Victoria Ryan

Victoria began her writing career in sixth grade when Sister Perpetua made her pen her autobiography Eight Plus Eight Equals Chaos the story of growing up the seventh of fourteen children.  Her two children’s books (When Your Grandparent Dies and When Your Pet Dies both by Abbey Press) are published in ten international editions and her essays have appeared in “McCall’s” and “U.S. Catholic” magazines. She is the founder and chair of the Mad Anthony Writers Conference, now in its eighth year, which has raised $40,000 for local literacy programs. She was among the first liturgical guitar players, Communion Distributors, and lectors for her parish. A former speech-language pathologist with degrees from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, and national accreditation from ASHA, she is currently a writer, speaker, and community college instructor. She and her husband live in Hamilton, Ohio, where they raised six sons, three dogs, and numerous other pets she knew nothing about until last year’s family vacation. Please visit her at: http://www.thevictoriaryan.com/

Book Reviews by Victoria Ryan

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Forgiven

Forgiven—Living a nightmare with the lights on is the story of Katie, a twenty-something woman in counseling for an anxiety disorder, who learns about forgiveness as she navigates between two love interests: Chris, her therapist, and Scott, a man with secrets that could threaten her life. Her parents died when she was twelve, but she was taken in by her loving grandmother. At that time, a bully (Laura Anne) tells Katie she will have problems all her life because she’s an orphan and her grandmother “is a religious freak so you’re in for double trouble.”

I was drawn to this...

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The Bloodstone Legacy

A family legacy of witchcraft and abortion. Demonic control through a cameo necklace.  Murders of infants and adults. Fascinating clues from Scripture, biblical numerology, and Marian visions. Time travel with a saint.  Authentic  friendships between laity and priests. Scenes of honest tension and titillating cliffhangers. The Bloodstone Legacy promises a smart, exciting thriller as illustrated in the excerpts that follow:

“I’m assuming you already know that Aaron was said to have carried the Urim and Thummim with him inside this breastplate.  I’m sure you als...

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Catholics

Catholics by Brian Moore is a quick read – a thin book with few characters, simple dialogue, and a straight forward plot. But there is nothing thin, simple, or straight about it.

The novel opens with polarity. Location: Muck Island Abbey, founded in the year 1216. Time: “in the near future after a fictional Vatican Council IV.” James Kinsella, American priest, arrives by supersonic jet then helicopter at Muck Abbey on the coast of Ireland (a country nearly synonymous with traditional Catholic values). He is on assignment by command of his superior, father general (lower case int...

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A Divorce

Does divorce devastate children? Will divorce be the downfall of society? Is the Catholic stance against divorce sorely out of touch? These are the questions addressed by Paul Bourget in his novel A Divorce, the story of a French woman thrust into conflict with her second husband and her son by her first marriage, years after her divorce. It’s a surprising story because, with few exceptions, it could have come from today’s newspapers but is set in in the year it was written – 1904 – well over a hundred years ago.

Gabrielle Darras wants to reconcile with the Catholic Church...

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The Sin Eater

I picked up the novel The Sin Eater by Alice Thomas Ellis hoping it would be the same story of an old Welsh superstition dramatized on the “Rod Serling’s Night Gallery” television program. In the 1972 episode, “Sins of the Father”, a starving peasant boy is made to eat the funereal meal laid upon his father’s chest so that when the boy assumes the sins of the man, the man can enter heaven. In Ellis’ novel, there is a dying man and there are sins aplenty, but the man’s family is not concerned about his soul—or their own.  As the novel u...

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A Corner of the Veil: A Novel

The question proposed by French writer Laurence Crossé in her 1996 book A Corner of the Veil hooked me immediately:  “What would happen if God’s existence were absolutely, undeniably proven?” The premise was so compelling that I admit I was well into the book before I fully accepted the script as fiction, having to remind myself that if real proof of God existed I would have heard about it before now. Still, I was happily determined to keep turning the pages to discover the proof Crossé created. I was intrigued by the “ironic, jubilant thriller” the jack...

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Catholic, Ink.

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Sign-up for this free weekly e-newsletter and receive the free article - "What is Catholic Fiction?" Read the weekly column The Catholic Imagination and You and more.