The Keys of the Kingdom by AJ Cronin was published in 1941 and later made into a movie which I have seen and enjoyed. It is a fictional story about a Scottish boy named Francis who is orphaned at a young age. We learn of his early life and upbringing by two different relatives; one loving and one abusive. Eventually Francis becomes a Catholic missionary priest who is stationed in China in the early 20th century.
When Fr. Francis first arrives at his mission, he is astounded to discover all that had been established by his predecessor has been washed away by floods and his congregation is nonexistent. This does not deter him.
An omniscient narrator conveys the story of Fr. Francis’s life. Cronin’s clever use of his main character’s personal journal conveys the inner thoughts of this unique servant of God.
I loved this novel and learned much about true faith, sacrifice, and charity from it. Highly recommended!