Ursula Le Guin reportedly described this book as “beautiful and disturbing”, and I can go with that. I didn’t expect to like this; Jill Paton Walsh has left me cold on several previous occasions. But slowly, slowly, I was drawn in by the (alternate?) world presented. The proofs of God’s existence parts were tiresome to me, since I’ve done Religious Studies to A Level and the first year of a philosophy degree, but the story formed around the idea of proving the existence of God is beautiful.
There’s a sort of distance from the characters — I’m not sure I liked any of them, that is — but somehow I became deeply involved in the story anyway, and I think I’d even say I loved the characters despite not liking them. And oh, I was so sure everything would turn out alright, I wanted that ending so badly.
I may well read other historical novels by Jill Paton Walsh: this, I think, is something she’s better at than thinly veiled mimicry of Dorothy L. Sayers.