Thursday 9 November 2017

Nicholas Gilroy: Our Lady and the Guardian - Father Stephen and Deacon George

Nicholas Gilroy: Our Lady and the Guardian
Father Stephen
Deacon George
Archway Publishing
ISBN 9781480844872

At the writing of this review I have read over 300 books so far this year. Of those 300 about a third are fiction, and about half are Catholic books. And this was an excellent book as both a Catholic novel, and as a fiction read. With Catholic fiction I tend to break it down into different categories; first are books by Catholic authors, second we have books with Catholic themes or elements, and third we have books that the faith or one or more character or the main plot focuses around an element of Catholicism. Because of that sometimes it is very hard to narrow down where a book fits. But this book fits into a number of slots and also defies some. First it is written by a priest and a deacon. Also the story focuses around a young man, Nicholas Gilroy, who is in Saint Peter’s High School Seminary to discern his vocation. The book is marketing as Young Adult, but really it is a novel for anyone who enjoys a good story.

I actually finished reading this book almost 2 months ago, but because it was a book that really got me thinking I held off writing my review. I gave it a solid 5/5 stars. And from early on there was no doubt that the book would get a good rating. It was very hard to put down while reading. The lingering questions I had after reading the book were will there be more Nicholas Gilroy books? Will we follow him through seminary and into the priesthood? Or maybe will we get a story focused around Adam?

Nicholas has felt the call to the priesthood since he was in grade 1. Now 14 years old he is enrolled at Saint Peter’s High School Seminary to help him discern if the priesthood is really his calling. Nicholas meets Jose on his first day because of a comment on the rosary that is in his hand. His roommate Luke and their senior student advisor Gabe. He also develops a close friendship with Michael an all-American football player. Things at school are going well even with the heavy load. But then Nicholas signs up for the after-school program to help tutor children in the inner city. At first things goes well as well, and then he finds out that the older brother of the girl he is tutoring is in a street gang and all of a sudden Nicholas and his friends find themselves at risk and in danger. But this adventure could change him forever.

This book provides a lot of back story, the first part of the book really sets up what life in a minor seminary is like. What the students dad to day life is like. The activities, school work, sports and volunteer work. But once the gangs are introduced the pace of the novel really picks up. So much ground work is laid in this book that I really hope it is the first in a series. It is a wonderful read and I would eagerly read another adventure with Nicholas, Adam, or set at Saint Peter’s High School Seminary.

The style of this story is what I call realistic fiction. It could have happened, it might have happened. And it is a good clean fun read.

I believe the book is the first published novel by either Father Stephen or Deacon George. Extensive online searches have not turned up any others. And as a first novel it is very well written and polished. But I would expect that from educators. Both have taught at Catholic schools, Fr. Stephen Gemme taught history and social studies at the high school level and Deacon George taught science, math, and religion in the middle grades.

This book was a wonderful read and I look forward to more from the authors!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Father Stephen and Deacon George:
Nicholas Gilroy Series:

Nicholas Gilroy: Our Lady and the Guardian
Nicholas Gilroy: Viva Christo Rey

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