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12.11.2015

The Abbess of Whitby ~ Review

The Abbess of Whitby
A Novel of Hild Northumbria
By Jill Dalladay

Seventh century Britain is a land that is in turmoil the old ways are in conflict with the new ways that are moving in.  This is the world in which Hild finds herself.

A father never known murdered at her birth.  A king's niece, brought up to be the price of allegiance.  A servant of the goddess Eostre.  Wife.  Mother.  All those describe Hild but these only touch the surface of who she was.

Caught between the warring of kings and princes at the time of Edwin, Penda, Cadwallon, Oswald, and Oswy Hild's life offers a glimpse of this world from the eyes of a woman.  In the midst of the chaos wrought by war, priests for an unknown God bring a message of peace.

This message of peace is exactly what Hild will need as she loses all she holds dear.  One traveling priest had a profound impact on Hild's life.  Aidan's teachings helped Hild come to understand this Christ who was starting to have an influence across Britain.  This influence would lead Hild to become both a servant and a teacher transforming the nation by helping to setup missions throughout. Her influence would help guide the hearts of the nation through her intelligence and understanding of the gospel message.

The nation was ready to listen and Hild was seeking a purpose for her life to provide meaning after the loss of her family.  The history of Northumbria is fascinating and The Abbess of Whitby is the newest book to open another window into this world.  Those who have read and enjoyed Edoardo Albert's Edwin High King of Britain and Oswald: Return of the King will find this book an intriguing addition to their Northumbrian reading library.

I was provided a copy of this book by Kregel in exchange for my honest review and tour participation.

About the book:

Chosen as Eostre's handmaid, Hild will serve the fertility goddess for a year before being wed. Her future is predictable--until King Edwin claims her as kin and she learns that her father was murdered.

Her first love is given a command in Edwin's forces and vanishes from her life, wed to her sister. The court is baptized, ending the old religion and Hild's role. Life looks bleak. She can't stop wondering who killed her father.

Suspecting Edwin, she challenges him, only to be married off to safeguard his northern frontier. Struggling in a loveless marriage, she is intrigued by the Iona priests making pilgrimages to spread Christ's love. When home and family are lost in Oswy's sack of Edinburgh, she finds herself in enemy hands, but meets the charismatic Aidan.

Inspired and guided by him, she builds communities to live and teach Christ's love. She attracts followers. Even her old enemy, King Oswy, entrusts his child to her, gives her Whitby, and seeks her help to reconcile divisions in his kingdom.

She never ceases battling against old superstitions resurrected by storm, plague, and solar eclipse, but at last she receives a bishop's blessing--from a man she trained herself.