Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Hawk and the Dove series Book 3 by Penelope Wilcock

The author changed the format a bit for this third book in the series. Gone is the contemporary framework. This book contains one longer story from the medieval monastery, following the events in the first two books.

As the story opens, Abbot Peregrine is greatly overworked. Despite Brother Tom's pleadings, the abbot will not slow down and soon experiences a seizure, something that looks very much like a stroke. Brother Tom is devastated. Peregrine is abed and unable to talk. No longer needed as his assistant, Brother Tom is sent to work in the fields and help with the animals.

One of the issues in this book is choosing how to relate to those who, on the surface, appear unable to respond. Brother Tom has great difficulty in visiting Peregrine because he is no longer the man he once served. It hurts so much to see Peregrine so damaged. Brother Michael encourages him to visit anyway. It would be a sign of hope to Peregrine. “There is no healing without hope. Despair is life's direst enemy.” (59) That interchange made me think of how and why we visit those in the hospital. Are we seeing it only from our point of view, as did Tom? Can we see it from the perspective of the patient? (77) Can we at all imagine how they must feel?

There are some other deep concepts to think about in this novel. Assisted suicide is one. Another is how we expect God to minister to us, supernaturally, or through a person? Is God's reality found in humanity? (135) Is our humanity the breath of God? (136) Can we really help someone else when they are going through that dark night of the soul? Can we help someone else through their pain of grief? And that's just a few.

This novel is different in structure from the previous two. This is definitely just one story, not a collection of short stories. We learn about the farming in the monastery as well as the infirmary. We find out what kind of a man Brother Tom has come to be. It is a touching story of love, service and going outside of our comfort zone to help another. I recommend it.

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 Wayhere.

Lion Hudson (distributed in the U. S. by Kregel), 224 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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