* a review of A GREAT DELIVERANCE by Elizabeth George

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 14, 2013

A Great Deliverance


This is the first of the Lynley-Havers stories, and also the first that I am re-reading. I hope I don’t remember too much of the plot (it’s been 10 years at least) but my real purpose in re-reading is to study George’s writing techniques. Her use of setting, development of character, and plot surprises, among other elements, are superb. For fans of Elizabeth George who are also writers, I recommend Write Away: One Novelist’s Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life..

George unfolds the layers of a complicated story in a way that builds the emotion and tension but never leaves the reader confused. There are many characters whose roles keep evolving, but George always gives the reader the 2-3 words that assure you always know the connection of the character to previous points in the story. (NOTE: This contrasts so vividly with books like Wolf Hall and The Casual Vacancy (first half) where the authors make no such effort and the reader is often left adrift.)

Much of the emotion in “A Great Deliverance” comes from the tense and evolving and ultimately caring relationship between Lynley and Havers, as each helps the other deal with debilitating attitudes that threaten their personal and professional futures.

I didn’t realize until very recently that this was George’s first novel. Wow!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: