Friday, February 24, 2012

A Darkly Hidden Truth by Donna Fletcher Crow

Song Stuck on the Brain: Sigh No More from the Much Ado About Nothing Soundtrack

Today I'm touring a book for Kregel Publications



I thoroughly enjoyed reviewing A Very Private Grave in 2010, the first book in the series, and was excited to have the opportunity to review it's sequel. After tearing through it, I assure you it's as exciting as the first. A Darkly Hidden Truth has as many twisty turns and secrets as the many ruins and historical sights would suggest. I also enjoyed seeing inside a world that's foreign to my everyday life, both in religious practice and culture. Curl up with your favorite cuppa tea and prepare to be whisked across the Pond to a whole new world.


Welcome, Donna, to ProjectingA. Thank you for being here and answering my questions.
1. Here at, music is like air, it's necessary for life. Do you have a favorite song or style of music? How does it fit into your writing life, does it inspire you?

Donna: Fortunately, April, I love English choral music, especially church music, and the earlier the better— Gregorian chant, for example. I say fortunately, because that’s what Felicity hears a lot of in her life as a student at The College of the Transfiguration. Even Felicity, who had little church background when she came to life in this “parallel universe,” quickly learns to love the ethereal melodies, the echoes rising to the vast vaulted ceilings and the sense of peace she never found in the outside world.

2. A Very Private Grave introduced Felicity and Father Antony to your fans and gave us a unique glimpse inside the monastic life. What led you to write about a modern woman wanting to become a nun?

Donna: Well, the old saw of “write what you know” holds true here. I had wanted to tell the stories of ancient English saints for many years, but I never found the right avenue until our daughter, who studied classics at Oxford found she didn’t like teaching school in London and went off to study in a theological college run by monks in a monastery in Yorkshire. Sound familiar? Other than that background, Felicity isn’t at all like our Elizabeth, but visiting her gave me an opportunity to get to know and appreciate this very unique expression of Christianity— an experience I wanted to share with my readers.

3. Your stories are so well researched, The Monastery Murders are so detailed, many times it felt as if I had stepped back in time with the characters. What do you love most about research? What was the most exciting part of A Darkly Hidden Truth to research?

Donna: Thank you, April! That’s exactly what I hope to achieve— giving my readers a sense that they are there. The on-site research is always the most fun. In 2008 I was able to visit all the settings for A Darkly Hidden Truth: The headquarters of the Knights of St. John in London, the cell of Mother Julian in Norwich, and those soggy, boggy Norfolk Broads where a body could just sink into the ooze. I invite your readers to take a look at my research album and pick a favorite spot for yourself: since I could never decide which was the best.

4. You've revived the English mystery genre and made it fresh and exciting for everyone, combining all the historical charm with modern day suspense and conflicts. Is there an author or book from your past that made a genre new and exciting for you?

Donna: The many excellent writers working in the clerical mystery subgenre really opened my eyes to the possibility of combining church life and mysteries. Kate Charles, Julia Spencer-Fleming and Phil Rickman are some of my favorites, but I think the very best clerical mystery is P. D. James: Death In Holy Orders and I was privileged to meet Baroness James when she spoke about writing that book at the Community of the Resurrection which serves as the model for my Community of the Transfiguration.

5. What are your future plans for Felicity and Father Antony? Are there more adventures to come?

Donna: Absolutely! Thank you for asking, April. I’ve just completed the rough draft of Book 3 An Unholy Communion. Felicity joins Antony in leading an ecumenical youth pilgrimage across Wales. Felicity was reluctant, but Antony promised her a time of peace and quiet in a beautiful landscape. If I tell you that the theme is the reality of evil you’ll get some idea that it didn’t exactly work out that way.

Life never works out the way we want, but it never fails to amaze me that no matter the evil in the world, Jesus and the beauty that He created is always there. Many times I stop and think, this may not be what I planned, but praise God I'm here! His plan was so much better!

Thanks again for sharing, and especially your travel album link. What beautiful pictures, Donna. They also prove just how well you describe these scenes. I felt like I recognized several of them. :)


Felicity can't possibly help Father Antony find the valuable missing icon. She's off to become a nun. And then her impossible mother turns up unexpectedly. And a good friend turns up murdered...

Breathtaking chase scenes, mystical worship services, dashes through remote water-logged landscapes, the wisdom of ancient holy women, and the arcane rites of The Knights Hospitaller keep the pages turning. Will Felicity choose the veil - or Antony?


Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 36 books, mostly novels dealing with British history. The award-winning Glastonbury, an Arthurian grail search epic covering 15 centuries of English history, is her best-known work. A Very Private Grave, Book 1 in the Monastery Murders series, was her reentry into publishing after a 10-year hiatus. Book 2, A Darkly Hidden Truth, is now available, and she is at work on Book 3, An Unholy Communion, scheduled for 2012.

I received a free copy of the featured book from the publisher. I receive no compensation for my review.

1 comment:

Donna Fletcher Crow said...

April, what fun to be here today on your eclectic blog! Thank you so much for reviewing my book and interviewing me. I love having this chance to connect with your readers.