marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

From All False Doctrine

From All False Doctrine by Alice Degan

Set in 1920s Toronto. A love story, a metaphysical thriller, and a historical novel.

Elsa and Harriet are at the beach, talking about a newly discovered ancient Greek manuscript about an Orphic cult that Elsa might do her thesis on, when they meet two men who are looking for their boat, which a family took. They talk while waiting -- Peachy and Kit are "stepcousins" as Peachy puts it, and Peachy and Harriet strike it off, and Kit talks with Elsa -- she reads him Hesiod.

When it's time to put on street clothes, they are startled. Kit wears a cassock. And learning he's an Anglican does not alleviate it much; Elsa's an atheist.

She talks about the manuscript with her advisor and makes the mistake of admitting she thinks it was a single author, not a compilation.

Much happens. Peachy and Harriet are engaged, and Peachy breaks it off and vanishes in a welter of inconsistent stories, some blatant lies; selling engagement rings; Elsa's father's dreams; Kit's mother; a salon where they talk of the "Pure Plain" described in the manuscript and attempt the practices of the Orphic cult; Kit keeping the services going at his church; and more.
Tags: fiction reviews: historical fantasy

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