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A Very Private Grave (The Monastery Murders) [Kindle Edition]

Donna Fletcher Crow
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Felicity Howard, a young American studying at the College of the Transfiguration in Yorkshire, is devastated when she finds her beloved Fr. Dominic bludgeoned to death and Fr. Antony, her church history lecturer, soaked in his blood ... A Very Private Grave is a contemporary novel with a thoroughly modern heroine who must learn some ancient truths in order to solve the mystery and save her own life, as she and Fr. Antony flee a murderer and follow clues that take them to out-of-the way sites across northern England and southern Scotland. The narrative deftly mixes detection, intellectual puzzles, spiritual aspiration, romance, and the solving of clues ancient and modern.

Editorial Reviews


"A compelling thriller, as well as a masterful mystery, the mental gymnastics will have you breathlessly soaking in British and church history as you puzzle through a satisfying spiritual adventure with romantic, quirky characters. Anglophiles and history buffs will love it" --Church Libraries Journal

Like a P. D. James novel A Very Private Grave occupies a learned territory. Also a beautifully described corner of England, that of the Northumbrian coast where St. Cuthbert's Christianity retains its powerful presence. Where myth and holiness, wild nature and tourism, art and prayer run in parallel, and capture the imagination still. --Ronald Blythe

About the Author

Donna Fletcher Crow is author of more than thirty-five novels. She has twice won first place in the Historical Fiction category from the National Association of Press Women, and has also been a finalist for "Best Inspirational Novel" from the Romance Writers of America. She is a member of The Arts Centre Group, and Sisters in Crime.

Product Details

  • File Size: 561 KB
  • Print Length: 385 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1854249681
  • Publisher: Monarch Books (December 24, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #448,108 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 1st in Monastery Murders series is cerebral thriller September 22, 2010
A Very Private Grave by Donna Fletcher Crow is the first book in the Monastery Murders. Felicity Howard is studying for her Anglican priesthood at a monastery in Yorkshire when her beloved friend Father Dominic is found brutally murdered in his room and another monk, Father Antony is standing over him covered in blood. When the authorities naturally suspect Antony, his superior orders him to flee with Felicity to discover what treasure that Dominic had discovered on his recent pilgrimage had caused his murder. The two retrace his path and that of St Cuthbert's body across northern England in hopes of finding the murderer and maybe even a treasure, while Felicity tries to forget that her traveling partner just may be a murder. Readers looking for a fast-paced treasure hunt will be disappointed with this book; The DaVinci Code it ain't. But readers who love a good historical yarn mixed with modern day suspense will fall in love with Crow's quiet and cerebral writing. Much of the book is a fascinating retelling of the mysterious life of Saint Cuthbert, as well as the travels of his body, which were even more fascinating! Antony is a tortured character with a secret past that haunts him in his interactions with Felicity. She is a smart and beautiful heroine who doesn't always have the best instincts when it comes to men. This intelligent writer has the potential to write a terrific series.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars struggled with this story... September 21, 2011
I have to say I tried very very hard to enjoy this book, but it was just a bit too academic for my taste in reading. The author was very precise and accurate with her telling of historical events, but it was often like attending a lecture in college. Which is understandable since two of the main characters are teachers in colleges. Father Anthony, Felecity and Jonathon Breen are on a quest, following the steps of Father Dominic's last pilgrimage. Hoping to find something that will reveal the murderer of Father Dominic and clear Father Anthony's name. Wherever they go, however they find themselves in danger. I really think this book would have held my attention much better if there had been less of the "lecture" type passages, and more action. All in all I think the book was good, just not my cup of tea. I give this author a 3 star rating for her excellent research skills and her ability to translate those skills into her story!

This book was provided for review purposes only, no payment was received for this review.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good British and Church history yarn April 13, 2011
Donna Crow is the author of more than 35 novels and a member of The Arts Centre Group and Sisters in crime. I was not at all disappointed by this fast paced treasure hunt. This is the first book in the Monastery Murders series, Her descriptions of the English and Scottish settings were very impressive.
It is a contemporary novel with a thoroughly modern heroine learning ancient truths to solve the mystery and save her own life. Lovers of both British and church history will be pleased with the author's knowledge of the subject. Felicity Howard is a young American, studying at the college of the Transfiguration in Yorkshire and she is devastated to find her beloved Fr. Dominic bludgeoned to death and her church history lecturer, Fr. Antony, soaked in his blood. There is plenty of suspension, intellectual puzzles, romance, and both modern and ancient clues.

Felicity was quite naive, I found her heading off without thinking of her possible danger and falling in love a bit too quickly but other than that I found the characters in the book to be fairly well drawn.
The book is a fascinating retelling of Saint Cuthbert life and dreams. I was quite interesting in the church history but if you are not, you might find the scripture and quotations to be a bit much. They were necessary to the plot, and I found myself caught up in the saga. I am not a mystery reader usually so I can only speak for myself. I would consider reading the sequel "The Darkly hidden truth" and I think the book fills a nitch in the church library fiction collection that is not present.

Donna Crow is a lifelong Anglophile and history buff, most of her 30 books deal with British Christianity so she knows her material. She lives in Boise Idaho and has often traveled to Britain and Scotland on research trips and pilgrimages. Be prepared to enjoy her writing and the mystery of the unraveling mystery.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A Very Private Grave is the story of Felicity Howard, a young woman studying for the Anglican priesthood at The College of the Transfiguration in Yorkshire. When Felicity's mentor, Father Dominic, is found murdered, it is up to her and Father Anthony, a walking encyclopedia of church history - and also the priest found standing over Father Dominic's body covered in blood the night of the murder, to solve his murder while running from the killer.

A Very Private Grave intertwines ancient church history with a contemporary murder plot to produce a murder mystery that will teach you as much about the early Anglican church as it will keep you guessing as to the motive of the murderer. I say as to the motive of the murderer because I guessed at the identity of the murderer in the very early pages of the book and found myself amazed at Felicity's naivete... I won't say more; I don't want to spoil the plot for others.

Overall, I can't say I truly enjoyed this book. There were parts of the story that kept me interested and others that didn't. At times, I found myself skimming through the story, but still able to follow the story-line. I prefer stories with a bit more character development - Felicity and her comrades never did come alive for me - and a bit less drag - I found myself bogging down in the in-depth church history - but for those who enjoy mysteries and/or are interested in the history of the early church, it may be a more enjoyable read.

I received this book from the author and Monarch Books in exchange for my honest review. The thoughts printed in this review are entirely my own.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars ... church history to form a colorful tapestry and a good read. Be...
An intriguing mystery woven with well researched church history to form a colorful tapestry and a good read. Be prepared to take your time, though. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Susanwords
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Enjoyed. I have visited the places in the book and have great memories
Published 5 months ago by Suzanne West
4.0 out of 5 stars good
very good, but a little confusing at times. I am not sure if I will read the next two books in the series.
Published 6 months ago by Dayna Lewis
3.0 out of 5 stars Good if you know your English church history
Having an interest in church history and having visited several of the sites included in the book, I enjoyed the factual components of the novel very much. Read more
Published 8 months ago by O. McIntyre
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the best sample of this author's writing
I've read and enjoyed several Donna Fletcher Crow novels so I was surprised at some clumsy writing and phrasing in the beginning of the book. Where was her editor?
Published 12 months ago by H. Owsley
3.0 out of 5 stars Great potiential
I thought the premise of this novel very intriguing. It could have lived up to the promise a bit better and I hope the second one is better.
Published 13 months ago by Lisa Buie-Collard
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful blend of history, mystery, romance, action, faith,...
American Felicity has a pleasing mix of brash certainty and religious questioning. English Anthony, by contrast, has quiet confidence and religious conviction. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Sheila Deeth
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read
I enjoyed the story and the religious history aspect of it. It seemed a little tedious at times, but that was short-lived.
Published 18 months ago by peggy horn
5.0 out of 5 stars very intense
I rated this a 5 because it was of interest to me. It was intense. It had a little romance also
Published 20 months ago by dianne
4.0 out of 5 stars kept me guessing until the end
I enjoyed this very much - it was different in many ways than a lot of what I read. Not the most exciting or thrilling or mysterious, but when I read I like to simply sit and dive... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Raymond L. Mccaulley
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More About the Author

Donna Fletcher Crow, who lives in Idaho with her husband of 46 years, is the mother of four adult children, grandmother of 10 and author of thirty-some books, mostly novels dealing with British history. Her best known book is the epic historical novel Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England, which was awarded First Place, Historical Fiction, by the National Federation of Press Women.

After almost 10 years in the publishing wilderness Donna is reentering the fray with The Monastery Murders, a series of ecclesiastical mysteries featuring Felicity Howard, an American woman studying for the Anglican priesthood in a monastery in remote Yorkshire. When Felicity's favorite monk is bludgeoned to death she finds herself learning about a lot more than theoretical theology. A Very Private Grave, the first in the series will be released by Monarch Books (Lion Hudson) in May 2010 in the UK and next Sept. in the US by Kregel Books.

She says, "I write historical novels and contemporaries that draw heavily on historical background, because I believe it is vitally important that we not loose touch with our rich historical heritage. Those who have gone before us have worked too hard and suffered too much to preserve the privileges we enjoy for us to forget their stories. Reading of the triumphs of the faithful in ages past can inspire and strengthen us for our own challenging times."

Donna is an enthusiastic gardener, enjoying the challenge of growing an English cottage garden in the Idaho desert. You can visit her garden at
She also enjoys drinking tea with family and friends and hearing from her readers. You can write to her at

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