Casting the Net (The Dunbridge Chronicles)
Lion Fiction £7.99
Church Times Bookshop £7.20 (Use code
"IT'S no use going to a small town if you want a quiet life,"
says the bishop to 27 year-old Neil Fisher, in his second busy year
as curate of St Stephen's, Dunbridge. His Rector is Margaret (freed
from housewifely duties by her practical husband Frank), a strong
force in the parish, but also a good delegator.
Life certainly isn't quiet, but Neil's main problems emanate not
from his work as curate but from his being young, single, appealing
to women, fond of the pub, and hopeless in the kitchen, and having
a mother, Iris, who was dead against her only son's entering the
ministry, and suddenly announces that she is coming to stay. .
Naturally, there are young women about who are attractive and
attracted, particularly Wendy, who seems to be the ideal wife for
him in every way. But . . . he can't make a commitment, and then
Claire, an unmarried mother and not a Christian, enters his life.
Far from ideal, but the heart does what it wants. Then the Rector's
husband suddenly dies, and the grieving widow finds that she has
also lost her faith and refuses to return to her parish duties.
Neil is now in sole charge. . .
Rhodes (who presented the BBC's Songs of Praise for
many years) describes the ups and downs of parish life with humour
and a good ear for dialogue, but without digging far enough,
perhaps, into the dark side: depression, deception, or the deeper
reasons for loss of faith. But Casting the Net is a good
read, and anyone who enjoyed the TV series Rev will enjoy
Peggy Woodford is a novelist.