I recently finished reading Penelope Wilcock’s book, The Wounds of God. It’s the second book in The Hawk and the Dove series, which was recommended to me by my friend Jason. And I must also thank my parents for giving me the entire set of books for my birthday! It’s been so fun to fall in love with a new author and a new series.
This second book in the series moves at a different pace from the first book. Most of the stories / chapters are longer. Many of the stories also tie into some longer narrative arcs — some started in the first book and some spanning from one part of the book to another. They all still revolve around the brothers of St. Alcuin’s Benedictine Abbey in 14th Century Yorkshire. The stories are lovely little works of fiction, but they also illuminate deep truths about life, love, and faith. I probably preferred the first book to the second one, by a slight margin. Still, I very much appreciated this book.
My favorite story from The Wounds of God completes a story arc which the author started in The Hawk and the Dove. Brother Andrew is the brusque Scotsman who runs the kitchen at the abbey, and Brother Cormac is his lieutenant. They experience a lot of relational conflict in their day-to-day duties. But they also learn to forgive each other and love each other.
This volume’s story about the kitchen of St. Alcuin’s focused on developing the character of Cormac, and he really is a delightful figure. He basically lives as a vegan (though the book does not use that word), but he must also prepare the fish and poultry served for his brothers’ meals. He has a foul mouth and a fiery temper, but he cares for the children who stay at the abbey with creativity and tenderness. The author beautifully renders the relationship between Cormac and Andrew in this episode. But also sad. I won’t give away too much in this review, but it was definitely a highlight of the book for me.
I look forward to reading the rest of the books in this series — but I might also need to figure out a way to pace myself. Keeping some of these in reserve for summer reading (my favorite kind of reading) seems ideal. But I’ll have to be disciplined about it!