Book Talk: Grace Ungiven: And the Innocents Left to Yearn by Jeff R. Kelland

The Christian faith is supposed to transcend the framework of a church's pristine teachings — the values and ethical behavior included. When spiritual graces give what purports to be a true vocation, shaken by controversies that belie the claims of authenticity and innocence.


Author Jeff Kelland unfolds in his narrative account a fiction with factual elements—and brings the readers a story that triggers emotions and creates further enlightenment on the tenets of the church that led people to believe since the day they were born. Catch this emotionally gripping journey of an altar boy who was physically and sexually abused, psychologically damaged, and spiritually ruined by a so-called "man of the cloth." How the story of Michael Kavanaugh intertwines with the rest of the characters—each has a story to tell—as they find themselves entangled in this fast-paced tale of action, intrigue, romance, sex, and crime.


This tale kicks off with sister Catherine whose dedication, leadership, and youthful energy uplifts the aging sisterhood of the Servants of the Holy Sacraments in Waterford; the decline of novices takes its toll in the convents of a broken church in crisis—the growing concern for parishes all over the world. Caitlin, the sole young novice with her intellect and vibrancy, offers hope for a new breed of Catholic nuns. Together, the middle-aged and the young prodigy bridge the gap from the sisterhood's past to its future.


Seamus O' Connor, the parish priest, serving 30 years in Waterford, whose overbearing demeanor and ego bring about a tremendous impact on the lives of tens of thousands of people under his influence, on the hierarchy in varied vicious ways. Marion and Fabian, how the relationship between this traditional elderly mother and a 15-year old boy, forthright, and bright turns frail and strained over their different outlook.


Frank, a journalist, and his wife, Anne, have their share of traumas and afflictions with the dogma of Catholicism embedded in their system that caused their strained relationship. Things turn for the better after Anne seeks help from a counselor—together, Frank and Anne rise from the rubbles of guilt and rekindling their relationship and igniting romance to start anew.

As you go through this highly-intense and emotionally-packed story, Michael Kavanaugh brings to light the scar and pain inflicted by the abusive priest and craves to reveal the truth about the Catholic clerical child sexual abuse. Through the concerted efforts of his friends, Frank and Anne, together with the others, they help out to bring justice to Michael's cause.

Jeff Kelland's Grace Ungiven not only unravels a heartbreaking story that could render the readers lost in the raw emotion in this captivating novel but also manifests the author's thorough research and over 100 in-depth interviews with Catholics from all walks of life. Overall, readers will be delighted with the way Kelland spins his thought-provoking narrative, and you will get immersed in the turn of events— a well-thought-of fiction that must be part of one's collection of worth reading.

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Jeff Kelland is a fifty-eight-year-old native of St. Johns, Newfoundland, where he lives, loves and creates alongside his wife Christina. A lifelong student of the human condition, with an insatiable interest in how and why things are as they are, he possesses a genuine concern for the welfare of people and society as a whole. Jeff has a fierce passion for the written word, and though Grace Ungiven is his first novel of fiction, he is a talented, experienced writer of innumerable essays, magazine articles, newspaper editorials, poetry and prose, appearing in a variety of publications over the years. He holds a first-class honours BA in philosophy, an MSc in Community Health from the School of Medicine at Memorial University, and has published a ground-breaking thesis. He is also an accomplished public speaker for various provincial causes and Canadian conferences, and a veteran singer-songwriter and entertainer for over thirty years.

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