ruins the Church has been restored several times, and the current building is a reconstruction, including the cell from which Julian gave her advice. The story is dispersed throughout the book as a background theme, mainly as reconstructed as the Church itself, but still based on her writings.

A bit of a slow start I thought, but mostly because I felt Felicity, the main character, to be rather flighty, a little over-the-top with her spontaneous changes of direction and emotions, but these become an asset later in the book. The main story takes place during Lent and the icon for their monastery must be returned by Easter. As Felicity struggles to grasp what her feelings are toward becoming a nun she tries to understand what Julian's devotion and seclusion felt. She must also question her increasing feelings for Antony. She has been advised to go on retreat to some convents of various types to learn her true feelings about becoming a nun, a "discernment" of sorts. What is her true reasoning? Is she too attached to the world? Is she running from her feelings of abandonment by her mother? And after so many years of her mother's focus on work rather than her daughter, why is she suddenly coming to visit?

This is not just a book of religion however, there is a mystery afoot, the theft of religious icons, the disappearance of a friend, history, mystery, murder and mayhem, all are part and parcel of this, the second in the Monastery Murders series. The main story takes place during Lent and the icon for their monastery must be returned by Easter. What is the meaning of the Maltese crosses on the backs of these icons? This question thrusts Felicity and Antony, her good friend and partner in Book 1, right into the world of the mysterious Knights of Malta, the Knights Hospitaller. Well researched, descriptive, compelling and creative, Donna Fletcher Crow really knows how to grab her audience. I learned some fascinating history while enjoying this fast-paced mystery. ( )
  readerbynight | May 21, 2012 |
A DARKLY HIDDEN TRUTH by Donna Fletcher Crow is a fast paced historical mystery. This is book 2 in “The Monastery Murders”,but can be read as a stand alone. See,”A Very Private Grave”. Spend a year or two in England’s countryside as you travel with Felicity and Antony into the a world of mystery,murder,church history,a missing icon,the Knights of Hospitalier,and with a bit of romance. Written with vivid descriptions,full of England’s church history,and rich characters. Ms. Crow weaves medieval history with modern murder and mystery.A must read for anyone interested in history,christianity,mystery,and a bit of romance. Received for an honest review. Details can be found at the author’s website,Pump Up Your Books, Monarch Books,and My Book Addiction and More.


HEAT:Sweet: No sex or scenes of physical intimacy except some kissing. No graphic violence or profanity.

REVIEWED BY: AprilR, My Book Addiction and More ( )
  MyBookAddiction | May 10, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0857210505, Paperback)

Felicity has decided to become a nun. She departs to visit convents in spite of her mother's imminent arrival and Fr. Anselm's request that she and Fr. Antony recover a missing priceless Russian icon before the Patriarch of Moscow arrives at the community for Holy Week.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:52 -0400)

"Donna Fletcher Crow is author of more than thirty-five novels. She has twice won first place in the Historical Fiction category from the National Association of Press Women, and has also been a finalist for "Best Inspirational Novel" from the Romance Writers of America. She is a member of The Arts Centre Group, and Sisters in Crime"-- Cover verso.… (more)

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