Ultimately a story of confrontation between God's will and man's between good and evil, between the material and the spiritual, between human laws and transcendent love.
From Publishers Weekly
Having explored heavenly visitations in her nonfiction bestsellers A Book of Angels and Angel Letters , Burnham again turns to religious themes in this well-crafted, highly absorbing novel. As the 1950s draw to a close, Episcopal minister Tom Buckford arrives in Naughton, Va., emotionally and spiritually exhausted by a failing marriage and a personal crisis of faith. Accustomed to ministering to the poor, he now leads a flock of rich, insular WASPs who are horrified by his progressive theological and racial views. A love affair with a member of his congregation restores his joy in living and leads to a direct revelation from God, but a charge of heresy soon forces him to resign from the church. He becomes a missionary, working with Indians in South and Central America until he is murdered by a Guatemalan death squad. Despite its readability, this intriguing study of spiritual bankruptcy--not Buckford's, but that of his congregation and his cynical bishop--seems at times overly reminiscent of A. J. Cronin's Keys of the Kingdom ; Buckford's interview with his bishop, with similar self-consciousness, evokes the Grand Inquisitor scene in The Brothers Karamazov . Yet Burnham's dramatic narrative invests her material with drama, irony and pathos, and provides an inspiring spiritual dimension as well.
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