The Priest’s Wife: The Second Book of the Isle Fincara Trilogy

A G Rivett

Publisher: Pantolwen Press Pages: 332 Price: (paperback) $12.99 ISBN: 9781739362317 Reviewed: March, 2024 Author Website: Visit »

The Priest’s Wife is the second in A.G. Rivett’s speculative fiction trilogy, The Isle Fincara.

Change is coming to Caerpadraig with the introduction of Christianity to the island. Hugh, the village’s beloved priest, had integrated the new faith with beliefs in the old gods. But Hugh has died, and the new, celibate priest, Aidan, is intent on driving out belief in Mother Earth in favor of Mother Church. However, Hugh’s last act is to anoint his wife Morag as a priest so she can give him last rites.

After Hugh’s death, Morag journeys to her birth village hoping to discover who her mother was. Although she learns little, she finds family in Sorcha, Morag’s half-brother’s daughter, who has been cast out by her father as Morag had been by hers.

Returning to Caerpadraig with Sorcha, Morag goes through an initiation with a group of spiritual adepts, Guardians who foresee the coming conflict with the church. They reveal that Morag’s mother was Coghlane, a wise woman whom Hugh consulted on many occasions. Morag is her spiritual heir. It’s clear that Morag must face Aidan some day—and soon.
Rivett has a deep appreciation for the northern Scotland landscape, and skillfully evokes its beauty while also recognizing how its harshness would have impacted people 1,000 years ago. The author also successfully captures the cadence of Celtic speech.

Unfortunately, although framed as a conflict between Christianity and the Celtic gods, the novel is short on tension between Morag and Aidan. When they meet, their discussion is oddly polite. Aidan’s belief seems weak, and he’s unable to argue strongly for his position. The one point that should have created tension—Hugh’s stole, symbol of the priest’s position, that Morag kept—never arises. A secondary storyline, concerning Dhion (protagonist in book one) seems unnecessary.

Nonetheless, readers will feel invested in these characters and will look forward to the struggle between old and new that surely must come in the trilogy’s finale.

Also available in hardcover.

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