13/11/2006

Wild Heather (by Catherine Palmer)

I'd read a few books by Catherine Palmer before, and quite liked them... but they weren't very deep or moving, so I only bought this one, 'Wild Heather', when it was on special offer. I didn't expect too much of it but it looked like an interesting light read for holiday time.

It's a historical novel about two Christian families with centuries of feuds behind them. A minor accident causes two of them to notice each other, beginning a chain of events that inevitably leads to a hope of healing, although predictably it's a stony path.

At the same time controversy arises in the local church when an enthusiastic preacher raises debate about literal 'young earth' creation, leading to serious divisions and dissensions amongst the faithful. The main characters refuse to take sides, and so does the author - which I found a welcome relief from those who, like the rest of the characters, sit firmly on one side or the other. The plots intertwine somewhat, the feuds reflecting each other and also showing the vast difference between landed gentry and the 'working classes'.

It wasn't the greatest of books, and the ending was pretty predictable, but it wasn't bad as a holiday read. I don't think I'd have bought it at full price, and didn't rush back to buy anything else by this author, but on the whole I liked it.

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