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Review: Faith

July 5, 2012

When Father Art is accused of abusing a young boy and asked to move out of the rectory, his sister Sheila comes home for the first time in years and is shocked by what she discovers.   Her other brother, Mike, assumes Art is guilty, their mother is in denial, their father is senile, and Art refuses to defend himself.  Sheila wants to believe in Art, but finds doubt making its way into her mind.

It was a thing I’d always known but until recently had forgotten: that faith is a decision.  In it’s most basic form, it is a choice.

About a year ago, my friend Julie (Booking Mama) read Faith, by Jennifer Haigh, and all but challenged me to read it but I kept putting it off – reading about sexual abuse just seemed unsettling to me.   Since it was my book club’s choice for June, I felt like I had to read it now and will admit to opening it with a sense of dread.  All I can say is, I should have listened to Julie last year!  Yes, this book is unsettling and even a little bit sad, but I thought it was fantastic!

Haigh was very clever in telling the story from Sheila’s point of view.  Since readers only know what Sheila knows, the book is full of tension and doubt.  As Sheila tries to prove Art’s innocence she discovers that her family harbors many secrets.   She wants to believe in Art but his refusal to speak up is making it very difficult.

The story itself is full of twists and turns and just as I thought I had things figured out, Haigh would throw another curve at me.  The book kept me at the edge of my seat and kept my heart in my throat most of the time.  Even though it is ultimately sad, I thought there was hope and resilience in the book too.  I found it to be heartbreaking and thought provoking.

I think Faith is the perfect title for this book since it speaks of faith in God, faith in man, and faith in those we love – do yourself a favor and read this book!


Everyone in my book club enjoyed this book.  Quite often, it seems we don’t have much to discuss when everyone feels the same way about a book.  That wasn’t the case with Faith – we found plenty to talk about!  We started with these discussion questions and never looked back.

Review copy provided by Harper Collins. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
39 Comments leave one →
  1. July 5, 2012 4:37 am

    Wow! I’m glad you enjoyed this book! The subject matter does sound extremely unsettling, I admit.

  2. July 5, 2012 6:29 am

    Oooooooo! this one is real humdinger for me, should I or shouldn’t I. fu

  3. July 5, 2012 6:43 am

    I liked this one too. Sometimes it helps to move out of our comfort zone –glad u enjoyed it.

  4. booksnyc permalink
    July 5, 2012 7:45 am

    I really liked this one too – it definitely made me want to read more by the author. I didn’t find the book seemy even though the topic is a tough one.

  5. Veens permalink
    July 5, 2012 7:54 am

    I would not read this. But now I really want to. Great quote 🙂

  6. July 5, 2012 7:56 am

    It sounds like a very disturbing topic, but I’m glad the writer treated it so maturely.

  7. July 5, 2012 8:05 am

    I loved this one too! I listened to the audio, which was fantastic,

  8. July 5, 2012 8:52 am

    I read it twice, once for a book review, the second time for our book club. I loved it, and lots to discuss as you said. One of my friends also enjoyed the book. But, most of the members did not like the book. Maybe because of the subject matter. Most of them are very prudish. I would recommend it. I loved her first book Ms. Kimble. Both books have lots to discuss.

  9. July 5, 2012 8:59 am

    I was the same way – had to be forced to read it, but very glad I was!!!

  10. July 5, 2012 9:36 am

    Wow! This book does sound unsettling, but it sounds like such a worthwhile read. I’ll definitely be kindling this one and reading it later this fall. So glad you reviewed it, because your post has made me want to read it (where as before I had seen the book, but didn’t give it much thought) – thanks so much!

  11. July 5, 2012 9:46 am

    Sounds good! Have read her books but not this one.

  12. July 5, 2012 10:01 am

    Like you, I waffled on this book because of the themes. But after your review, I think I should pick it up. Thanks, Kathy.

  13. July 5, 2012 10:24 am

    This does sound like it would be a good book for discussion.

  14. July 5, 2012 10:24 am

    This one sounds like a really great read. I can understand your dread when starting the book, that’s certainly not an easy subject.

  15. July 5, 2012 11:14 am

    Not an easy topic to read about,sounds interesting.

  16. July 5, 2012 12:09 pm

    I read it last year and really enjoyed it. I was surprised by the twists and turns. Yes,I agree it was a very sad book.

  17. July 5, 2012 12:23 pm

    I read this one in January (a good time, probably — when it’s bleak and gray) and didn’t expect to like it as much as I did, but it absolutely grabbed me and refused to let go. Definitely thought-provoking and sad — I can see why your book club had lots to discuss!

  18. July 5, 2012 1:35 pm

    I’m glad you found this book fantastic, Kathy. Seems you needed to take a leap of faith to read it. 😉

  19. July 5, 2012 2:29 pm

    I see so many good comments about this one! Definitely gonna have to try it out!

  20. zibilee permalink
    July 5, 2012 3:00 pm

    This is one that I have, yet have not read. I really want to get to it soon, because so many have said that it merits serious attention and that it’s a really great read. I am so glad that you loved it and that you had such an awesome experience with it. Very nice review today, Kathy! You’ve convinced me!

  21. Patty permalink
    July 5, 2012 3:05 pm

    I love it when a book turns out to surprise us that way…I have it, too…and keep on shelving it…

  22. July 5, 2012 4:13 pm

    Like you, I was reluctant to open it for fear of the content but so glad I did. It was an amazingly well written book and a great read. I passed it on and its still doing the rounds 6 months later.

  23. July 5, 2012 4:15 pm

    I remember sitting in a little tea shop in the West Village with Julie after she had just finished this book last year, and every time I see it on my shelf I feel like she’s in the room, wagging her finger at me telling me to read it! Not that her recommendation isn’t enough, but after reading your review I am now going to move this onto the MUST read shelf! Great review today…and thank you for assuaging my fears about the child in the book. I have a hard time with anything having to do with children being hurt, but this one seems more about the healing than the hurt.

  24. July 5, 2012 5:00 pm

    This one sounds like a thought-provoking and powerful read.

  25. boardinginmyforties permalink
    July 5, 2012 5:15 pm

    I would be inclined to shy away from this subject matter too but it sounds like this one was worth delving into.

  26. July 5, 2012 7:30 pm

    I’m glad you finally picked up her challenge, but I think this would be very tough for any mother to read. I do think it would make a good book club discussion.

  27. July 5, 2012 11:09 pm

    I’ve had this one on my WishList for a while…sounds like one that I need to pick up…sometimes the most difficult stories to read are the ones that need to be read the most.

  28. July 6, 2012 12:03 am

    This isn’t something I would normally want to read either, but I’m intrigued by your response to it.

  29. July 6, 2012 6:30 am

    I liked this book so much more than I thought I would. I imagine it was a really good book group discussion.

  30. bookingmama permalink
    July 6, 2012 8:17 am

    I absolutely love this book and highly recommend everything Ms. Haigh has written! So glad your book club discussion worked!

  31. July 6, 2012 1:39 pm

    I appear to be the only one that thinks that this book was boring (at least 2/3 of it), but I’m glad you enjoyed it so much. The lack of dialog was a key factor in my dislike.

  32. July 6, 2012 4:34 pm

    I have heard good things about this book, but like you I wasn’t sure it was for me. Glad the book changed your mind and that your book club enjoyed it.

  33. July 7, 2012 7:20 am

    I listened to the audio last December and many of the scenes have stuck with me all these months. I thought it was a wonderful book/audio and wrote, “I was swept away by this thought-provoking novel and think it would make for a great book club discussion.” Glad to hear it was a hit with your book club.

  34. July 7, 2012 9:28 pm

    I thought the same thing as you and have resisted picking this one up.I love the quote you included. It’s so true.

  35. July 7, 2012 10:14 pm

    This is on my audio wish list – thanks for reminding me. Have listened to two of Haigh’s previous novels and loved them both. This definitely needs to be on my wishlist!

  36. July 9, 2012 10:54 pm

    So glad you liked this one! She is one of my favorite authors.

  37. July 10, 2012 12:16 pm

    I was worried that the subject matter of this book would be too difficult for me too. I will have to see if I can get my hands on a copy and give it a try!

  38. Staci@LifeintheThumb permalink
    July 12, 2012 10:28 pm

    Faith was a top read for me last year…so glad that you jumped off into the deep end and enjoyed it, even though the topic is hard to read about!

  39. August 8, 2012 6:19 pm

    I missed this review of yours earlier, somehow. I listened to the audiobook edition of Faith, narrated by Therese Plummer, and it was excellent!

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