THE TENTMAKER by Michelle Blake


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You might think that the worst pulpits to inherit would be those of poor inner-city parishes—until you’d seen the dazzling lack of chemistry between interim Episcopal priest Lily Connor and the congregants of Boston’s well-heeled St. Mary of the Garden. Dispatched to St. Mary’s when their veteran spiritual leader, Father Frederick Barnes, falls victim to an accidental insulin overdose, Lily sees instantly that a liberal female priest is a lot for the parish to swallow—especially in the case of crusty senior warden John Neville, equally conservative junior warden Dan Talbot, and even Mrs. Hanlon, the church’s Roman Catholic cleaning woman. But Lily, numbed by her father’s recent, agonizing death of Hodgkin’s disease and her own battle with alcoholism, is slower to realize that there’s something more to the tension than church politics. Why did Barnes, only a few months before his death, reject his stately middle-right politics and push hard for his parish to support the ordination of homosexual ministers and social outreach? How did a man so punctilious about treating his diabetes suddenly make such a fatal mistake with the medicine he used every day? And, caught in the middle between the accusations a troubled teen and his distracted parents are hurling, how can their besieged spiritual leader know whom to believe, and what to do? A sensitive, deliberate debut, much in the manner of Blake’s model, Dorothy Sayers, though lacking Sayers’s play with alternative theories and fondness for the big surprise.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-399-14577-X
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1999


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