The monastic rhythm of life at St. Alcuins means that all is peaceful on the surface, but beneath there are strong currents as each monk contends with his own hopes, fears, challenges, and temptations.
Not every monk is settled and secure. Sadness permeates the monastery when it is discovered early one morning that one of the novices, Brother Cedd, has disappeared. It quickly becomes clear that disturbance in the life of one can impact many. As the day goes on, the question looms: will Brother Cedd return? And what will be the consequences if he doesn’t?
In this moving conclusion to The Hawk and the Dove series, Pen Wilcock describes a single day in the life of the community weaving a deeply touching, frank, and witty tapestry of monastic life.
Penelope (Pen) Wilcock is the author of over a dozen books of fiction and poetry, including The Hawk and the Dove series. She lives a quiet life on the southeast coast of England with her husband and is the mother of five adult daughters. She has many years of experience as a Methodist minister and has worked as a hospice and school chaplain.
I have loved all of the books in Penelope Wilcock’s The Hawk And The Dove series and am sad that the time visiting with the monks of St. Alcuin’s has come to an end. I actually missed 2 books in the series, so I can dive into those, but when I finish with them, I’ll have to reread. And this series is one that definitely begs a rereading. A Day And A Life, book 9, draws all the threads together from previous books and weaves a story of faithfulness and community. A perfect ending to a lovely series.
St. Alcuin’s is a monastery located in Yorkshire during the 15th century. Although though they have contact with the outside world through tenants, pilgrims and benefactors, the monks live a mostly contained life, a life dedicated to prayer, work and service to others. Through varying perspectives the life and lives of the monks are, well, brought to life :)! I loved that Wilcock explores not only the brothers’ outward actions, but their inward thoughts, thoughts that are funny, poignant and extremely human. From a lowly postulant, a novice, seasoned brothers, and the abbot, a picture of what it means to have true fellowship emerges. From the reaches of time comes a story that is more relevant for today’s Christian than may be first expected. The monks struggle with frustrations, self-centeredness, loneliness and fear of the future. An overarching theme of belonging to a larger family — the family of God — is woven throughout the book. There is also the theme of bearing with one another examplified with an amusing dinner scene.
Fans of The Hawk And The Dove series will be very pleased with this finale. If you haven’t read any of the books in this excellent series, you are in for a real treat. Start at the beginning and dig in!
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(Thanks to Kregel and Lion Hudson for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)