Saturday, November 28, 2015
(Volume 6 in The Hawk & The Dove series)
By Penelope Wilcock
Published by Lion Fiction, 2015
This is a book in which we finally learn who Father William really is. We have had glimpses in the last few books, but this is the story of how at various times he bares his soul, whether willingly or unwillingly, to his Abbot, to Father Oswald and Brother Conradus, to the whole community at one particularly heartbreaking Chapter Meeting, to Madeline and her elderly neighbour, Mother Cottingham.
Each one of them has grown to love him and to want his happiness, yet what William truly wants is forbidden and impossible; gradually he becomes so isolated and unhappy that his life once more seems to be a burden of despair. He loses his pride, his arrogance, his self-esteem, his joy and the love of his life, but he has not counted on the fervent prayers of Brother Conradus and the schemes of the delightful old Mother Cottingham aimed at restoring his joy.......
This could so easily have been a sad story of heartbreak and self-sacrifice; I am so glad that the ending is both happy and open-ended, leaving me wanting more but glad that things have worked out the way that they have.
I am counting the days till the next installment in the series is published, eager to see whether William ever returns to visit the Community and to discover how the Abbey brethren fare without him. Can friendships endure despite the strictures of canon law and public opinion? Will Nemesis fall on William and Abbot John for the decisions they have made and the actions they have performed?