Years ago I had a complete fascination with all things British. I adored (and still do) Doctor Who, the idea of tea with scones makes me feel all tingly, and British history is something I love to dabble in on occasion. More recently, I’ve really enjoyed learning a bit more about Church history as well as the history around the world as I teach the boys. So, it is no great surprise that I’d be enamored with my latest book for review, Glastonbury: A Novel of the Holy Grail, by Donna Fletcher Crow.
It seems like only a few short months ago I was reviewing another of her works, A Darkly Hidden Truth. That particular book didn’t have the blend of British History with Church history. Rather, it served as introduction to a talented author who masterfully weaves a telling of the Anglican faith into a mystery story without making either aspect feel stilted. No great surprise that given her own love of British history that she had already written an epic novel that covers more than a thousand of years of British history while weaving in the evolution of the Christian faith in the area we now call England.
About the Book:
When Joseph of Arimathea and his little band of pilgrims sought asylum from Roman persecution they fled to Glastonbury — and carried with them the most sacred relic in all of Christendom.
This tiny, sheltered corner of Britannia — this holy “Isle of Avalon” — was also a place of refuge when King Arthur and his knights fought off the invading barbarian hoard and it became the King’s final resting place.
Centuries later, the discovery of Arthur’s bones in Glastonbury sparked a great flowering of the faith and yet more magnificent building — after a devastating fire nearly obliterated the work and worship of centuries.
Then, after the last abbot of Glastonbury was dragged to his death atop Glastonbury Tor, the Abbey’s splendid arches were left to crumble. And yet they still stand today — as beacons of hope for the future.
Two millennia of history and legend intertwine around Glastonbury’s broken arches. And through it all — through ages ancient and modern — the faithful have sought to answer the same question that Arthur asked: Where is the Holy Grail?
About the Author:
Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 40 books, mostly novels dealing with British history. The award-winning Glastonbury, A Novel of the Holy Grail, an Arthurian grail search epic covering 15 centuries of English history, is her best-known work. Donna and her husband live in Boise, Idaho. They have 4 adult children and 11 grandchildren. She is an enthusiastic gardener.
Donna is also the author of The Monastery Murders: A Very Private Grave and A Darkly Hidden Truth, as well as the Lord Danvers series of Victorian true-crime novels and the romantic suspense series The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries. To read more about all of Donna’s books and see pictures from her garden and research trips go to: www.DonnaFletcherCrow.com.
Pick up your copy of Donna Fletcher Crow’s Glastonbury: A Novel of the Holy Grail for the Kindle at Amazon.
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My Thoughts ~
Given my love of British History and Church History, you might make the leap of faith to conclude that I’ve enjoyed this book. And, you would be right as I’ve loved reading this title!
Ms. Crow has done a fabulous job taking bits of what we know of history and fleshing out stories that bring the different characters to life. Some of the protagonists were familiar (e.g. King Arthur, although in this book he is called Arthurious) and others were not well known to me. But, together their story paints an elegant history of an area in Britain eventually known as Glastonbury which is seen as a holy place for all of known history, even before the coming of Christianity.
This is not a quick read, though, with over 500 pages of text. Nor is it like one continuous novel with one set of characters to track. Glastonbury is almost like a series of novellas strung together as if an ancient historian is retelling each glimpse of time periods along the way. The nice thing about it is that I could easily set aside the book for the night when I reached a new jump in era without having an unsettling feeling about abandoning a favorite character or thread in the story. Yet, the more I read, the more drawn I was to the stories and even a desire to dig deeper into the history myself. (No, I haven’t done that, but the wheels are already spinning about when P should study British Literature and how much history we’ll include with it.)
I would seriously recommend this title for any other lover of British history or even one of Church history who wants to witness the evolution of Christianity in England through the genre of historical fiction. Included in the front of the book (which I wish I’d printed out to have on hand while reading) is both a timeline of Glastonbury through the dissolution of the Abbey in 1539 and a genealogy of the families in Glastonbury from Joseph of Arimathea through the time period covered in this book.
Disclaimer ~ I received an electronic copy of the book to facilitate this review as part of the Pump Up Your Book Tour. No monetary compensation occurred and all opinions are my own.