24 May 2012



September, 1340. Ralph de Courcy, a lawyer guilt and grief-stricken by the death of his young wife in childbirth, has undertaken a spiritual journey, which leads him to become a follower of St Francis, a Franciscan friar, with no convent or college to shelter him. Now known as Friar Valerian, his abilities of preaching and healing have made his name known as he travels throughout England.

When, at a jousting tournament, he meets young Cecily Wynstede, the daughter of an impoverished knight, they are immediately and mutually attracted. For Cecily, he is the knight of her early dreams, and for Valerian she is the living embodiment of St Cecilia, his patron saint. However, Cecily's parents have other plans for her .......

Set in Chaucer's England at the time of the Black Death and England's Hundred Years War with France, Strangers And Pilgrims tells a captivating story about the enduring spirit of love.
....... Inner front cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (Prologue): The screaming of agony had ceased, though Master Ralph de Courcy thought the sound of his young wife's unendurable suffering would ring in his ears for the rest of his life.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 134): Waldham being some twenty-five miles south-west of Hyam St Ebba, and Keepence constantly occupied with his business, it was not considered necessary for him to visit his bride-to-be again before before she became his wife. (I should point out that this was their first and only meeting before their marriage took place.)

MY THOUGHTS: An ok read which will probably be enjoyed by fans of historical fiction and even more so by fans of historical romances, its just that this doesn't live up to the books of writers such as Philippa Gregory.

Reading a bit differently from lots of other books of this genre, instead of royalty or even the aristocracy, Strangers And Pilgrims takes a look at the lives of 'ordinary' though well connected individuals.

 Chronicling the tender chaste love story between Cecily and Friar Valerian, this is well written in that it does portray wonderfully (and often shockingly) the position of women of that time BUT there does seem to be one or two historical inaccuracies.

And then  there's the matter of the sex scenes which, given the hilarious example below, I think the author should have given a miss.

"I'm there, that's it - Christ - it's a storm, a storm - aah!"

As I said Strangers And Pilgrims does make ok reading but there are so many better historical novels out there.

KEEP IT OR NOT?: Ex-library stock, I won't be keeping this.


Suko said...

I'll heed your advice about this one, Petty. Thanks for your honest and well-written words.

Fairday Morrow said...

The plot sounds interesting. I do like HF- when it is well-written. I LOVE Pillars of the Earth and I also enjoy Philippa Gregory. I appreciated your honest review.


The Golden Eagle said...

Thank you for the review!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I would laugh at that scene as well. I do like the idea of seeing it through the "ordinary" but I don't think it is for me.

Kelly said...

Given that I prefer for history to romance, I don't think I'll bother to add this to my wishlist. I still enjoyed your review, though.

naida said...

Thanks for the honest review Petty. That sex scene sounds too funny! and Lame!

Betty Manousos said...

brilliant and honest review, tracy!
thank you.