The Abbess of Whitby by Jill Dallady is an intriguing look into the history of Britain in the 7th century, as Christianity spread among numerous small kingdom. This historical fiction novel sheds light on a period that’s rarely discussed, especially in America, but remains fascinating for not only historians, but readers in general. Hild is known to history from the monk Bede’s History of the English Church and People, but is not a household name.
For people who are not familiar with the period, a family tree and listing of names are available at the beginning of the book, but another possible hurdle might be the time span—the book covers over thirty years of Hild’s life, with the rise and fall of many kings in the background. However, readers accustomed to wide-ranging novels will enjoy the rich historical detail. I’d recommend this book for teen and older readers just because of the unfamiliar setting and many characters.
I received a free copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. They have also published other books set in 7th-century Britain, including Edwin: High King of Britain, which are worth checking into if this book has caught your interest.