Father William brought trials and ultimately understanding to St. Alcuin's. In Brother Tom's words, “it was a bit like lightning making a direct hit on the house – we learned a lot, and so did he.” Continuing the story from “The Hour Before Dawn,” William has fallen in love with Abbot John's sister, Madeline. They struggle against this illicit passion, but it wears them down. William agonizes over his vows and his very real love for St. Alcuin's and Abbot John, but Madeline has his heart.
The story of a growing love between two mature adults is told with simplicity and beauty. Not being children, they have to weigh the choices already made in their lives against this new overwhelming love. I think this story is one of the most beautiful and painful of the Hawk and the Dove Series. I've loved all of them, but this one made me cry.
If nothing else, this book is worth reading for Abbot John's homilies on the Eucharist, remember me. I always find so much more than a good story in Wilcox's books. They make you think about your faith and other people and how all our lives and choices affect each other.
The characters in this novel are very real. Wilcox has a tremendous insight into the difficulties of life in a community. The setting is beautiful and the details of medieval life very well done. I highly recommend this book.
I reviewed this book for Crossway.