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Monday, 12 October 2020

‘Against All Fierce Hostility’ by Donna Fletcher Crow

 Published by Verity Press,
31 August 2020.
ISBN: 979-8677958229 (PB)

The book combines accounts of religious history and tradition with a contemporary story featuring two devout young people, Felicity Sherwood, newly graduated from the Community of the Transfiguration, and her husband, Antony Sherwood, a lecturer in church history and also part of the Community of the Transfiguration.

The contemporary setting begins with Felicity’s ordination as a deacon. Both her family and Antony’s are present to support her and Felicity is pleased at her mother’s delight in the ornate ceremony and how happy everyone is for her. Despite Felicity’s joy in her achievement, she is uncertain where her future lies, although she knows it will always be at Antony’s side, as his wife. Antony is leaving his work as a lecturer to serve as a parish priest and Felicity wonders if she should become a curate in a neighbouring parish, but she is not convinced that she is ready for this. Before Felicity has to make this decision, she and Antony are going on a wonderful journey to Canada, part working trip and part honeymoon. Antony is going to lecture on stories about the saints and Felicity is going to translate a new setting of the the Irish prayer of protection known as St. Patrick’s Breastplate, she is also taking responsibility for transporting and delivering a priceless, newly-discovered page from an early illuminated manuscript.

On the evening of her ordination, Felicity and Antony go to dinner with their families and are touched and delighted when Felicity’s family offer them an upgrade on their tickets, which means that they can enjoy a luxurious honeymoon train journey across Canada. After such an emotionally charged day, Felicity needs a few minutes alone and goes out of the hotel to the nearby woods. To her horror she heard two men quarrelling and one man kills the other. She manages to escape the killer but knows that he has seen her, although she only caught a brief glimpse at him. Everybody is relieved that she is going to Canada where she will be away from this unknown murderer and she will be safe.

When Antony and Felicity reach Toronto and the first stage of their conference everything should be fine but small things keep occurring that mar their feeling of security, especially when Felicity sees a man that looks exactly like her impression of the murderer. Moving on to a remote monastery near Montreal, Felicity becomes even more disorientated when an antiques expert, brought in to examine the rare page of manuscript, bears a striking resemblance to the murder victim. Even more frightening, Antony is got out of the way and his room at the monastery is ransacked.

The pair are very relieved to be safely on the train travelling across Canada, despite the irritation that one of the nuns has foisted upon Felicity the job of chaperoning her young sister, who is travelling to join a nunnery. Felicity and Antony love the glorious scenery and the luxury of their upgraded accommodation, but mysterious happenings still disrupt their enjoyment, and once again, Felicity is troubled by the sight of a man who resembles the murder victim. However, it is when they arrive at their destination near Vancouver that their troubles come to a head. Felicity finds her life in terrible danger and needs all her determination and ingenuity if she is going to survive.

Against All Fierce Hostility is the sixth book in the Monastery Mysteries series featuring Felicity and Antony Sherwood. This is a delightful series, which follows the development of Felicity’s spiritual and emotional development as well as her relationship with Antony. Both Felicity and Antony are engaging characters and the plot is complex and intriguing. The descriptive passages in this author’s books are always excellent but in Against All Fierce Hostility the train journey across Canada is particularly superb, bringing the magnificent scenery to life. This is an unusual and enjoyable book, which I recommend.

Reviewer: Carol Westron

Donna Fletcher Crow is a former English teacher and a Life Member of the Jane Austin Society of America. She is the author of 50 books, mostly novels dealing with British history.  The award-winning Glastonbury, A Novel of the Holy Grail, an Arthurian grail search epic covering 15 centuries of English history, is her best-known work.  She is also the author of The Monastery Murders: A Very Private Grave, A Darkly Hidden Truth and An Unholy Communion as well as the Lord Danvers series of Victorian true-crime novels and the literary suspense series The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries. Donna and her husband live in Boise, Idaho.  They have 4 adult children and 12 grandchildren. She is an enthusiastic gardener.

To read more about all of Donna’s books and see pictures from her garden and research trips go to:
You can follow her on Facebook at:

Carol Westron is a successful short story writer and a Creative Writing teacher.  She is the moderator for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames.  Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.  The Terminal Velocity of Cats the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published July 2013. Carol recently gave an interview to Mystery People. To read the interview click on the link below.

To read a review of Carol latest book This Game of Ghosts
click on the title

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Carol! I'm slow to find your review, but delighted that you enjoyed your journey across Canada with Felicity and Antony!