The Hawk and the Dove series by Penelope Wilcock was originally published in 1990. The books center around St. Alcuin's Benedictine abbey. Inspired by Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and the Fioretti of St Francis of Assisi, the first two books in the series- The Hawk and the Dove and The Wounds of God are a collection of stories instead of one narrative. The other books, including The Long Fall which is one I received for review, follow the pattern of a traditional novel and are one narrative story. About the books:
The Hawk and the Dove- "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..."
The Wounds of God- "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 Long Fall- "14th-century Yorkshire, the time of Chaucer 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..."
These are a really good read. I love the style of the stories- in the tone of classics like Canterbury Tales. The characters are very well-developed and interesting to get to know. Although they lived long ago, the themes that repeat through their lives are the same ones repeating in ours. And to read of their lives is inspiring and thought-provoking.
These books are definitely different. Don't expect a traditional novel. But they are compelling and touching and will be favorites to read and share.
You can find the books on the Kregel website here. You can also find the first three books- the ones I was able to read- as a trilogy on Amazon here.
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