The Atwelle Confession by Joel Gordonson
SelectBooks, 2017. Hardcover.
The Atwelle Confession features two interconnected stories. The first is set in 1532 as King Henry VIII fights Rome to have the ability to divorce his wife. The St. Clement’s Church is under construction in the village of Atwelle. The parish priest visits two prominent local families to see about acquiring funds necessary to complete the building. Both heads of the household are worried about helping to fund the project because they do not want to seem to support the Catholic Church until they know their king’s plans. Those two men also have problems with their own children they must sort out as a murder is on the loose within the town.
The second storyline is set nearly 500 years later, in the modern era. Margeaux Wood is a fellow at a Cambridge college who is conducting research on St. Clements. She crosses paths with Don Whitby who is working to restore the church. As they explore the church, murders are again being committed in a fashion similar to those in the 1500s. What connected these events?
With the abundance of details on the architecture of the church, I think that those in the fields of architecture and historic preservation will enjoy this novel. Also, those who like to explore Tudor era history may like reading about those times in a setting outside of the royal court. However, for others this may not be the novel for you. Those details seem to predominate the book and the other elements take a background. There were also times I found the dialogue flat or out-of-place for the era the historic timeline represented. Also each chapter ended in foreshadowing that in many cases was never quite answered. Therefore, I have mixed feelings about this novel.
Do you think you will read this novel? Do you have another other books set in Tudor England or that feature architecture to suggest?
This novel was provided for review by FSB Associates. If interested, the book trailer can be viewed at this link.