Bestselling Burnham--author of the nonfiction A Book of Angels and Angel Letters and more--continues to explore the power of...

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Bestselling Burnham--author of the nonfiction A Book of Angels and Angel Letters and more--continues to explore the power of spiritual inspiration in this compelling 50's-era tragedy--featuring a Virginia pastor who falls in love with a married woman and, partly through her, experiences God's presence. From the first day, it was clear that young Thomas Buckford was the wrong man to take over as pastor of the Naughton, Virginia, Episcopal church. Idealistic, intense, disconcertingly handsome, and a veteran of a poverty-stricken parish up north, Buckford shares little with the cocktail-slugging, old-monied congregation that has brought him here. Though most of the Naughton parishioners gamely try to accommodate a priest who arrives late at parties, performs house repairs while shirtless, and wanders the neighboring hills pondering the Bhagavad-Gita, neither side is prepared when Buckford falls in love with a young, married, well-born member of the congregation. The couple's ensuing romance leads to spiritual, then carnal ecstasy, moves on to overwhelming guilt, and ends finally in what the despairing Buckford has been seeking all along--a sign of God's presence in the form of an ecstatic vision. Buckford's spiritual reawakening inspires him to shed Church protocol and instead speak directly to his congregation of love, faith, and the terrible beauty of every moment of their lives. Inevitably, his Christ-like fervor causes the community's already smoldering resentment, envy, and fear to explode. Buckford is doomed--but the Episcopalians of Naughton will never be the same. Spiritual transcendence, sexual passion, and tragic betrayal make for a powerful brew--in a New Testament-inspired melodrama that's sure to gain the author an even greater following.

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 1992

ISBN: 0595362028

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992