Tag Archives: Penelope Wilcock

Top 10 Tuesday — Married Couples

12 Feb

Today is the Valentine’s edition of Top 10 Tuesday — favorite couples. While there are plenty of books that feature the romantic beginnings for couples, there are fewer that detail the good and the bad of marriage relationships. So instead of featuring my favorite young lovers, I am sharing books with old married couples. Old is in italics because that’s how many see a couple who has settled in, but the books I share today show the trials and victories of married life no matter how long the couple has been blissfully wed. A variety of genres are shared to appeal to all reading preferences. I’ve even included a Christmas novella.

For more favorite couples, head over to That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Books Featuring Married Couples

The Breath of Peace by Penelope Wilcock

Dressed for Death by Julianna Deering

Emergency Case by Richard Mabry

Home to Chicory Lane by Deborah Raney

A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti

Miles from Where We Started by Cynthia Ruchti

No One to Trust by Lynette Eason

The Ornament Keeper by Eva Marie Everson

When Sings The Heart by Liz Tolsma

Help Me Clean My Shelves!

2 Feb

My dear husband believes that I should get rid of one book for every one that comes into our home. Bless his heart, I think he is serious! 😉 Seriously, I do try to keep the book hoard mountain collection under control by giving away books I have read to my friends and family and to the readers of this blog through giveaways. But it is not easy. For every book lover out there, you know my pain.

So in the spirit of home organization and contented married life, I have three books that I would like to find a good home. I have loved all the books in Penelope Wilcock‘s The Hawk And The Dove series. I still have the last three books in the series on my shelf. Would you like them? Just leave a comment to enter the giveaway. The giveaway runs through February 14.

The Breath of Peace

William and Madeleine are deeply in love ― but love may not be enough to win the day

Madeleine Hazell and William de Bulmer have been married a year. She is a healer, a wise woman, practical, intelligent, and blunt. He is not only an ex—monk, but an ex—abbot, a man accustomed to authority, a gifted administrator, at home with figures―but less capable in matters such as shutting up chickens for the night.

They are deeply, irrevocably in love. And every conversation may become a battlefield that leaves both of them wounded and resentful.

When William’s former abbey, St. Alcuins, suffers the loss of their cellarer, the current Abbot Father John doesn’t know how to handle the rents and provisions. He is a gifted physician and a capable leader, but estate management is beyond his competence. With a sense of rising panic he turns to his friend, the man who renounced his vows for love, the former Father William — only to find that his own pastoral skills may be required in matters matrimonial.

The Breath of Peace is the seventh novel in The Hawk and the Dove series and explores themes of mutual submission found in Ephesians 5:21–33.

The Beautiful Thread 

Abbot John has to face the consequences of his previous good deeds — and none go unpunished

In this eighth novel of the Hawk and the Dove series, William, has returned to St. Alcuins at Abbot John’s request to help his replacement learn the ropes. But William’s return coincides with a bishop’s visitation, a regular event.

The bishop, a zealous churchman with a large entourage, has heard rumors of St. Alcuins having had in their community one William de Bulmer, who is said to have attempted suicide and left the order — attempted suicide is a felony and breaking monastic vows is a grave sin. The bishop wants to know where this man is so he can be arraigned before an ecclesiastical court, and wishes to discover what happened and what part Abbot John played in those events.

As the story unfolds, the beautiful thread of the gospel weaves quietly through the contrasting colors of human frailty, religious zeal, and social pretension.

A Day And A Life

The monastic rhythm of life at St. Alcuins means that all is peaceful on the surface, but beneath there are strong currents as each monk contends with his own hopes, fears, challenges, and temptations.

Not every monk is settled and secure. Sadness permeates the monastery when it is discovered early one morning that one of the novices, Brother Cedd, has disappeared. It quickly becomes clear that disturbance in the life of one can impact many. As the day goes on, the question looms: will Brother Cedd return? And what will be the consequences if he doesn’t?

In this moving conclusion to The Hawk and the Dove series, Pen Wilcock describes a single day in the life of the community weaving a deeply touching, frank, and witty tapestry of monastic life.

 

Penelope (Pen) Wilcock is the author of over a dozen books of fiction and poetry, including The Hawk and the Dove series. 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.

Top 10 Tuesday — Hidden Gems

17 Jan

The folks at The Broke And The Bookish have challenged us to list those books we term underrated/hidden gems. I really hate the term underrated. It has such a negative feel to it. So I am choosing to focus on books that I consider hidden gems — books that many people may not know about, but would love if they gave them a chance. The last time I tackled a list like this was back in July when the Top 10 Tuesday theme was books with less than 2000 ratings on Goodreads. Well, most of the books I read fit in this category! Why? Perhaps readers are just not motivated to rate books. But ratings mean a lot to authors — it helps with visibility and ultimately sales of their books. If you love a book I encourage you to rate it!

So here is a list of books I read in the last half of 2016 with not a lot of stars following their titles. Many of them made my Best of 2016 list too. To find out what other bloggers consider hidden gems, click HERE.

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Top 10 Hidden Gems

(Books with under 200 ratings on Goodreads)

The Cantaloupe Thief by Deb Richardson-Moore

A Day And A Life by Penelope Wilcock

The Fifth Column by Mike Hollow

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Forest Child by Heather Day Gilbert

The Name I Call Myself by Beth Moran

Of Stillness And Storm by Michele Phoenix

The Raven by Mike Nappa

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Since You’ve Been Gone by Christa Allan

When Death Draws Near by Carrie Stuart Parks

Within The Veil by Brandy Vallance

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Have you read any of these books?

If you haven’t already, head over to Goodreads and rate them!

Top 10 Tuesday — Best of 2016

27 Dec

2016 was a whirlwind of activity for my family. Several weddings, a couple of bucket list trips, and relocations led to a very busy year. Amid it all I did manage to read some great books — some new releases and some new to me. So, I am supposed to narrow my list to just 10. Hmm . . . can’t do it. 😉 So I have come up with two lists — Contemporary Fiction and Historical Fiction. No matter your preference of genre, there is something for you on these lists. To see what other bloggers consider their best of the best, please visit The Broke And The Bookish.

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Top Contemporary Fiction of 2016

 

Of Stillness and Storm by Michele Phoenix

Sea Rose Lane by Irene Hannon

Seeing Things by Patti Hill

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Since You’ve Been Gone by Christa Allan

Sister Dear by Laura McNeill

Song of Silence by Cynthia Ruchti

Sycamore Row by John Grisham

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Water From My Heart by Charles Martin

When Death Draws Near by Carrie Stuart Parks

The Witnesses by Robert Whitlow

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Top Historical Fiction of 2016

 

Anchor in The Storm by Sarah Sundin

AD 30 by Ted Dekker

A Day And A Life by Penelope Wilcock

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Forest Child by Heather Day Gilbert

The Inheritance by Michael Phillips

The Lady And The Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

Like A River From Its Course by Kelli Stuart

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The Memoir of Johnny Devine by Camille Eide

Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin

Within The Veil by Brandy Valance

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Best of The Best of 2106

There were two books that I gave Very Highly Recommended ratings to in 2016. Both were from author Mike Nappa. These are great books I would recommend to everyone!

unknown2Annabel Lee

Fourteen miles east of Peachtree, Alabama, a secret is hidden. That secret’s name is Annabel Lee Truckson, and even she doesn’t know why her mysterious uncle has stowed her deep underground in a military-style bunker. He’s left her with a few German words, a barely-controlled guard dog, and a single command: “Don’t open that door for anybody, you got it? Not even me.”

Above ground, a former Army sniper called The Mute and an enigmatic “Dr. Smith” know about the girl. As the race begins to find her, the tension builds. Who wants to set her free? Why does the other want to keep her captive forever? Who will reach her first?

Private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill need to piece together the clues and stay alive long enough to retrieve the girl–before it’s too late.

41jklpz8chl-_sx322_bo1204203200_The Raven 

As part of his regular street performance, a deception specialist who goes by the name The Raven picks his audience’s pockets while they watch. It’s harmless fun — until he decides to keep the spare wallet a city councilman doesn’t seem to miss, hoping for a few extra bucks. When he finds not money but compromising photos of the councilman and his “personal assistants”, The Raven hatches a plan to blackmail the man. However, he quickly finds himself in over his head with the Ukrainian Mafia and mired in a life-threatening plot code-named, “Nevermore”.

Private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill must scramble to sort out the clues — and their complicated feelings for each other — to rescue The Raven and save hundreds of lives from a wildcard bent on revenge.

 

Book Review: A Day And A Life

20 Oct

514brqocxyl-_sx327_bo1204203200_The monastic rhythm of life at St. Alcuins means that all is peaceful on the surface, but beneath there are strong currents as each monk contends with his own hopes, fears, challenges, and temptations.

Not every monk is settled and secure. Sadness permeates the monastery when it is discovered early one morning that one of the novices, Brother Cedd, has disappeared. It quickly becomes clear that disturbance in the life of one can impact many. As the day goes on, the question looms: will Brother Cedd return? And what will be the consequences if he doesn’t?

In this moving conclusion to The Hawk and the Dove series, Pen Wilcock describes a single day in the life of the community weaving a deeply touching, frank, and witty tapestry of monastic life.

 

61vwghocnul-_ux250_Penelope (Pen) Wilcock is the author of over a dozen books of fiction and poetry, including The Hawk and the Dove series. 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:

I have loved all of the books in Penelope Wilcock’s The Hawk And The Dove series and am sad that the time visiting with the monks of St. Alcuin’s has come to an end. I actually missed 2 books in the series, so I can dive into those, but when I finish with them, I’ll have to reread. And this series is one that definitely begs a rereading. A Day And A Life, book 9, draws all the threads together from previous books and weaves a story of faithfulness and community. A perfect ending to a lovely series.

St. Alcuin’s is a monastery located in Yorkshire during the 15th century. Although though they have contact with the outside world through tenants, pilgrims and benefactors, the monks live a mostly contained life, a life dedicated to prayer, work and service to others. Through varying perspectives the life and lives of the monks are, well, brought to life :)! I loved that Wilcock explores not only the brothers’ outward actions, but their inward thoughts, thoughts that are funny, poignant and extremely human. From a lowly postulant, a novice, seasoned brothers, and the abbot, a picture of what it means to have true fellowship emerges. From the reaches of time comes a story that is more relevant for today’s Christian than may be first expected. The monks struggle with frustrations, self-centeredness, loneliness and fear of the future. An overarching theme of belonging to a larger family — the family of God —  is woven throughout the book. There is also the theme of bearing with one another examplified with an amusing dinner scene.

Fans of The Hawk And The Dove series will be very pleased with this finale. If you haven’t read any of the books in this excellent series, you are in for a real treat. Start at the beginning and dig in!

Highly Recommended!

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Kregel and Lion Hudson for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Fall TBR List!

27 Sep

Here in middle Georgia the calendar may say Fall, but it is still 90+ degrees outside! We are expecting a cold front on Wednesday night, meaning the temps will be in the mid 80s for the rest of the week. Pumpkin everything may be everywhere, but it does not feel like Fall here. I can take comfort in the fact that when Winter hits it won’t feel like Winter either! The folks at The Broke And The Bookish are hosting a Fall TBR Top 10 List this week. So while I wait for crisp, cool temps to arrive, I can enjoy some good reading. Iced pumpkin latte anyone?

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Top 10 Fall TBR List

Always with You by Elaine Stock

The Cautious Maiden by Dawn Crandall

A Day And A Life by Penelope Wilcock

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The Devoted by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Kit Kat And Lucy by Lonnie Hull DuPont

Midnight on The Mississippi by Mary Ellis

The Name I Called Myself by Beth Moran

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The Princes of Albion by Jon and Thomas Hopkins

Tangled Webs by Irene Hannon

The Thirteenth Chance by Amy Matayo

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What are you reading this Fall?

 

Top 10 Tuesday: Favorite Books of 2016 (So Far)

21 Jun

Thanks to the folks at The Broke And The Bookish who weekly host Top 10 Tuesday. This week we are finding out which books are winners in 2016. To see what other bloggers consider the best of the best, click HERE.

toptentuesday

 

Ten, really? Only ten best books of 2016? This has been a banner year for good books. I’m not sure if I am being more selective or if we are in the golden age of Christian Fiction, but I have read so many wonderful books this year. While these books are from varying genres — history, romance, mystery, literary and women’s fiction, they share a common characteristic — great writing!  So here are 13, a Baker’s Dozen, of novels I have savored.

A Baker’s Dozen of Favorite Books in 2016

 

Annabel Lee by Mike Nappa

The Beautiful Thread by Penelope Wilcock

The Breath of Peace by Penelope Wilcock

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Guarded by Angela Correll

The Hearts We Mend by Kathryn Springer

If I Run by Terri Blackstock

The Inheritance by Michael Phillips

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The Memoir of Johnny Devine by Camille Eide

The Prophetess by Jill Eileen Smith

Sister Dear by Laura McNeill

Step by Step by Candace Calvert

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Thin Ice by Irene Hannon

Water from My Heart by Charles Martin

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Book Review(s): The Breath of Peace and The Beautiful Thread

3 Jun

Penelope Wilcock has a lovely series titled The Hawk And The Dove. This historical fiction series set in and around a 14th century English monastery (yes, you read that right) is absolutely brilliant! The Breath of Peace and The Beautiful Thread are books 7 and 8 respectively. Both are filled with wit and wisdom, faithful and flawed characters and a setting that will make you long for time travel — if you take your antibiotics first! Here’s a little about each book:

51Rr1K1LtQL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_William and Madeleine are deeply in love―but love may not be enough to win the day.

Madeleine Hazell and William de Bulmer have been married a year. She is a healer, a wise woman, practical, intelligent, and blunt. He is not only an ex—monk, but an ex—abbot, a man accustomed to authority, a gifted administrator, at home with figures―but less capable in matters such as shutting up chickens for the night.

They are deeply, irrevocably in love. And every conversation may become a battlefield that leaves both of them wounded and resentful.

When William’s former abbey, St. Alcuins, suffers the loss of their cellarer, the current Abbot Father John doesn’t know how to handle the rents and provisions. He is a gifted physician and a capable leader, but estate management is beyond his competence. With a sense of rising panic he turns to his friend, the man who renounced his vows for love, the former Father William—only to find that his own pastoral skills may be required in matters matrimonial.

The Breath of Peace is the seventh novel in The Hawk and the Dove series and explores themes of mutual submission found in Ephesians 5:21–33.

Purchase this book HERE.

51h3Ir-3VlL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_Abbot John has to face the consequences of his previous good deeds—and none go unpunished.

In this eighth novel of the Hawk and the Dove series, William, has returned to St. Alcuins at Abbot John’s request to help his replacement learn the ropes. But William’s return coincides with a bishop’s visitation, a regular event.

The bishop, a zealous churchman with a large entourage, has heard rumors of St. Alcuins having had in their community one William de Bulmer, who is said to have attempted suicide and left the order—attempted suicide is a felony and breaking monastic vows is a grave sin. The bishop wants to know where this man is so he can be arraigned before an ecclesiastical court, and wishes to discover what happened and what part Abbot John played in those events.

As the story unfolds, the beautiful thread of the gospel weaves quietly through the contrasting colors of human frailty, religious zeal, and social pretension.

Purchase this book HERE

 

61vwghocnul-_ux250_Penelope (Pen) Wilcock is the author of over a dozen books of fiction and poetry, including The Hawk and the Dove series. 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:

The Breath of Peace and The Beautiful Thread continue the saga of the brothers of St. Alcuin’s monastery in northern England. Much has changed throughout the years, but grief, betrayal, and death cannot shake the firm foundation of their faith. Each book in the series focuses on a specific character amid the backdrop of the larger community. Favorite characters from previous books continue their supporting role in the life of the monastery. And I suppose you could pick up any book and start reading, but I recommend that you start with book one and work your way through the series. Each book is less than 300 pages and quickly read, so you will be caught up in no time! 🙂

The Breath of Peace explores marriage and its picture of man’s relationship with God. The unlikely pair of former monk William de Bulmer and his wife, Madeleine, are the center of the book. Their first year of marriage is a tug of war between personalities and stubborn wills. This is a story of two wounded people made into one flesh by the miracle of God — and the hard work of making a relationship work. Their love matures as they look to God to teach them to love each other. Abbot John’s wise counsel was just what they (and this reader) needed to remind them of their place in God’s world. Peace within marriage is achievable through Jesus’s gift of peace.

In The Beautiful Thread, which follows immediately after The Breath of Peace, Abbot John is confronted with his own foibles and failings. He is buffeted on all sides by pretentious and contemptuous people. Kindness, as it is lived out, is the theme of this book; the beautiful thread that elevates and encourages the vulnerable around us. In a turn around of roles, it is William who counsels John to find his way again. There is one character I hope never to see again in Wilcock’s books, but his casual and unconscious cruelty is a good contrast to the way God calls us live.

As I read the Hawk And The Dove series, I am always surprised by how much I like these books. With well-researched historical details in custom, dress, and cuisine and a faithful depiction of monastic life, these books are remarkably modern in their outlook and application. But truth is always ageless, and Wilcock has a wonderful way of portraying truth through the simple life of complex men.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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

 

 

Book Review: The Hardest Thing to Do

22 Oct

UnknownThe Hardest Thing to Do starts one year after the end of the third book, The Long Fall, in the early fourteenth century. The peaceful monastery of St Alcuin’s is adjusting to its new abbot, who is taking the place of Father Peregrine, when an old enemy arrives seeking refuge. Reluctantly taking in Prior William, the upended community must address old fears and bitterness while warily seeking reconciliation. But can they really trust Prior William?

 

 

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:

Each successive book that I read in Penelope Wilcock’s series, The Hawk And The Dove, is my favorite. The quiet, yet powerful books that detail 14th century monastic life are truly treasures. In the fourth book of the series, The Hardest Thing to Do, the community is turned on its head when a hated and hateful Augustinian prior arrives seeking sanctuary. The brothers find that often the hardest thing to do is the most critical.

The community of St. Alcuin is in a transition period. As they enter the Lenten season, they await the return of Brother John, the former infirmarian who will take over as abbott. Winter still has a hold over northern England, but the promise of Spring is a whisper of hope to their souls. The deprivation and denial of Lent also brings forth spiritual fruit and growth. Abbott John is soon tested in his new obedience when faced with the turmoil that erupts following Father William’s arrival.

The phrase the hardest thing to do is repeated throughout this book. The monks face it when trying to live in peace in a community with diverse attitudes and temperaments. They find it in mundane activities as well as in the spiritual realm. There is an underlying theme of forgiveness and mercy that is well-suited to the season of Lent and the monk’s preparations for the Easter feast. I love how Wilcock takes the unfamiliar lives of 14th century monks and makes them relevant for modern day believers. The book reinforces the message of community in Scripture — the truth that we are of one body and every member is important no matter his role. I also liked that forgiveness is depicted in a realistic way —  a hard thing for those who must give it as well as for those who receive. Beloved characters from previous books make an appearance as well as new who add to the diversity and vitality of the monastery of St. Alcuin.

It is not necessary to have read the first 3 books in the series to enjoy The Hardest Thing to Do, but I would recommend that you do. The series is wonderful; you need the full experience. You can check out my reviews of the first 3 books HERE.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

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

 

It’s hard to forgive when you’ve been wronged, even more when the wrong is against someone you love. What are your thoughts on the “hard thing” of forgiveness?

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.)