The LeAnne Hardy File:
Reviewed by Lori Fox
Glastonbury Tor by
"Writing of this quality is a rare find ... a must-have book."
Collen, or Colin as his father Sir Stephen calls him, is a studious and dutiful son to his mother. To his father, he is nothing but a coward, and will never amount to anything. Not even to a man by Sir Stephen’s definition.
The brutal treatment his delicate mother receives at the hands of his father infuriates him. When his mother dies as a result of his father’s treatment, Collen tries to kill him. Fearing retribution as much as the law, he runs to the nearby church to seek sanctuary. There, Father David encourages Collen to travel to Glastonbury, one of the last great monasteries, to become a monk as his mother wanted him to do. As he wrestles with his decision, his brother Walter arrives, encourages him to flee their father’s wrath, and gifts him with a ring that will identify him to a family member at Glastonbury.
Collen flees to Glastonbury, meeting a family along the way that shows him what real love and true forgiveness really are. The owners of a forbidden English Bible, Collen will worship with them, unwittingly betray them, and ultimately become one with them.
On top of all this, there are intrigues afoot in the holy monastery itself. In a time of persecution under King Henry VIII, the religious and secular worlds are in turmoil. Those who wish only to serve God are forced instead to serve an earthly king, and a power mad priest chooses to subvert the holiest relic in existence to his own purposes. The Holy Grail.
Glastonbury Tor is a beautifully told story, set during the reign of King Henry VIII. Told in the first person, the story flows smoothly through a year of Collen’s life. The turmoil of the times serves as the catalyst of the story, while the plot is actually based on Collen’s internal beliefs and feelings. Learning to forgive, and be forgiven is the basis upon which this book was written.
Many historical fiction novelists tend to fall prey to the “I must use all of this research” mentality, causing an overload of information in the readers’ minds. LeAnne Hardy has wonderfully resisted this urge, and has created instead a very believable, and likely correct image of the places and people in her book. The details are so skillfully woven throughout, that I was perhaps half way through the book before I realized that all of these settings were based on research and not pure imagination.
Every character that appears in this novel--and in particular, the monks--are so well imagined that it seems as if they too, are the result of extensive research. Each person has their own unique personality and outlook, there are no cookie-cutter characters at all. Even bit players had enough personality that I felt as though I could imagine what they were thinking throughout various events.
Writing of this quality is a rare find, and though difficult to put down, it also left me feeling very content. This is a must-have book, not just for historical fiction lovers, but for anyone who just loves a good book.
Lori Fox is a freelance writer who is working on her first novel as well as writing reviews for TitleTrakk.com. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, making jewelry, and taking as many trips to Walt Disney World as possible with her wonderful husband Kyle. Visit her online at her website.