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The Dark Mirror

1 rating: 4.0
A book by G.B Hobson

Powerful forces are at work in a group of country parishes undergoing renewal and charismatic revival, confusing reflections of reality. Emotions run riot. A supposed miracle birth during a previous revival haunts the present like a spectre at the feast. … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: G.B Hobson
1 review about The Dark Mirror

Controversial, evocative and beautiful

  • Aug 2, 2011
Gladys Hobson’s novel, The Dark Mirror, reminded me of the much-beloved Starbridge series by Susan Howatch. Paul Stringer’s parish is in the North of England, in Cumbria, rather than Starbridge’s fictional western counties. But his problems are just as real, and just as deeply rooted in that dichotomy where love meets law. The author portrays church, people and countryside very convincingly, with dialog that rings in the ears, accents as readable as they are audible, quiet village pub and sprawling church-yard filled with the scents and sounds of England. She also tackles the hard problems of the Church of England: homosexuality, the role of the Spirit, tradition vs modernity, age vs youth.
A long-time opponent of homosexuality, Paul finds his celibacy challenged when he finally falls in love. Led by circumstances or God to a new church, he’s ideally fitted to bring the divided congregation together. Social religion and true faith are nicely contrasted as Paul begins to make changes. But his path isn’t smooth. “It wasn’t even a proper bloody sermon!” grumbles traditionalist Kevin Raymond, while eager Rita gushes, “I felt the power of the Spirit present among us.”
Paul weaves a careful path, delighting in help, trying to guide without wounding, moving slowly towards that wonderful moment of “dancing in the aisles.” Meanwhile he suffers all the problems of a handsome single priest, all alone in that big vicarage, without the temptations. People talk—they just haven’t worked out yet what they might be talking about. Meanwhile there’s Nick, and love.
The relationship between Paul and Nick is nicely portrayed, with love that’s not just physical, faith that’s not just judgment and law, and hope that persists in believing in the power of prayer. A beautiful novel for anyone willing to wonder how the Church of England might cope, how love and law might be united, or just how an English village might react, years after the event, to a woman’s claim that her child was miraculously conceived, G.B. Hobson’s Dark Mirror holds a wise mirror up to prejudice and legalism, shedding light on some dark corners of the human condition.
Disclosure: The author sent me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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