Grandmother and the Priests: A Master Storyteller Amazes with Tales of Unsung Heroes

Essay by RobertEmmett June 2014

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Grandmother and the Priests: A Master Storyteller Amazes with Tales of Unsung Heroes

By Robert Emmett Henry

Grandmother and the Priests must rate as an all-time sleeper in modern fiction. Never has storytelling magic so outstripped a novel's title. For if the title conjures up images of old-fashioned yarns carefully constructed to avoid upsetting the reader, then the very first section of this incredible work will dispel all notions of ennui. It is tempting to find another term besides "spellbinding" to describe Grandmother and the Priests -- if only because the term is generally overused/misapplied and so sends the reader running for cover. Here it is the only apt adjective, for Taylor Caldwell has put together a novel unlike any other I have encountered, and every tale within the main plot is fresh and so exciting as to be cause for many sleepless nights while one continues to read it.

Grandmother and the Priests is actually a compendium of short stories skillfully collected into a single plot pretext. A group of traveling priests from the Victorian-age British Isles meet around the fireside of a wealthy grandmother to a young girl whose parents send her there when they engage in prolonged marital strife. There the priests tell their colleagues their most remarkable test of their vocation. This amounts to an encounter with life, the most extreme test ever put to their faith in God and in themselves - if you will, their rite of passage through life, their existential moment where they turn back defeat. The young girl listens spellbound to these stories - all of them too earnest to suggest exaggeration, for such is the author's skill - and recounts them in this book. If you ever yearned for real adventure, and for a book like no other you...