Friday, 15 May 2009
A Bit of a Scandal by Mary Rose Callaghan
Holy God, she didn’t get off with a priest?
Fraid so - baby journalist and part-time waitress Louise in Mary Rose Callaghan’s hot novel A Bit of a Scandal slides into love with Father Peter.
The bold strap! Based on a mediaeval love story?
Supposedly. Abelard and Heloise.
She a pale rose, he a gallant knight?
Not quite - he a trendy philosopher, she a scholarly young wan; due to a tragic misunderstanding, her family castrated him.
Ouch. Well, families are like that.
Maybe your family.
And this happened in Dublin?
No, no, you’re not listening. Abs and Helly were back in 11th-century France. The pair in the darkly funny Bit of a Scandal are modern - well, fairly. They fell for each other in the mildewy Dublin of the 1970s - he a Canadian monk, she a freelance for a Catholic paper.
So she got off with him? Scarlet woman.
Ah now. There was a pair of them in it.
Sorta kinda. He’s wedded to the Church, but there are three of them in this marriage.
Sounds like a tormented thing - Brief Encounter for the 1970s?
Callaghan puts a funny spin on it. Fr Peter’s constantly trying to convert her. On a bus, he veers from “Oh, God, you’re sick? You’re pregnant!” to “You have to invite Jesus into your heart - if you did it’d blow your mind!”
On a visit to a German family, he follows her up the stairs, goatily touching her behind, then they go back to sing Grace to the tune of Eidelweiss.
He patronises her - “Your degree? You never get beyond the empirical” - tells everyone else that she’s a recovering addict or alcoholic.
Oh. Haven’t been there.
This guy is some tulip. At one party, he pushes past her into the loo - “Oh my God, you’re wearing stockings!” and as they make out, he shouts hoarsely to the person pounding on the door: “I’m counselling Miss O’Neill, I’ll be down in 15 minutes.”
Saucy! So it’s a buy?
If you like it funny, it’s a definite buy.