The Church of England Series continues to enthrall me. As I write this I am almost finished with the fourth book of the series I have read in less than a month.
I am normally not a fan of Christian fiction. But this is not normal Christian fiction. First, it is oriented around the Church of England in the early and mid-20th Century. Second, it is primarily about clergy that are in need of spiritual counsel and redemption.
Third it is not Christian Fiction that has a salvation story and then all is right with the world. Instead, as with the first two books of the series, the redemption story happens fairly early in Ultimate Prizes and then the rest of the book is about how the main character deals with the fact that he got what he wanted.
In each of these first three books (but not the fourth that I am currently reading) there is a marriage, but the marriage that the main character thinks they want is not nearly as easy as they think it will be.
In the case of this book, the ultimate prize that he think his marriage will become is actually somewhat of a trap. He gets is, but he has to live the rest of his life with the results of his desire.
These are not simple psychological desires, redemption, salvation, blessing. Instead these books are more similar to desire, slogging through physiological turmoil, redemption, and then a life of penance and reminder of their sin. This is not because God is rubbing their face in the sin, but rather that sin has consequences, many of which are not simple. I think part of the strength of these book are in that they so the real ramifications of sin (often lasting generations).
Marriage, even if difficult is marriage, and life long. So if you marry as a result of sin, then your marriage will not be easy, but it is part of your Christian obligation to continue on in that marriage.
I am glad there are Christian fiction book that are complicated and difficult like this series. Because life is complicated and difficult. Christianity does not solve our problems. It simply give us access to a Savior that gives us the strength we need to live (and love) through our problems.
The Church of England series are really about ideas. So the action moves the story along, but there are long passages of explication on the ideas. So this might not be a series for everyone. But I will be disappointed when I get to the end.
- Glittering Images by Susan Howatch (Church of England Series #1) (bookwi.se)
- Glamorous Powers by Susan Howatch (Church of England #2) (bookwi.se)
- Abba, Give Me a Word: The Path of Spiritual Direction by Roger Owens (bookwi.se)