Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History, has written more than 50 books specializing in British Christianity. These books include: The Monastery Murders, clerical mysteries; Lord Danvers Investigates, Victorian true-crime; The Elizabeth and Richard series, literary suspense; and Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England. She loves research and sharing you-are-there experiences with her readers.
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Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History
A traveling researcher engages people and places from Britain's past and present, drawing comparisons and contrasts between past and present for today's reader.
By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 22, 2010
Greetings from Calgary where we had a glorious sunny day--at last! This was my big day on the blog tour circuit: 33 sites featured A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE with a picture of the cover, the first chapter available to read and often a review by the host blogger. I have spent my entire day, apart from a lovely time in the park with my granddaughter and making extra-rich shortbread for tea, visiting each blog 2 or 3 times to leave comments and answer questions. Not all offered reviews, and, as you can imagine, the reviews were a bit of a mixed bag, but those who gave stellar raves have earned my eternal gratitude.
For the nurturing of my ego and the enlightenment of any intrepid reader who might care to skim along a bit, I offer gleanings of my favorites. First, from Wynsbooks inSaskatchewan, our neighboring province:An excellent mystery thriller with several different twists to the plot. I liked how Felicity was presented as a student who was actually more interested in the aspects of saving the world than in learning about God like so many people of today. I also liked that Father Antony was given to uncertainty, a very human failure often overlooked in the traits of priests. The book was full of ancient history about St. Cuthbert, the early history of the church and the myths developed over the years around the travels of his body. As a first book it certainly sets the stage for the series.
Then, jumping clear down to Texas, TheCoolmom at The Very Latest Thing writes: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I'm a church history buff so this was right up my alley. If you are as history-crazy as I am, you are in for a treat. The book starts off with the bludgeoning of a sweet old priest and you are left to wonder what he knew that got him killed. Two of his friends go on the run, trying to investigate the murder and stay one step ahead of both the police and the murderer or murderers. The answer will cause them to travel through the present while staying fully grounded in the past. This is not a light easy read, but worth the effort.
And, from Tweezlereads in Pennsylvania: I adore mysteries, especially those that take place in the present but all the clues are centered around the past. "A Very Private Grave" is one of those mysteries! It had me spellbound from the very first page. Centered around church history, Ms. Crow spins a tale of a young American who is one of the few females that is studying at a monastery in England. Her dearest friend is murdered, and the clues left behind take us into the past to focus on St. Cuthbert.
The travels, the red herrings, the history... all combined to make this a most delicious book to read. Don't expect to figure this one out quickly - it will have you guessing all the way to the end. "A Very Private Grave" is book one of the Monastery Murders Series and sets up the series nicely. I'm looking forward to the second book "A Darkly Hidden Truth". This is definitely a series I don't want to miss!
This is the first book I've read by Donna Fletcher Crow, and certainly won't be the last. According to the back of the book, she is the author of more than 35 novels - so how did I miss such an amazing author?! She has made my MUST read author list.
What fun to skip next all the way around the globe to Australia where Beth's Thoughts were short, but especially sweet: This was a great mystery! Along with the main character, you thought you had things figured out and then came the twist at the end! It was also an interesting mix of historical and contemorary stories. I loved the story within a story.
Notes of Jubilee in Ohio took the time to comment on so many aspects of the novel in detail: I am enjoying this book, no doubt. It's a book right up my alley. Mystery. History. And and a little bit of "He likes her/She likes him." I haven't completed the book, so I don't know if it blossoms into anything more than that, but even if it doesn't, I'll be okay with it. The story overrides any of that. I've curled up with this book and a cup of green tea on several mornings and relished every moment. I am looking forward to reading more in the series. This is not a pick-up/put-down kind of book. You will need a good slot of time to enjoy this book properly. That's why it's perfect for fall or winter.
There is a lot of history involved, but the author breaks up the history lessons with action and tells it in a great narrative style so as to never give the impression that you are sitting through history class. Very important. If you absolutely loathe history as a general rule, this book may change your mind.
And then there is the heroine, Felicity, and the guy she is trying to help, Fr. Antony. They have good chemistry and there is a bit of push and pull that makes their relationship more interesting. "Will they? Won't they?" (fall in love, that is) kind of thing always makes for a bit of good tension. Love it.
The scenery that is described is blended well with the story and helps to make you feel like you are right there, helping to figure out the mystery right along with the characters. And then there is the spiritual journey that Felicity, and Fr. Antony, for that matter, go through. Totally accessible. Completely credible. Nothing highfalutin.
If you are up for a nice, thick book full of mystery, history and faith that you can really delve into, then this book is for you.
And then all the way from Hungary, Land of my Sojourn's praise was qualified in a very thoughtful review: A Very Private Grave incorporates all the church history that I have come to love from Crow’s novels into a modern day murder mystery. The writing is masterful. The scene descriptions shine as examples of a skilled writer and the character development is also first class. . . . The bottom line? It was an interesting, entertaining and masterfully written novel that challenged me to think deeply. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it even if I did mark up the margins with notes, hoping that that author would come back and clarify the points as the characters grew and developed.
Reviews by Molly in North Carolina summed up my headstrong Felicity as 'wit and grit' a phrase I love: Death. History. Present. Unforgettable characters. Those are some of the things that make up this start to a new series by Donna Fletcher Crow, an extremely talented author. I loved reading this novel. The only down side I had was the very first page, the prologue. It sort of dragged a bit. But once I got past the prologue and on to the first chapter, Donna had me captured and pulled into the center of this awesome book right along side the characters. I felt a part of the story as if Donna had created me as a character.
Felicity is an amazing character. She really drew me in from the start, with her wit and her grit. She was all set to take on solving the mysterious puzzle of what happened to Fr. Dominic, her best friend and mentor at her college in England. Fr. Antony, who is being pinned as a suspect in the murder of Fr. Dominic, is partnered with Felicity as they travel this journey across the lands, following clues left by Fr. Dominic. These clues involve ancient history, and present day, making it more of a history lesson wrapped up into a murderous crime solving situation.I fell in love with both these characters as I, too, went on this captivating puzzle solving, spiritual journey with them.
A Very Private Grave is an incredible start to this series. It's suspenseful and thrilling, full of lessons in faith and honesty, belief and a splash of romance for added flavor. There was a need-to-know-what-happened-next thrill to this story making it a page turner! The mystery is fulfilling and the historical aspects and lessons from God are intriguing and riveting. So, if you're in need of a great new mystery novel, this 4 star book by Donna Fletcher Crow is the best place to start. It will leave you hungry for more work by her and make you anxious for the next book in the Monestary Murders series!
Michellesblog in Texas says: a fascinating mystery. I loved the main character, Felicity. She finds herself in the middle of a mystery in the one place that she thought was the safest and most peaceful place in the world. She ends up on a treasure hunt of following clues that she never expected. The experience causes her to take a long look at herself, her life and her future. She's such a likeable character that you can't help but root for her.
The story is a great mystery that is witty, charming and heartwarming. The mysteries and clues take us to various places and through history, linking the past and present.
I definitely recommend this book to anyone. If you enjoy mysteries and following clues and history then you'll love this one. The writing is great and the story line is suspenseful. I loved the main character from the start and I was kept turning the pages long into the night because I wanted to find out how it was all going to turn out. This book is book one in The Monestary Murders series. The next book is A Darkly Hidden Truth and I will certainly be watching for it.
And OneDesertRose in Minnesota: . . . loved the way Donna mixed the narrative style of writing into her storyline, delineating the ancient history of the church through Fr. Antony, who is literally a ‘walking history book.’ She intertwines murder, stalking, ancient historical puzzles, romance, and the search to find the murder(s) and clues, which keeps you as intrigued, frustrated and frazzled as her characters, wondering how the puzzle pieces fit together.. . .
Finally, from SunnyIslandBreezes in Florida some excellent advice: I’m still in the process of reading this book. I find I’m having a hard time laying it down - even to write about it. It is a very compelling story.
Felicity is a young lady more interested in doing than in the history that goes along with her studies at the College at the Transfiguration. After walking in on the murder scene of her favorite priest, she is thrust even more into the history of her faith.
It’s become quite exciting as she is attempting to solve the murder and clear the name of the chief suspect. I’m beginning to see a little romance blooming here also.
If you want to find out more about this mystery, you’ll have to get your own book.
Thank you to all the First Wild Card reviewers who made my day and to you, failthful blog readers who have allowed me to share this with you.
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