Monday, May 30, 2016

The Breath of Peace by Penelope Wilcock

I love the way Penelope Wilcock drafts tales of human weakness and struggles in such a genuine and reflective way.  The Breath of Peace will infuse your heart and mind with much to ponder.  It's amazing how much one can learn today from the humble wisdom and example of 14th century monks.

The main characters in The Breath of Peace are a newlywed couple that started their marital journey later in life.  Every marriage requires an adjustment of personalities, responsibilities and habits. But as an ex-monk and ex-abbot, William de Bulmer has even more adjustments than most as he tries to navigate the very ill fitting roles of farming and animal husbandry. He's wondering if he'll ever feel competent in his new life. His wife, Madeleine, has much greater acuity for animal keeping, gardening and the affairs of running a country home and it seems that every effort on her husband's part is greeted with sarcasm or sharp criticism.

How can two people who love each other, learn to adjust to one another's rough edges without being injured in the process?   Each spouse recognizes the daily strife they have been perpetuating and neither seems able to get out of the grip of bad habits.  A timely visit from Madeleine's brother, the current Abbot, brings unexpected help. As each spouse confides in Abbot John, he finds himself in the awkward position of trying to assist two people through a journey he has never taken.

I highly recommend the whole series but each book can be enjoyed on its own merits.  I had read the first three books in Wilcock's series, The first three books in the Hawk & the Dove series laid a wonderful introduction to the monastic life during the time of Chaucer.  The Breath of Peace is book 7 and while I had not read books 4-6, I still thoroughly enjoyed getting to know new characters on the stage of St. Alcuin's world.

For anyone who needs a breath of peace in spiritual life or one's relational life, Wilcock's book will give the reader much to learn and apply.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of The Breath of Peace from Kregel Publications for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

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