A novel that's "a moving tribute to marriage"...

(Tim) When Bill Mouser speaks, particularly on sexuality and marriage, I listen. So our first book recommendation for 2009 is Ellis Peters' An Excellent Mystery which Bill says, "is one of the best and most moving tributes to marriage I've ever read in my life."


grumble, grumble, I just KNEW this new blog feature was going to play havoc with the budget!

By the way, the Cadfael mysteries which were filmed for BBC starrin Derek Jacoby are very well done.



I have read An Excellent Mystery at least three times. My wife has read it once. It is a tremendous book about love, marriage, faithfulness, hope for the future and pursuing the woman you love.

For non-Anglicans, Peters' title for this novel comes from one of the collects in the marriage service of the Book of Common Prayer:

"O GOD, who hast consecrated the state of Matrimony to such an excellent mystery, that in it is signified and represented the spiritual marriage and unity betwixt Christ and his Church: Look mercifully upon these thy servants, that they may love, honour, and cherish each other, and live together in faithfulness and patience, in wisdom and true godliness. O Lord, bless them both, and grant them to inherit thy everlasting kingdom; through the merits of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

Set in a 12th Century Shrewsbury Benedictine monastery, the book is titled ironically, for there are several mysteries in the plot and the one mentioned in the marriage collect overshawdows and illumines them all in various ways.

Hang in there for the climax of the tale. It is one of the few books I've ever read aloud to my wife where I struggled to maintain composure as I attempted to read the final scenes Peters paints, which show us Christian hearts redeemed from terrible sin and raised to amazing graces.

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