05/05/2000

A Question of Integrity (by Susan Howatch)

'A Question of Integrity' is book by Susan Howatch, and first in the 'St Benet's' trilogy.

This is the first book I read by this author. What an amazing novel!

It's set around an Anglo-Catholic 'healing centre' in London. Alice, an overweight cook with terrible self-esteem, is helped by Nick, the leader, and other members of the healing centre team.

Lewis, Nick's elderly assistant, provides some light relief and lots of thought-provoking comment. Characters are carefully developed, conversations are very believable,and sub-plots are cleverly woven together to arrive at the dramatic crisis.

Written in the first person from the perspective of some of the main characters, this style is apparently typical for this author and works very well as each new viewpoint opens up new understandings of what has gone before.

I thought the ending was a bit too sudden, and tied the threads just a touch too tidily, but overally thought it a wonderful book and determined to read more of Susan Howatch!

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