Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Hawk and the Dove series Book 1 by Penelope Wilcock

The construction of this novel is fascinating. The framework is a modern family in England. The daughters in the family have various thoughts or experiences and the mother tells a story that illustrates a godly principle very applicable to the situation. The stories have been handed down through generations and originate in a medieval monastery.

In this first novel of the series, Father Peregrine is appointed Abbot. His name in the order is Columba. He is an impatient, arrogant man, a hawk trying to be a dove. One of the stories in this collection is how Peregrine came to be a kind and wise man, yet scarred and disfigured.

Here is an example of the story structure: in the contemporary setting, a daughter accidentally breaks a jug as she tripped on the stairs. That evening the mother tells the story of Brother Theodore, a young monk who arrives late to meetings, drops and knocks over things. He did have difficulty being in the right place at the right time doing the right thing. The abbot kindly gives him encouraging words. There are stories of forgiveness, healing, new beginnings, pride, and more. Each contains a good lesson in Christian living. We also learn quite a bit about monastery life too.

Wilcock wrote this book twenty five years ago and it is now being reissued. She constructed the stories as a tribute to medieval writings, such as the Canterbury Tales. She wanted to balance two worlds, the medieval and modern. The stories are relatively short and can be read at a sitting, perhaps over a lunch break.

I like this book, using medieval stories to give contemporary lessons in living. I learned a great deal about life in a medieval monastery too. It was an enjoyable novel to read.

Penelope Wilcock is a full-time writer and former Methodist minister, prison and hospice chaplain. She lives in Hastings on England's south coast with her family. You can follow her popular blog, Kindred of the Quiet Way, here.

Lion Fiction (distributed in the U.S. by Kregel), 176 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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