Book Review: The Hawk And The Dove Trilogy

25 May

UnknownThe Hawk And The Dove (book 1)

14th-century Yorkshire, the time of Chaucer.

Father Peregrine is appointed Abbot of St. Alcuin’s Benedictine abbey. An arrogant, impatient man, a hawk trying hard to be a dove―his name in religion is “Columba”―he is respected, but not loved.
A sudden, shocking act of violence changes everything. As the story unfolds, this community of monks, serious about their calling but as flawed and human as we are, come to love their ascetic but now vulnerable leader.

They lived six centuries ago, but their struggles are our own: finding our niche; coping with failure; living with impossible people; and discovering that we are the impossible ones.

UnknownThe Wounds of God (Book 2)

Has Peregrine been broken?

Injured in an attack by old adversaries, Father Peregrine transforms from a steely, articulate, impressive leader into a humbled, crippled, wise mentor. Relying on the kindness of his fellow monks, the fiercely independent, hawkish abbot begins to regain his feet.

But he faces a fresh challenge. The Augustinian Priory of St. Dunstan lies three days’ ride to the southwest, the domain of Prior William, whose calculating self-interest makes enemies everywhere. When he and Peregrine cross swords over a matter of justice masked as doctrine, will ruthlessness triumph over integrity?


UnknownThe Long Fall (Book 3)

Peregrine, strong and beloved abbot of St. Alcuin’s monastery, suffers a stroke. Now incapacitated, he begins an arduous recovery with the help of his brothers in the infirmary.

Brother Tom, the young monk closest to him, is horrified by the suffering Peregrine’s illness has inflicted. He keeps his distance, out of his depth. How will he find the courage to make this demanding journey of vulnerability with his friend? How will they communicate, now that Peregrine can no longer speak? How will Tom respond to the terrible, secret promise his abbot asks him to make?

In this journey to the depths of humanity, the two men discover together the treasures of darkness and the intimate mystery of compassion. Engaging and beautifully written, warm and haunting, The Long Fall concludes the first trilogy in The Hawk and The Dove series.


61vWGhocnUL._UX250_Penelope (Pen) Wilcock is the author of over a dozen books of fiction and poetry, including The Hawk and the Dove trilogy. She lives a quiet life on the southeast coast of England with her husband and is the mother of five adult daughters. She has many years of experience as a Methodist minister and has worked as a hospice and school chaplain.


My Impressions:

Written over 25 years ago and set during the 14th century, The Hawk And The Dove trilogy is a timeless piece of literature. It follows the life of Father Peregrine, abbott of the community of St. Alcuin in Yorkshire, England, along with the men who call the monastery home and Peregrine their friend, confidante, counselor and mentor. Filled with spiritual truths, the struggles common to man and a sense of God’s care and provision, Wilcock’s impeccably researched novels are sure to appeal to those who love history.

The first two books in the series, The Hawk And The Dove and The Wounds of God, follow a similar structure. The glimpses of monastic life and the unique characters within are told as a series of stories that have been handed down through the generations from mother to daughter. The present day introduction for each story is told in the first person by 14 year old Melissa. The stories themselves are in the 3rd person and told by Melissa’s mother. Each story looks at Father Peregrine and his ministry to the men at St. Alcuin. The stories are humorous, poignant and speak of universal truths. In The Long Fall there is a departure in structure from the first 2 books. The novel focuses only on Peregrine and Brother Tom and their struggle to understand the meaning and purpose of suffering. At first I didn’t like book 3, but came to appreciate the darker aspects of life that it depicts.

All three books are excellent in their depiction of religious life in the Middle Ages. The simplicity and discipline of the life is fascinating. And the reader also finds that things today are not really all that different from years gone by. Men have always struggled with understanding the trials of life and the compassion, mercy and love of God.

With modern day lessons from ancient monks told in a quiet yet powerful way, The Hawk And The Dove trilogy is one I highly recommend.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Lion Hudson and Kregel for review copies. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

4 Responses to “Book Review: The Hawk And The Dove Trilogy”

  1. Susanne May 30, 2015 at 8:58 am #

    This sounds very interesting. Appreciate your review. I’m going to look for it at the library.

    • rbclibrary May 30, 2015 at 10:51 am #

      There are actually 6 or 7 in the series. Not all have been re-released yet. Hope you find them. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Carol June 5, 2015 at 4:50 am #

    I’ve read the first book & loved it. Came via semicolon & enjoyed your review.

    • rbclibrary June 5, 2015 at 7:47 am #

      Thanks so much for stopping by! Book 2 continues in the same vein as book 1, so I am sure you will like it to. Book 3’s style and content is different, slightly more mature and darker in nature, but I still found it very good.

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