18/04/2010

Whispers in the Village (by Rebecca Shaw)

So, having read 'Intrigue in the Village' - despite, in general, finding Rebecca Shaw's novels to be compulsive without much character development - I thought I might as well continue onto the other book I had recently acquired.

"Whispers in the Village' is 12th in the Turnham Malpas series about a small fictional village somewhere in England. It's little different from the previous novels in this series, since the Rector, Peter and his family, go on a year's mission assignment in Africa. Peter and his wife Caroline have been central in the other Turnham Malpas books; indeed, the first book in the series, 'The New Rector' introduces Peter as a likeable, if sometimes mistaken or misguided man.

Peter's replacement, Anna, is not all that well received. Partly this is because, of course, as any Anglican knows, no new minister can ever live up to the previous one. But it's also partly because she has some modern ideas about making the church more lively, and attractive to younger people, and pushes her ideas rather more rapidly than she should have done.

Moreover, one of the young men of the parish develops an unlikely crush on Anna... and then she introduces a rather shifty character to the neighbourhood, which really gets the gossip going.

Meanwhile, regular communications from Peter appear in the form of emails, and they too have a shock towards the end of the book.

As with most of Rebecca Shaw's novels (which can all be read individually, though it's probably helpful to have read at least one or two others beforehand) there's not much character development. I got the feel for the 'type' of each person, but no insight into their inner feelings or motivations. I thought the plot was good and the pace rapid, but despite rather more shocks than normal in these books, I found myself unmoved by any of them.

Still, good light reading for odd moments on holiday. And this series somehow continues to be compulsive reading...

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 18th April 2010

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