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Unholy Child: A Novel Hardcover – 1979

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 620 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Press; First Edition edition (1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803792611
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803792616
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,762,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
The back cover to Catherine Breslin's debut novel UNHOLY CHILD promises to "take you behind the convent walls to witness a sin so shameful, so taboo, that no one wants to even whisper about it." Eh. I suppose.

It starts with Sister Angela Flynn being admitted into the hospital with massive blood loss. She was found passed out on her bedroom floor in a pool of blood with no recollection of what's happened to her. The doctors begin to examine her and soon think Sister Angela's wounds look like she's just given birth. That's not possible, she assures them, there's no way she could have been pregnant. But when she then passes a placenta--the source of all her bleeding--they're sure of it, even though she's still adamantly denying any possibility she's had a child.

The police ask her fellow nuns to go back to Angela's room and search for this baby that is, according to the doctors, definitely there. Somewhere. The baby is found, but too late, and murder charges are expected, pending an investigation into the baby's death.

UNHOLY CHILD is a year in the life of Sister Angela Flynn and the people around her, a story of how this secret she's kept affects not only her but everyone she's come into contact with. From the title, I was expecting something like the anti-Christ, but all I got was a dead baby and a nun who doesn't remember being pregnant. The twist to this story is that Sister Angela has a split personality, there's also Gayle Flynn (Gayle was Angela's birth name before the order gave her "Angela"). Gayle is a lot more free with herself, drinking, having fun, picking up men. Angela has no idea Gayle exists.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
When I first picked up this book, I was expecting a Rosemary's Baby type horror, but what I got was a surprisingly well-crafted novel that resembled Jodi Picoult. A catholic nun, Sister Angela, delivers a baby in a convent and suffers complications. The events that ensue are the consequences of her emotional and psychological duress. It is a complex examination of the rigid standards of the catholic church, the psychology of Sister Angela, and the emotional reactions of the community. As Sister Angela recovers and tries to come to terms with her actions, a larger investigation is taking place as she faces criminal charges and prepares to stand trial. I was pleasantly surprised at the intricate narrative Breslin crafted in this dark and engaging novel.
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