From All the False Doctrine: A Love Story

Written by Alice Degan
Review by John Manhold

Harriet Spencer and Elsa Nordqvist, college roommates in 1925 Toronto, are at the beach when they meet Peverell ‘Peachy’ Peacham and Christopher ‘Kit’ Underhill. Although the daughter of a devout farmer, Elsa is an avowed atheist anticipating study under direction of a distinguished professor for her M.A., her intended subject: a newly discovered Egyptian document.

The story that follows is extremely involved; suffice it to say Elsa already knowledgeable of the Egyptian document, doubts the document’s authenticity, and the plot and sub-plots center on this suspicion, the fact that a religious cult forms around its teachings, her atheistic beliefs, her growing attraction to Kit who is an Anglican priest, Kit’s somewhat complex familial relationships, the love life of Harriet and Peachy, of Elsa’s father’s activity, certain church members, and a Mephistophelian character.

Undeniable elements support this as the “love story” the subtitle suggests. However, equally dominant is a theme of reborn Christianity, or loss of atheism, through attrition and herculean struggles between the ‘prince of darkness’ and the Lord with production of miracles that provide a fitting climax.

An interestingly-written book that should be well received by Christian readers.