H should be easy as it is “my” letter. H is for Heather. I’ve never liked having my name begin with H as I’m not fond of the typography. I’d rather have L. You can fancy up L nicely. In my younger years, I could never see how you could fancy up H, but I’ve since seen other Heathers do it.
Of course, I know all the adjectives that begin with H as I’ve led campers in that lovely icebreaker game where you have to put an adjective with your name. Hideous/horrible/helpful/hilarious etc. etc. This is all beside the point and not at all what this blog post is about.
H is for Howatch. Susan Howatch wrote several novels about clergy in the Church of England. Most of these were set between 1930 and 1970, so all the clergy are male. Three other offshoots of the series are set later, but still focus on male clergy. The books are very interesting. I recommend them very strongly. They pull no punches about the fallibility of clergy, the ways in which clergy need to tend to their spiritual life with care least their ministry be impaired, and are very clear about the spiritual dimension of life. You should read them even if you are not ordained. If you are ordained, or about to be ordained, there is no excuse. Read Them Now.
I didn’t read the series in order, don’t feel that you have to. It might end up working better, but you can start with the one you find. The books are linked, but do not follow one another very closely. Some of them give different perspectives on events. In one book a character may be seen in quite a different light than in another because the viewpoint of each is completely different. This is a fascinating set for just this literary reason, let alone the theological stuff in the books.
I should also say that I don’t always agree with every view expressed in the books, but that is at least in part because so many views and perspectives are expressed. They do not present life as a simple package. Life is not a simple package, but a complex and interesting lived art work. Enjoy the books with this in mind.