Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Hardest Thing to Do

The Hardest Thing to Do by Penelope Wilcox

This book is the fourth in a series about a 14 Century Monastery and the lives of the monks that lived there. This is the first of the series I have read but did not take long to know the characters. When Father Peregrime was described in the early part of the book, my mind pictured the High Lama in Lost Horizons, portrayed by Sam Jaffe. The author has the names of the characters in the front of the book and their positions at the Abby; this helps connect the characters. She also has a glossary of terms and a Liturgical Calendar in the Catholic Church's year. This book dates the time between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. The preparation of Easter and the food and sacrifice one does during Lent walks the reader through some of the requirements of Lent. Food was a major factor and I loved the descriptions of the types of foods and herbs.

Brother John now is the new abbot and is now called Father John or Abbot John. The old abbot, Father Peregrine died and John in now in charge and working at preparing himself to serve as he feels an abbot should serve God and run the Abby at St. Alcuin.

There is a monk from an Augustinian religious order that has come to St. Alcuin for refuge. He is Prior William from a nearby monastery, which had burned down; a place that was more evil than good (as I read into the story) and a problem to the St Alcuin Abby; not all the monks welcome him and he becomes a big factor in the story. One monk uses the word "hate" for his feeling for Prior William. The book has emotion and feelings that brought me, as the reader, into the book.

There are so many human factors in this book such as forgiveness, hate, love, compassion, work, family, death, sin and Church; it keeps the reader interested in the story and the men at the Abby. I appreciated the Latin because it is no longer used in Mass and I for one, miss that. I would have never called a Priest by his first name, taught to us at an early age, and this was new to me to read. I found the book easy to read and a page turner for me. Not too much religion but enough for any faith to read. This would be a good book club choice.

I found what I personally think the Hardest Thing to do was but I will let the reader determine what they feel is the Hardest Thing to Do would be for them.

I received a complimentary copy of The Hardest Thing to Do from Net Galley to read and review. The opinions are my own.

I wish to thank the author, Penelope Wilcox for the opportunity to read and review The Hardest Thing to Do.

Leona Olson

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