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Rosemary Glenn

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Holy Orders
by Rosemary Glenn   

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Historical Fiction

Publisher:  Xlibris ISBN-10:  1401015689 Type: 


Copyright:  Aug 31 2001

Rosemary Glenn Books

A young priest ecounters scandal and treachery, driving him to question his own calling.

While civil war threatens his Irish homeland, a young man with an unclear mission is ordained a priest and crusades against illiteracy and superstition in a colony of his expatriated countrymen. Driven to justify his ordination, he strives to solve the personal problems of his congregation and denies a growing attraction to a beautiful and precocious student. Confronted with scandal and treachery, he is compelled to question the authorities calling him to obedience: his God, his country, his church, his conscience, and his heart. Which of these authorities constitutes the holiest of orders? Excerpt
"The service ended and Brennan watched as the Rourke children walked back to the cottage with their arms interlinked. Mary Margaret had been the fiber that bound them together. What would become of them now? Surviving siblings discover soon enough whether the bonds of their blood are entombed at the time of a parent's burial, or whether the bonds of their blood will rise up to sweep them along in its own current, their lives renewed with avowed purpose, the invincible buttress that is family. Brennan thought of his own siblings and shuddered. No such invincible buttress had held Brennan to his siblings, splintered and sequestered by war and papal edict."

Professional Reviews

Winston-Salem Journal
  "If there is a subgenre within fiction for sentimental Irish fiction, HOLY ORDERS fits into the category. Even though the novel is set in Wales in the early 20th century, the main characters are patently Irish and dream of returning to the country they left.     "The reader finds in it echoes of Circle of Friends, Light a Penny Candle, the Brendan O'Carroll trilogy and much of Andrew Greeley's fiction.     "Holy Orders would also fit into a subgenre of priest romances, along with The Thorn Birds, another novel in which Irish expatriates find a longing for the Old Country running through their thoughts and actions...     "The writing is engaging and the plot fast-paced. Miners' strikes, pub fights, a girl's struggle for education to win her liberation, the young priest in a crisis of faith, forced sex and (of course) an unwanted pregnancy - all are decently represented, and although the outcome is seldom in doubt, the book is a page-turner nonetheless.     "The primary characters are, for the most part, fully drawn, and the reader quickly comes to care about the fate of Father Terrence Brennan; Beth Rourke, who steals his heart; and the other inhabitants of fictional Khynyvale...     ":Rosemary Glenn, a short-story writer, manages to sustain the action better than some short-story writers who have expanded to writing novels. She's done her homework, and the historical backdrop is unobtrusive and authentic-feeling..."

Greenbay Press-Gazette
Rosemary Glenn has written a compelling novel that other reviewers have compared to “Angela’s Ashes” and Andrew Greeley’s work. “Holy Orders” ... delves into the clash between true spirituality and canon law in the Catholic church, as well as bringing to life aspects of Irish history. But mostly, it’s a bittersweet story about a young woman, a fatherless young man and a parish priest. Educated in a convent school, Glenn sees “Holy Orders” as a fictional representation of the conflicts inherent in Catholicism; “a metaphorical treatise on the challenge of religious dedication from the perspective of the faithful.” She spent years researching Irish history and culture for the book. While the book explores these issues, they are a subtext to an endearing story about an Irish family that has resettled in Wales, a young woman forced to leave school and care for her ailing mother and brothers, and a priest torn between his heart and his vows...

Henderson Home News
...The story of the priest in Holy Orders is a mixed account of the dichotomy inherent in a power structure governed by men for other well as the imminent failure of canonical laws which dictate the standards of living that are at best, humanly difficult..It all works out in the end, but how it does will surprise the reader.

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Reader Reviews for "Holy Orders"

Reviewed by oddur 6/3/2002
it was like a dude and the dude was a pimp like me
Reviewed by A.S. 3/22/2002
Irish history through the lives of a young priest and the people of his church. Knowing about Ireland, I felt like I was seeing right into the heart of these people and their history. The battle of emotions and loyalties between Father Brennan, Beth and his church kept me glued to the book!!
Reviewed by M.A. 3/22/2002
An historical and spiritual journey, filled with passion. The main characters, Terrence Brennan and Beth Rourke, are deep and intriguing--fraught with hman frailty, yet, at times, stunningly herioc. Richly written, Holy Orders is a book that brought me back to a time in Irish history when there was little to separate gentle dreams and harsh reality.
Reviewed by B.F. 3/22/2002
...both fascinating and superbly researched. The personal conflicts of its characters and the plot's historical backdrop gave me pause to reflect not only on my life, but also my own Irish heritage. The story is a refreshing departure from the norm and I feel Ms. Glenn has authored a truly remarkable work.
Reviewed by J.P.M. 3/22/2002
I loved the expatriate Irish priest. Terrence Brennan, and his desire to serve his flock, all of whom have emigrated to Wales. This book has been superbly researched, both in it's presentation of the Irish-English conflicts, and the conflicts within the Catholic Church, and its members. The characters are believable, the situations are realistically portrayed...The poverty is palpable, but the people seem to rise above it.

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