Fourth in the Dunbridge Chronicles series, Neil Fisher’s old and new congregations come together on a cruise round the British Isles
Three groups of people come together for a more-or-less godly cruise around the British Isles to visit Lindisfarne, the Loch Ness Monster Museum, the isles of Iona and Mull, Dublin, and the Scilly Isles. There are familiar faces from St Stephens, Dunbridge; some new folk from Neil’s new parish in Derbyshire; and the slightly long-suffering crew, not least its skipper.
A cruise is a great place to make new friends, with leisure for decent conversations. It can also be an awkward, confined space with those you would really rather avoid. Some of the party face tough decisions–not least of which is whether to say “yes” — and some tensions just cannot be left on land.
For many years Pam Rhodes has presented the world’s number one religious television program, Songs of Praise. She writes for the Daily Mail’s Femail section, and is also a successful novelist, author of With Hearts and Hands and Voices and four other novels, as well as a number of other books.
It is no secret that Christians across denominational and national lines disagree on many things. There wouldn’t be so many different churches if that was not true. Besides worship styles, doctrinal and social issues divide us. Some of the thoughts expressed in Pam Rhodes series, The Dunbridge Chronicles are counter to what I believe, but that has not stopped me from enjoying (for the most part) her tales of a young Anglican priest’s day to day experiences. Saints And Sailors is the fourth book in this series. Its cruise ship setting offers a unique perspective on the hurts and hopes of modern day people as it visits historical settings where faith has triumphed. Rhodes is ambitious in tackling a number of issues involving grief, shame, second chances, love and death, and in most cases handles them very well. Its wide cast of characters are engaging and fit the story. I was really enjoying this book when the author inserted what I feel is a cliche take on an issue that many Christians are stuggling with. Two young, intelligent, charming, talented and handsome men are involved in a homosexual relationship. This story line is treated briefly with the attitude that love is the most important thing, certainly more important than whether mum will get those grandchildren. No matter where you stand on the issue of same-sex relationships, it is a disservice to ignore what God says on the matter. Rhodes didn’t ignore the Bible when tackling marital problems or the death of a child or restoring lost relationships. She did, however, treat this issue with a politically correct statement that suggests if you feel otherwise you are at fault. For me, the other messages the author tried to convey were drowned out by this.
I am in the minority on my opinion of this book, at least on Amazon, but that is okay. You can find out what others thought by clicking HERE.
(Thanks to Kregel for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)