February 5, 2000

The Hardest Thing to Do, by Penelope Wilcox

Based in a fourteenth century monastery, this book is all about the everyday lives of the monks of St. Alcuin's Abbey.  This is the fourth book in Penelope Wilcox's series, The Hawk and the Dove.  I hadn't read the previous three books but had no trouble following the story line.  The handy list of the men and their positions at the abbey, found at the beginning of the book, helped quite a bit.

The book reads like a daily journal of the activities taking place in and around the abbey, and I did have a bit of a hard time getting into the story for the first few chapters.  The characters began to take shape, however, and soon these simple, humble men were faced with a test of real forgiveness.  

I can't say this was a book that really held my attention.  I was drawn in a bit with the mystery of a fire in a nearby town, and what this had to do with our quiet fellas at St. Alcuin's, but the plot never quite thickened enough for me.  I kept reading because, honestly, it was nice to escape into a world of bare necessities and devoted God-followers living in community.  There is a nice lesson in accepting our fellow man and offering healing through forgiveness, so it's worth the read.

NOTE:  Thank you, NetGalley, for providing me with a free copy of this book for review.

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