In hopes of saving a beloved medieval church from ruin, Marion prays for a miracle; but subsequent entanglement in a world of professional musicians who seem to solve her problems leads to some terrible ramifications which make Marion question whether her prayers were really a "success."
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What Reviewers Are Saying
Dense, intense, very English, with vague supernatural overtones, this novel is mostly concerned with adult problems that are likely to turn away young readers. High-strung Marion, perhaps 14, her mother dead, lives with her youngish, wise, and loving father Geoff. An impractical, quiveringly emotional person, she is obsessed with the beautiful carved angels beneath the unsound roof of a local medieval church and has romantic notions about Swithin, the star-crossed 12th-century sculptor who made them. Along comes Pennington, now a moody young concert pianist with an uncanny empathy for Marion. A crisscross relationship develops between Marion and Geoff on the one hand, and Pennington and his young wife Ruth on the other. By chance - or was it in response to Marion's prayer? - a world-famous American violinist, talking like George Raft, agrees to help raise money for repairs to the church roof. He'll also advance Pennington's career, perhaps at the expense of his marriage. Much sturm und drang ensue, along with a real storm - during which the roof of the church collapses and Marion, praying again, is buried in rubble higher than the altar. But a carved angel that fell. across the pew miraculously protects her, and she rises from the ashes (so to speak) improbably strengthened and resolute. One of Peyton's - and Pennington's - less spirited efforts. (Kirkus Reviews)