Sacred & Profane by Marcelle Bernstein (Bantam Books)

by Patrick O'Connor

 

IN the stifling heat of a Latin American country, a nun collapses and cries out words no-one can understand.

Meanwhile thousands of miles away in a London prison, another woman awakes panic-stricken in her cell.

Linking the two women is a Jesuit priest who has demons of his own to face.

Sacred & Profane takes us into the world of religious orders and examines what persuades young girls to give everything up and devote their life to God.

Author Marcelle Bernstein seems to have done her homework for she paints a vivid picture of convent life and also how to survive in a harsh prison environment, leading the reader to make their own conclusion as to how similar the two situations are.

She moves the narrative along nicely as the various strands slowly come together for a tense climax.