In 1946, Bouvette "Boo" Anders and Hughie Hewitt met and fell in love. Bouvette was a beautiful, successful actress and the youngest woman ever to produce a play on Broadway.
Hughie was a priest. And although he loved God and the priesthood, he was miserable and drowned his sorrows in alcohol. Boo changed his world and gave him the strength to quit drinking. With happiness in his heart, his sermons got better and the parish grew.
Then Bouvette became pregnant.
Hughie didn't agree with the church’s stance that priests shouldn't marry and the pair rented a home and lived together.
When he was told by his superior to end the relationship, he refused. Not wanting to lose the revenue Hughie was generating as a popular priest, the church “ignored” Hughie's indiscretions.
For a few years, Hughie and Boo lived as a family. They were deliriously happy and had two children.
Then Hughie had a heart attack. Using Hughie's medical care as a weapon, the church forced them apart.
After that, the story mostly follows Boo and their young children through their struggles.
I had a hard time with this book mostly because I didn't bring myself to like Hughie. Admittedly, I am not a religious person so perhaps I don't "get" it. But I could never wrap my head around the idea that he abandoned Boo and their kids to continue his life as a priest. He couldn't love and serve God in another way and help raise his kids? Or was the prestige of being a priest too great for him to give up?
The fact he never even looked into how Boo and the kids were getting by after he left made me angry. The hardships Boo and the kids went through were unnecessary.
As far as Boo goes, she was an amazing woman. Her enthusiasm for life and her capacity to love shows in the pages of the book.
On another note, and I feel bad even saying this, I felt the writing was weak. The point of view changed constantly throwing the reader into different people's heads and even different settings.
Also the narration shifted throughout. I never felt like I knew Hughie and felt the characters were all to similar.
Good luck to the author. I'm glad he told this remarkable story about love and the resilience of the human spirit.
A true love story between a Broadway actress and Catholic priest Fallbrook, CA, Dec 3, 2008 - Alpine Publishing, Inc. is proud to announce the release of its latest title: The Strength of a Sparrow, a new novel based on the true love story of the author's parents: his mother, a Broadway actress and his father, a Catholic priest.
The author has exposed to the world the hardships and heartache that his mother had to endure because of her secret and forbidden love. The character of a tenacious young woman, Bouvette Sherwood, who is a successful New York Broadway producer and actress, drives the plot. In the mid 1940s Bouvette meets and falls in love with a charming alcoholic, Hughie Hewitt. He has a secret though, which he keeps from her during their intense courtship--he is a Catholic priest. Their love story unfolds into a kaleidoscope of intrigue, suspense, betrayal, and romance.