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I signed up to review An Unholy Communion by Donna Fletcher Crow because much of the action takes place on a pilgrimage – and having been on a pilgrimage, I will always be interested in – maybe even haunted by – pilgrimage. It was very interesting to me to read about a pilgrimage I had never heard of and in a denomination I’m not particularly familiar with. Furthermore, it’s a “spiritual warfare” novel and I haven’t read one of those since Frank Peretti…a long, long, long time ago.

The main characters are Felicity and Father Antony, who are newly engaged. They are likeable, although I found them a bit overdramatic where their romance was concerned. For example, after the tiniest disagreement ever – like so small I wouldn’t even count it as a disagreement – Felicity feels this need for reconciliation. I kept finding myself bewildered as to the strong emotional language because it never seemed like they really had any problems. Maybe that’s because I’m viewing it through the lens of several years of marriage, I don’t know. If Jake and I had those disagreements I’d just shrug it off.

One thing that bothered me was that there was never any mention of to which faith/denomination the characters belong. I assumed they were not Catholic as Catholic priests cannot marry so I was wondering if they were Anglican. I did some googling and discovered that is the case. It would have been nice to have at least a mention of that in the book, as I am very unfamiliar with Anglican practices and so a lot of that part of the book was confusing to me. Furthermore, the spiritual warfare part seemed unlikely. *spoiler alert* One of the young pilgrims is kidnapped to be sacrificed. I have very limited experience with anything the occult but I just find human sacrifice to be unlikely – it’s the extreme example you think of with the occult. I suppose you have to go there if you want to include the occult in a murder mystery, though. The climax and denouement felt rushed.

Overall, the characters were likeable and I really enjoyed reading about the Welsh countryside (and food!). The retreat centre where the characters spend a week after the pilgrimage sounds amazing and beautiful, I would love to stay there. Crow does an excellent job of bringing the setting to life and made me want to visit a part of the UK I’ve never really considered.

One year ago today, I stepped off the plane at DFW with a chubby baby wrapped to my chest, with Jake next to me insisting on wrangling our technically illegal number of carryons solo. We made it through customs with all our bags, made it through jetlag, made it through 6 moves, made it through a lot of uncertainty. If you had described this past year to me on that day, I may have just stayed in Marseille, despite the interminable trash strike and oh yeah, the fact that EVERYTHING ELSE was on strike too.

Today, that chubby baby is a skinny little boy who can walk and talk; Jake has a job he loves (I do too, for that matter). Today, I am happy. The sun is shining, it is absolutely gorgeous outside, I am wearing jeans and driving with the windows down, Foo Fighters cranked up, and things seem more or less right. At last.

Your Christmas list changes from fun, interesting things that you want to necessities, like “maternity clothes.”