HOLY MOTHER by Gabrielle Donnelly


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A foot-stomping sputter of denunciation of the English Catholic church, ultimately viewed as oppressor, by several members of a group of young Londoners who gather weekly to discuss matters of the spirit and socialize. Led by Father Bob, a young priest ""blessed with optimism,"" the group of six were drawn together less by religious devotion than by a ""herding instinct""--to be Catholic in England was to be decidedly on the outside. Among the Friday nighters: joking, likable newspaperman Denis, who, because of a family secret, must forever give up thoughts of love and marriage; timid Kate, the ultimate Observant Catholic, who will lose her faith, possibly also the aridity of her life; Geoffrey, a convert of aristocratic tastes, research assistant to a maverick M.P., who will be undercut in a spy plot; Stephen and Anne, newlyweds, whose Eden is in danger from an intrusive brother-in-law; and sharp-tongued Maureen, haunted by a terrifying vision of a future wasteland in a Life Given to God, who scours away one love only to be denied another by the ways of organized religion. Then into the group comes Maureen's old school chum, the beautiful career-girl Alison. Three men are instantly plagued by lust: Father Bob prays to his ""Boss"" for strength; Denis finally conquers his sad yearning; but Geoffrey, makes plans for capturing his English beauty. The final scattering of the group occurs during a St. Patrick's Day pilgrimage--a terrible defeat for Father Bob and Maureen (the most anguished), while others, less God-obsessed, escape to their several havens. The chat in bars, apartments and offices concerning matters both sacred and profane is alternately agreeable and a bit tiresome--a floating rap session, featuring a handful of posturing kids and an earnest, if airheaded, priest.

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 1987
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly--dist. by Little, Brown