June 08, 1992 12:00 PM

by Erich Segal

It’s easy to take cheap shots at Segal—author, lest anyone forget, of the phenomenal 1970 best-seller Love Story. For instance, what can you say about a book that stultifies? That it’s protracted, predictable and pretentious. Better to borrow from 19th-century critic Ambrose Bierce and note that the covers of Acts of Faith are too far apart.

These 525 pages center on Tim Hogan, an Irish Catholic one-time juvenile delinquent, and Daniel and Deborah Luria, a brother and sister whose father comes from a long line of Orthodox rabbis. That Daniel will follow in Dad’s footsteps is as certain as sunrise, sunset. Deborah and Tim fall madly in love. That would be fine were her father in another profession and Tim not studying for the priesthood. As the action swings from New York City to the Holy Land to the Vatican, they undergo numerous agonizing crises (“Could his feelings for Deborah be even stronger than his love for Christ?”). To get through them all—now there’s an act of faith. (Bantam, $23)

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