(creator: Michelle Blake)
Lily Connor is a "tentmaker" (an ordained priest who works at a trade outside the church), and is the creation of Michelle Blake (c1955- ), a poet and writer, who also publishes under the name Michelle Blake Symons. She earned a Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard University and at one time thought about becoming an Episcopalian priest herself. She teaches fiction writing in the English Department at Tufts University and lives near Boston with her author husband and two children.
The Tentmaker (1999)
Lily herself is a really interesting character: "At seminary, she had studied Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and her faith now contained elements from all of those religions. So she had ended up as an ordained Episcopal minister who worked for a non-profit women's teaching center teaching the acceptance of all religions, all beliefs, all people. Then, once in a while she stepped in and worked for the church as an interim priest." Lily has her problems (including her father's recent death, insecurity, drink, and loneliness) but as her friend the Bishop tells her: "I wish we had many more priests like you in this diocese."
Earth Has No Sorrow (2001)
An interesting character, who helps her rediscover some of her old faith, is Father McPherson, an unconventional Roman Catholic chaplain at the university who even suggests that she should assist him at the Easter vigil. "That's not legal, is it?" she says." An Anglican woman priest assisting at a Roman Catholic service?" "No," the priest replies, "but then neither is ... the communion open to all baptised Christians, or a lot of other things I do.... Eventually they'll figure out what I'm doing, and then we'll see. I look at it this way - my days are numbered, so I make each one of them count". Such religious references throughout are an essential part of Lily's story, and sometimes seem more realistic than some of the sinister human enemies she has to confront.
The Book of Light (2003)
Lily herself remains warm and human throughout (as when, while preaching a sermon, she asks herself, "Did Jesus do or say any of this stuff? What am I preaching from? Then she thinks about the fine hairs just below Tom's navel. Color rushes to her cheeks. She takes a deep breath and scans the page of notes in front of her, desperate to find her place in the sermon." Wondering so much about the challenge presented by Q, she finds her own faith is developing: "I'm beginning to see the gospels in a new light ... maybe I'm beginning to believe they're true". Let's hope that there's a more likely plot in her next adventure - with a character like hers, there's really no need for over-the-top stories to retain the reader's interest.
|The Lily Connor books are particularly well designed and have really attractive and sophisticated dust jackets.