Friday, June 3, 2016

The Beautiful Thread

The Beautiful Thread by Penelope Wilcok, picks up where the previous novel, The Breath of Peace, left off. William de Bulmer has returned to St. Alcuins as a layman to help the cellarer manage a big wedding. But in addition to practical concerns and personal issues, the wedding coincides with the regular Bishop's Visitation. Both sets of visitors place additional pressures on Abbot John, and his choice to invite Brother Conradus's mother to help with food brings its own set of problems. However, the biggest problem is that the bishop has heard rumors that Prior William attempted suicide and left the order--both of which are crimes under the law.

While this book can be read on its own, it really makes the most sense with the context of the previous novels, particularly starting with number four in the Hawk and Dove series. The bishop's accusations are correct, but they  are taken out of context--and he shows no interest in learning the situations which led to either choice.

I was given a free copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series when it comes out.

The Breath of Peace

Reading The Breath of Peace by Penelope Wilcock, the seventh novel in The Hawk and the Dove series, was like receiving a long letter from old friends who you haven't seen in a while. The plot is understandable for new readers, but the characters and plot development mean so much more if the reader knows their history.
(Spoilers for previous books): After a year of marriage, William de Bulmer is still struggling to master common household tasks, such as shutting in the chickens or having a conversation with his wife. Meanwhile, Abbot John is faced with finding a new cellarar and replacing his prior, with no obvious candidates in mind. William was a perfect candidate for the former position, but his broken vows led to a painful departure.  Can John still call on his old friend for help?
One of the things that makes these books so good is the author's willingness to let the characters grow and change over time. William is adamant that he made the right choice to leave the abbey, but that doesn't make his history go away or make married life any easy. A lot of authors would be tempted to have William 'get over' his problems right away, instead of showing how those patterns continue to affect his life.
I was given a free copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review.