“You’re going to have to learn a fair whack about this big bad world to be a good priest. First and foremost, when it comes to the parish, we look after our own. Always have, always will.”
Albert Robertson, the eldest son of a strict Irish-New Zealand Catholic family, does his duty and joins the clergy. A committed and devout priest, he eventually becomes fully ordained and is even the marriage celebrant for his younger brother in later years.
While still in the seminary, Al is caught in the Napier earthquake of February 1931. Buried in the rubble of the seminary’s chapel, he is pulled out unconscious and barely alive, his body broken.
He is nursed back to health by Abigail McCarthy, a nurse from the local Napier hospital, who has been sent to the seminary to tend to the injured, along with her cousin Moira. Nurse and patient fall deeply in love and spend the next six years in a desperate bid to be together. They struggle with their own feelings, their commitment to the Catholic Church, their love for their families and the attempts by the church to separate them and destroy their relationship. Those efforts are led by Father Connolly, a strict disciplinarian whose main aim is to protect the Church’s reputation and power as society crumbles during the Depression. When Abigail is transferred to Fiji on a nursing secondment to a remote hospital, it seems that her relationship with Al may crumble...
Broken Vows is a historical romance that will delight fans of Sebastian Faulks and Colleen McCullough.