31/05/2001

Scandalous Risks (by Susan Howatch)

This book is the fourth in Susan Howatch's wonderful 'Starbridge' series of six novels about the Church of England in the 20th century. It can be read alone, but works better if they're read in order. I first read 'Scandalous Risks' only a year ago, but they're so well-written that I could probably read them every year, and enjoy them all the more each time.

This novel is told from the point of view of Venetia, who was a nine-year-old girl mentioned briefly in the previous book, Ultimate Prizes. 'Scandalous Risks' is set twenty years later, in the 1960s, and describes how she falls in love with Neville Aysgarth, a much older (and married) clergyman who is the Dean of Starbridge.

There's a lot of theology explored in this book, and Neville's 'new morality' is contrasted negatively with the more conventional approach of Charles Ashworth and Jon Darrow (who is now an old man).

Thought-provoking and enjoyable.

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