The Company of Heaven by Catherine Fox, published by Marylebone House, SPCK Publishing, is the latest instalment in the Lindchester Chronicles. I hadn’t come across the series before, but with a bit of research, I discovered that the Lindchester Chronicles is set in the fictional cathedral town of Lindchester (which you may have already probably guessed from the title). It shares the ordinary, but relatable, day-to-day lives, the highs and lows, celebrations and challenges, of those in the Diocese of Lindchester.
In The Company of Heaven, the story weaves in and out of the lives of the Lindchester Diocese characters, and although they’re fictional, I’m sure many of us who’ve been in and around churches can either relate to, or recognise some of the characters. Whilst you could draw parallels with other similar books such as by Pam Rhodes (The Dunbridge Chronicles) and Joanna Trollope (The Choir, The Rector’s Wife), it would be fair to say this series perhaps isn’t quite as ‘gentile’.
The Company of Heaven shares a real-life portrayal of the past three years, woven into the lives of the characters of Lindchester, taking us back to 2021 and through the months that followed.
Aagin, the characters are very realistic and vividly described, and anyone who’s been in and around churches will recognise some familiar faces! A word of warning: the story is a realistic portrayal, not just of the characters’ lives, but also in the language used. I should say that the language used in this book, and indeed, in the previous books in the series, won’t be to everyone’s taste.
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What really grabbed my attention was the sheer amount of detail that has gone into writing this book. The author has cleverly created characters and places that, although they are fictional, feel very real. If I hadn’t known that this was a fiction book, I would have thought I was reading about a real life city, church and diocese, and the real-life stories of those who are in it.
Emotions run high, gossip escapes, new life begins, and family secrets come out in the open, so as you might guess, the story moves at a fairly fast pace. But, we also get to sit down and slow down with the characters, as we learn more about them and their lives, and go with them on their day-to-day adventures.
Although the latest in the Lindchester Chronicles, I felt that this book can be read as a standalone novel. At the beginning, listed are the names of each of the characters and what they do. The author also provides narration throughout, which I found helped me to understand more about the characters having not read any of the previous books. I also felt that there was a clever and creative touch throughout, which added that extra touch in making the story come alive. I also appreciated the Christian elements that have been woven in and around the book.
The cover of this book is appealing and eye-catching, and shares a beautiful watercolour painting by Ian Scott Massie, overlooking the fictional city. I was pleasantly pleased to discover this as I follow Ian online and have done some of his painting courses! The other books in the series also contain beautiful watercolour illustrations on the covers.
As someone who is completely new to Catherine Fox’s novels, I would be interested to explore further more of her writing.
You can purchase a copy of The Company of Heaven here.
As I mentioned further up, this book is part of a series, and all are available to purchase online. Book 1 in the series, Acts and Omissions, is currently just 99p on the Kindle store. You can purchase a copy here.
This blog post is part of The Company of Heaven book tour. You can find more reviews for this book on the blogs listed below. I was sent a copy of this book to review.
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