Sheila, who is much younger than her brother, and therefore hardly knew him when he left for seminary, isn't all that close to her brother, yet when the accusations are made, she feels compelled to come get the real story. She finds her family divided -- some of them believe in his innocence unconditionally, and others cannot get past the vile nature of the claim and turn against him, despite their love for him. And this is the point of faith that the whole story revolves around -- we read about the faith of the Catholic church, the faith of Father Art, and explore the changes in the Catholic church over the past thirty years, but we also examine the faith of people in their family members and loved ones. It makes you think about what you would do in the same situation: Would you be able to have faith or would you need proof?
I think this book is for everyone: Catholic or not and whatever your feelings are about the management of the Catholic church, this is an interesting read that keeps you guessing until the end. It has a lot to say about human nature, the secrets that can destroy a family, and the life of the priesthood. I feel it does a very good job of exploring all the different types of people who become priests and the varied reasons they choose such a life. Many people might have formed an opinion about the priesthood (unfailingly positive or deeply negative) and might assume that only one type of person becomes a priest and he has the same reason everyone else does. I have never thought this was true, and this novel is a great exploration of the diversity you find, even in a world of rules and tradition.
Without giving away any more of the plot, it's worth the read. Haigh's style is interesting and keeps you turning the pages. The topic is one I would not have sought out, but I am glad I read it.
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