I was priviledged to recieve an advance copy of The Pilgrim by Joy Magretts in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to the author and her publishers.
Driven by ambition and family expectation, young Henry de Brampton is determined to make his mark. Destined for a prestigious career in the Church, he readily embraces the chance to experience the world before taking his vows. But fuelled by selfish desire, he recklessly betrays those he loves, with devastating consequences.
Overwhelmed with guilt, he seeks redemption among the Cistercians of Abbey Cwmhir and finds a new identity as Brother Hywel. Yet a further thoughtless betrayal will prove he cannot escape himself, and he is forced on pilgrimage to save his vocation.
A reluctant pilgrim, can the unlikely company help him discover what it truly means to be great in God’s eyes, and will Hywel ever be willing not just to receive forgiveness but also to forgive himself?
I had never read any novels by this author previously, but always look forward to the discovering writers new to me, so was pleased to receive an advance copy of The Pilgrim with compliments from the author and the publishers, Instant Apostle, in exchange for an honest review.
The Pilgrim is a prequel to another book by Joy Margetts, The Healing, in which the main character of this novel originally appeared, but as I hadn't read that novel, I was meeting him for the first time.
Hal is the second son of a noble house of Brampton Barre in 13th century England. His older brother, Robert, is betrothed to another nobleman's daughter and will take over their father's estate in the fullness of time, however, Hal's future lies within the cloisters of a Cistercian Abbey in Wales. Both brothers sow their wild oats before their futures are set. Hal's indicretions include an affair with his friend Cenred's wife, Hird.
Cenred is a close friend of Hal and his father and has taught Hal how to handle and tend horses. Hal has become an gifted horseman and stableman and is desperately disappointed in himself for his betrayal of his friend. He feels even worse when he discovers Hird is pregant with his child. She and her child die in childbirth. Hal admits his actions to Robert and must discover whether his family or his friend can forgive him and also whether he can forgive himself.
When he moves to holy orders at the Abbey, Hal takes a Welsh name, Hywel, in respect to his new adopted home. The Prior is responsible for the welfare of the novices and Hywel quickly makes friends with the other two novices. However, his outlook on life is still blighted by his shame about his actions and the Prior insists that Hywel take a pilgrimage, to Ynus Y Saint.
The group of five pilgrims that Hywel will travel with consists of an unsettled young man, two brothers who carry their own secret, a widow whose body is deformed by arthritis and led by a former soldier, Madoc. Over the period of the pilgrimage, Hywel struggles to come to terms with his past and the guilt he carries.
Each chapter of The Pilgrim commences with an aposite quote from Psalms and through the novel Hywel learns the secrets of other members of the group and he shares his pain with Madoc while using his skill with horses throughout the journey for the benefit of the group.
The Pilgrim is a delightful piece of work. I had not known what to expect when I received my copy of the novel. Indeed, to my shame, I thought I might skim the book and put together a review that way. However, nothing could have been further from the truth. The author drew me into Hal/Hywel's world from the very beginning. I was thoroughly engrossed by the story and this only increased the further into the book. By the end, I could not put the book down, I so much wanted to know what happened that I read long into the night with tears streaming down my cheeks.
Joy Margetts is a gifted author. I thoroughly enjoyed The Pilgrim and highly recommend it. Now, I am plannig to read the sequel, The Healing.
I am a fifty something mother of two grown children, and a new grandparent. I have always loved writing but never believed I would have a book published. The Healing is my first novel. I have always loved history and the inspiration for the book came whilst visiting local abbey ruins.
I live with my husband and feisty Jack Russell, on the wild and beautiful North Wales coast, surrounded by history and stunning landscapes. I love the Word of God and teaching it. The Healing is full of both truth and beauty.
I have experienced the redemptive healing power of God in my own life, and hope that my writing gives hope to those who need it.