The Atwelle Confession
After discovering rare gargoyles mysteriously positioned inside an ancient church being restored in the small English town of Atwelle, the architect Don Whitby and a young research historian Margeaux Wood realize that the gargoyles are predicting the bizarre murders that are occurring in the town.
Five hundred years earlier when the church is being built, two powerful families in Atwelle are contesting control of the region in the delicate backdrop of King Henry VIII’s dispute with the Pope over the King’s divorce. In the middle of these conflicts, the same bizarre murders are being committed in the town.
Two stories of identical macabre murders five hundred years apart ─ One surprising solution in the mystery of the gargoyles and the Atwelle Confession.
Reviews"Loved it! What a great book with a parallel storyline that converges in the climax. The Atwelle Confession is a well written historical mystery full of suspense. Author Joel Gordonson writes in such a way it's easy to dive right into the story. Well researched, entertaining with a scholarly taste. The tension, conflict, dilemma and unraveling of historical mystery slowly builds ending in a satisfying resolution.” — Good Reads
"I enjoyed reading this novel and believe you will too. Read it and solve the mystery. It truly surprised me!” — Book Pleasure
"Intricate, spooky and well written, The Atwelle Confession conjures up the fury of hell and the mandates of heaven in an intriguing novel that roars and pounds with the pressure of mystery and evil. Another unbelievably good read – don’t miss this one!" — The Review Broads
“Both storylines are equally engaging, in my opinion, and the mystery of the church, the gargoyles, and the people who worked there (in both time periods) comes together nicely by the end. I'll say this: The villain is not someone you'd necessarily suspect! That alone should entice any lover of Tudor fiction to read the book - there’s quite a good twist in the end.” — The Tudor Enthusiast
"With the abundance of details on the architecture of the church, I think that those in the fields of architecture and historic preservation will enjoy this novel.” — Amy’s Scrab Bag
“The Atwelle Confession is a terrific story of intrigue, then and now. Altogether a pleasure to read! It kept me guessing right up to a shocking conclusion. It’s a twist I didn’t see coming. Will you?” — Mystery Suspense Reviews
“I liked the ending of The Atwelle Confession, didn’t see it coming at all. — The Good Men Project
“I really liked the concept of The Atwelle Confession. Gordonson gives the reader a wealth of historical detail to work with. The interplay between Tudor England and modern times was well done.” —The Irregular Reader
“The Atwelle Confession is a unique representation of the medieval church and the controversy between Henry VIII and the Pope. It definitely made me want to journey to England and look up St. Clement's Church to see those ominous and creepy gargoyles holding up the roof. ” —The Cyber Librarian
"Gordonson did a wonderful job of painting the setting. When I was reading the 16th century portion I really felt we were there, I felt the emptiness of the church and the lack of modern amenities. When we were in the 21st century, it mostly felt authentic. The detail and the focus on the architecture was really well written.” —The Oddness of Moving Things
"The Atwelle Confession by Joel Gordonson was an interesting story. The mystery was well-executed. I am interested in reading other books from Mr. Gordonson.” — J Bronder Book Reviews
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While the storyline and characters in this novel are fictional, the discovery of rare half demonic-half human wooden figures carved in the ceiling of the parish church of St. Clement is a true event. The carvings were “re-discovered” in 2012 by a good friend, a medieval historian from Cambridge, England, during her study of the unusual facets of the church in Outwell, Norfolk. BBC coverage of the discovery can be read here.
Told to me over dinner, her intriguing tale of unexpectedly peering through binoculars at something mysteriously unidentifiable in the dark ceiling of the church prompted my imagination and resulted in my rough outline of this book that same evening.
Later, during my research and writing of the manuscript, she generously shared with me her comprehensive knowledge of the numerous remarkable facets and the history of St. Clement’s, including an ancient will of the prominent Beaupre family from the village.
St. Clement’s is a unique collection of features and artifacts, especially for a church in a small village off the beaten path. Many of the descriptions in this book are taken from the diverse and fascinating aspects of the church. In addition to the carvings, the church houses an ancient wooden chest built with special compartments to hold important documents, an alms box with uncommon carving, monuments to influential families from the village, and a wonderfully worn spiral stone staircase leading to a porch and a parvis overlooking the nave.
The church is being lovingly restored and preserved, despite daunting obstacles, through the efforts of a dedicated group of parishioners who deserve admiration, thanks, and our support.
For information about the history of St. Clement's, please visit their website.
You can watch this video about the current restoration of St.Clement’s.