This is the third book from Susan Howatch that is focused upon people who fall into the arms of the Christian Healing Centre at St Benet?s church in central London. Like its two predecessors it does not, however, preach religion, but explores the myriad ways human beings can be damaged, and can cause damage to others, as a result of one basic bottom line belief about themselves - unworthiness. How that belief takes hold at some point in their lives, usually childhood, and is then reflected in the events and circumstances of the person?s life, is the central theme of this story. Furthermore it provides an absorbing insight into how miraculous changes can take place with support from people who have been through similar experiences, and transformed their lives as a result of receiving unconditional love and guidance.
The author demonstrates, through the skilful way she describes the innermost feelings of her characters, how easy it can be to allow things to spiral out of control, seemingly without permission, when a person is acting upon impulses and beliefs they are not even aware of most of the time. This is a story of finding and holding on to truth, of unravelling the past in order to shape the future. It is also a tale of courage, and most of all, love.
Ms Howatch has long been a compelling storyteller, and this powerful narrative does not disappoint. It has suspense, high drama and touches of humour to add balance. Its subject matter may not appeal to everyone especially some of the darker, criminal themes that are explored, but the writing is always in good taste, and its honest and candid approach to understanding the frailty of the human condition cuts through preconceived ideas and will bring hope and enlightenment to many.