Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)
Thomas Wingfold, the curate of Glaston, entered the ministry as a profession, having seen no reason not to do so. But unlikely incidents show him he doesn’t know what his true beliefs are in The Curate’s Awakening, a novel by author George MacDonald.
Overall, I enjoyed this gothic tale. It isn’t the typical “he lost his faith because something bad happened to him” scenario I see in a lot of Christian novels. Not to say that that kind of scenario can’t be complex, but not every person’s faith in God is based on an expectation that they’ll be exempt from serious storms or losses in life.
While some of the characters’ deliberations don’t move the plot forward much, I can appreciate a story that isn’t afraid to be philosophical and to engage critical thinking. To address doubts and ask questions without jumping to pat answers that’ll magically fix the characters’ problems in an instant. As Thomas himself says, “Where there are no doubts, no questions, no perplexities, there can be no growth…”
Now, I make allowances for older fiction, when it comes to some of the passé melodrama and such. However, no matter a book’s age or style, I’m never a big fan of perfunctory romance, when somebody falls in love because…what?
Sir, that fair maiden you have your eye on is pathetic, fainting one minute, bursting into tears the next. She’s also snippy, selfish, prideful, and now—surprise!—you adore her. Compassion for her wretched soul? That’s fine. But do you have to be in love with her? Does the novel need romance that badly?
Anyhow. The story begins to drag during its last third or quarter, not going anyplace fresh for a while as it delays the inevitable, but there’s an intriguing twist toward the end. And Thomas’s very human, honest journey has me looking forward to reading the novel that follows this one.
I’ve got two more Curate of Glaston novels to read.