Monday, May 5, 2014

Casting the Net by Pam Rhodes

This is the second in The Dunbridge Chronicles (see my review of Fisher of Men here), but it can certainly stand on its own. The series is a bit in the style of the Mitford novels but takes place in England.

Neil has been in Dunbridge a year as curate. As this novel opens, Neil has just been ordained and returns to St. Stephen's Church to start his second year of getting his feet wet in the ministry. As we follow along in Neil's experiences I was again reminded of all that those in ministry must do. There is the funeral of a recently born baby, a child the family had been trying to have for years. There is the church member who has found new love after his wife left him. There is tragedy in the vicar's family that may destroy her faith. And there is the young woman who is madly in love with Neil. If she can't have him, she is determined to ruin anyone to tries.

I found this to be a good read. There are emotional moments and there are funny times. I think the novel captures well the life of a curate or vicar in the Church of England.

American readers need to realize that this novel represents Christianity across the pond. Conservative Christians will be frustrated with the lack of clear moral or godly behavior. Neil is a compassionate curate and does not jump on his friend when he cohabits with his girlfriend before marriage. That may bother some readers. (But they do get married, eventually.)

If you would like to know what ministry is like in England in a rural village, this book will give you a good picture of it.

Pam Rhodes has presented the BBC's Songs of Praise for many years. She has written six other novels. Find out more about her and her books at http://www.pamrhodes.co.uk/about.html.

Lion Hudson (distributed in the U. S. by Kregel), 256 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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